Girls Lax Notebook

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Putnam Valley’s Jacklyn Phillips will set the section on fire this season as Tigers seek Section 1 title.

Put Valley Takes Aim at Class D Title, Yorktown Sights Class B

By Tony Pinciaro

PUTNAM VALLEY had a season for the program’s record books last year.

The Tigers, under the guidance of third-year Coach Courtney Hyndman, were the Section 1 Class D runner-up to Bronxville, finishing with a program-best 16-4 record. The Tigers were also league champions.

This year, Putnam Valley will look to reverse the sectional final result and extend its season into June, culminating with a trip to Cortland for the state final four.

Two players graduated from the 2017 team, but Putnam Valley returns numerous girls who will also continue playing lacrosse in college.

Six girls, seniors Madelyn Deegan, Jessica Denike, Emma Rippon, Gillian Hanson and Meredith Conlin and junior Jacklyn Phillips are all three-year starters.

Deegan (playing at Quinnipiac next year), Denike (playing at Central Connecticut in 2018), Rippon (playing at Iona next year) and Phillips (committed to Sacred Heart in 2019) form the midfield. The quartet were all-league selections last year. Deegan and Phillips earned All-Section honors and Denike and Rippon were honorable mention all-section.

Hanson (playing at Ithaca College next year) and Conlin (playing at Stevens Tech in 2018) anchor the defense along with junior Kimberly Hyndman (goalie). This trio were also All-League recipients.

The Tigers receive a huge boost with the return of senior Morgan Winogradoff (defense/attack) to the team. The senior is fresh off an excellent basketball season.

“These girls have been playing together for so long that they are comfortable with each other and really know each other’s strengths and they play to them,” Coach Hyndman said. “I love how dedicated these girls are. They’ve set their goals of what they want to accomplish this year and are doing everything they can to get better each day. Since this team is pretty much the same group of girls as last year, they’re lucky in that they’ve already bonded and come together as a unit. Our goal this year is simple, redemption. I look forward to what this season has in store for us!”

Putnam Valley will host Byram Hills, Saturday, March 24, to open the season.

LAKELAND/PANAS welcomes back a nucleus that led the Lakeland field hockey team to its ninth consecutive New York State Class B championship last November.

This group was instrumental in the Rebels’ 11-6 record last year for newly-married third-year coach, Rebecca DiSisto-Leslie.

Lone seniors Kelsey McCrudden (midfield), an All-Section pick in 2017, and Kristen Kelly (defense/midfield) headline the nucleus. They are joined by juniors Emily Kness (attack), an HM All-Section selection last year, and Gianna Scialdone (defense) along with the core-four sophomores – Jenna McCrudden (attack), Megan Mucci (attack), Raquel Nieves (attack) and Miranda Lopes (goalie).

Junior Isabella LeBlanc (goalie) and the freshmen tandem of Katelyn Cerrato (attack/midfield) and Keirra Ettere (attack) join the team.

“Our strengths definitely include our athleticism and our willingness to work hard day in and day out,” said DiSisto-Leslie, who was Coach Sharon Sarsen’s assistant for four years before becoming coach. “We have a very competitive, close-knit group that will definitely make strides this season despite our team being so young.”

DiSisto-Leslie is excited to see what her young team can achieve this season.

“I appreciate the commitment this team shows to the game of lacrosse,” DiSisto-Leslie said. “We had a very close group last year, and I am hoping to keep that tight-knit dynamic with the team again this season. I have a young team that is anxious to learn and get better at the game each and every day. We will take the season day by day and look to improve our knowledge of the game, as well as our skills every day.”

Excitement is the word at BREWSTER as third-year coach and new mom, Sara DiDio, returns all but one player (starter on defense Dana Lestrange) from last year.

Experience and talent describe the 13 returnees who helped Brewster finish 11-7 and qualify for sectionals last year. This current group also grew up playing youth lacrosse for DiDio.

Senior Lauren Craft (midfield) is a three-year starter, twice an all-Section selection and a 2017 all-American. She is joined in the midfield by juniors Maggie DePaoli, Meagan Beal (HM All-Section last year) and Haile Ratajack, all two-year starters, and freshman Sam DeLeo.

Senior Michelle Feighan leads the attack, along with junior Marina Souza and sophomore Dani Regan, all two-year starters.

Defensively, seniors Grace Pastore, Julianna Rienza, Leah Frey and Tara Regan team with sophomore goalie Danielle Heintz, an HM All-Section choice last year.

Brewster will take this experience, depth and talent into Class C this year, after participating in Class B. Brewster also welcomes back former standout, Kristen Ohberg, who will assist DiDio.

