Field Hockey Notebook

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Somers Hoping to Take Next Step, Lakeland Clips Mamo’

By Tony Pinciaro

A strong finish to the 2017 season, including a trip to the Section 1 Class B Championship semifinals, provided SOMERS with momentum and a sense of confidence coming into 2018.

“We had a good feeling because we have a great group of girls, not only skill-wise, but also attitude-wise,” senior and four-year varsity player Rosalie Murphy said. “Our returnees are very strong and we have a very strong starting lineup. Each girl brings something different to the team.”

Somers has won three of its first six games, including victories over perennial Section 1 Class B finalist Rye and Section 1 Class C finalist Pawling. Somers also defeated an improved Nanuet team, 3-1. Somers scored twice, both on penalty corners, in a four-minute span of the second half.

Following an upbeat preseason in which Somers welcomed new coach, Michelle Armstrong, the Tuskers opened the season with a 1-0 triumph over Pawling in a Somers’ Tournament first-round game.

“Pawling was very aggressive which tested our patience and ability to stay composed, which we did,” said Murphy, a starter on the forward line. “It was a great test for us and a huge win for us. It brought up our confidence.”

Despite a loss to Scarsdale in the championship game, Somers knew it had to forget it and focus on its next game – Rye. Playing against a strong Rye team also made the Tuskers come in prepared and psyched.

“We talked about what Scarsdale did that worked on incorporating it into our game and we took everything they exploited against us and worked on it so we were not vulnerable against Rye,” Murphy said, “but we rose to the occasion.”

The result was a 2-1 victory and Somers added the win over Nanuet. Even though Nanuet took a lead three minutes into the game, Somers answered 42 seconds later when Emma Kittridge converted an Isabella Del Vecchio pass. Erin Clark snapped a 1-1 tie with 13:05 remaining in the game, assisted by Kittridge. Somers made Nanuet pay for a defensive foul in the circle on its third goal, four minutes later, as Del Vecchio scored her first goal of the season, assisted by Murphy.

“What’s pleased us is our overall improvement,” Murphy said. “Even after a win, we talk about what we have to improve on. We’ve also become closer and closer, as a team, which has helped us on the field.”

LAKELAND continued its winning ways with victories over Scarsdale, 9-2, and perennial Section 1 Class A champion and three-time state-titlist Mamaroneck, 2-0. Mamaroneck won state titles in 2004, ’14 and ’15. While Lakeland, now 7-0 this season, has won nine consecutive sectional and state titles, Mamaroneck has been the Section 1 Class A champion 10 of the last 11 years, including the last six.

Julia Cummings said Lakeland looks forward to playing Mamaroneck.

“We know it’s always going to be a challenge,” Cummings said. “We go in expecting a fast and intense game. It’s a great experience because we are constantly thinking during the game which really tests our knowledge of the sport. A highly-competitive game like Mamaroneck teaches us a lot and allows us to step up and play the best that we can.”

Lakeland received goals from Cara O’Shea and Samantha Graap. Goalie Kellie Smith made three saves, but she received a huge life from teammate Emily Kness, who made a goal-line save to keep Lakeland up 1-0.

“Emily made an incredible play,” Cummings said. “The ball was sent into the circle and a Mamaroneck player was standing in front of the goal. She tipped the ball and Kellie dove to try and stop it, but luckily it hit the post. Then more players ran in and were getting really scrappy, trying to hit it in. As this happened, Emily ran and dove behind Kellie. Emily was on the ground, her hands and knees, as the ball was shot again and she saved it and cleared it out.”

Lakeland opened its week with the victory over Scarsdale as O’Shea finished with a hat trick. Kness had two goals and two assists, Erin Daly also scored twice and Julianna Cappello finished with one goal and three assists.

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