“We are all very excited for this season,” DiDio said. “We have 13 returners and some new players who have all been working together since they were younger. Our midfield is led by Lauren Craft and Meagan Beal. Their leadership and work ethic pushes those around them. We have depth in our midfield with Haile Ratajack, Maggie DePaoli, and Sam DeLeo. This allows us to transition the ball well up the field and have extra legs when needed.

“On the attack end, our middies are joined by Dani Regan, Marina Souza, and Michelle Feighan. These three move the ball well and are working on controlling the tempo. We have also added Kristen Ohberg to our coaching staff. Her knowledge of the game has increased our level of play, especially on the attack end of the field. On defense, Danielle Heintz continues to step up in goal and anchor our defense. She is surrounded by four senior defenders, Grace Pastore, Tara Regan, Juliana Rienzi, and Leah Frey, who have been playing with each other for a very long time.”

Brewster opens the season at Carmel, Thursday. The Bears will host Putnam Valley, Wednesday, March 28 in their home-opener.

Reigning Class B Section 1 champion YORKTOWN will begin a new era with longtime legendary Coach Ellen Mager going out on top and former Husker Lauren McAulay moving in. The transition should be seamless for the state semifinalists Huskers, despite having lost a ton to graduation, including Michelle Seger, the Boston University-bound midfielder, and Syracuse commit Rilea Fusco.

It would appear as though this is now the Ciara Frawley era, as the senior middie returns to dominate the draw box as she did last season. Senior M Katie Vogel and Ellen O’Callaghan will be by her side. McKenna Duff will be featured on attack. Senior Mackenzie Merson and Carolina Garti return on defense where several netminders are competing for the position, including competent freshman Sophia Altimari.

“We are extremely excited about the season,” McAulay said.

It was a rough offseason for MAHOPAC as four quality starters graduated – Briana Corace, Diana Good, Kristen Maxwell and Emily O’Shea. Coach Jim Lieto also lost senior Morgan Kirby and junior Katie McDonough, both captains, to injuries along with junior Devin King.

“Our biggest challenge will be getting all of the new starters and role players up to speed, offensively and defensively,” said Mahopac Coach Jim Lieto, in his 10th season as varsity coach and 15th, overall, in the program. “We expected to have a large returning group of 16 girls, but that number has decreased to 12 now due to injuries. Altogether, we lost eight starters due to graduation and injuries.”

The cupboard is not bare, though. Seniors Caroline Raymond (midfield), Siobhan Hynes (defense) and Hannah Lieto (defense, committed to play at East Stroudsberg)) along with junior Natalie Scanlon (midfield) are returning starters. Raymond was an All-Section pick last year and has committed to West Point. Raymond and Scanlon are the captains.

Also returning for Mahopac are seniors, Francesca Mangione (midfield) and Ally Conlin (attack), juniors, Jordan Barbagallo (goalie) and Zina McInerney (defense) and sophomores, Kate Kasparian (defense), Christina Lopreato, (midfield), Caitlyn Reilly (midfield) and Alexa Rispoli (midfield).

Making the step up to varsity this season are juniors, Katrina Klammer (midfield), Samantha Colatruglio (defense), Paige Kutka (attack), Ashley Teal (defense) and Ava Starace (attack). The new underclassmen group consists of sophomores, Lindsay Neilis (attack), Megan Citarella (goalie), Sophia DeFrancesco (attack) and Olivia Conlin (midfield) and freshman, Gigi Genovese (attack).

Even with graduation, injuries and snow days, Lieto was pleased with his team’s commitment.

“I love our team’s work ethic and positive attitude,” Lieto said. “With all the snow days, we lost five days of tryouts. Through it all, the girls remained positive and worked hard. It has been the most strenuous tryouts we ever put them through and no one has backed down.”
Mahopac opens the season, Saturday, March 24, at White Plains. The Indians host Mamaroneck in their home-opener, Tuesday, March 27. Mahopac lost to Mamaroneck in the Section 1 Class A quarterfinals last years.

“We continue to strive for excellence here at Mahopac,” Lieto said. “We took a big hit from graduation and injuries, but we still expect to be competing at a high level come sectionals time. The girls have worked extremely hard in the off-season and have come in ready to go.  We are excited to see the product out on the field when we open against White Plains.”

HEN HUD arrived in 2017 as Coach Rob Molfetta’s team was the Section 1 Class C runner-up to Rye. Hen Hud also was a league champion and finished with a 12-7 record.

Molfetta welcomes back a nucleus that could book a return trip to the sectional final.

It starts with the defense, led by senior MacKenzie Porter. The goalie was an All-American pick last year and is going to play at Rutgers. Porter will be joined by Erin Clark, Libby Johnson, Sarah Vargas and Brooke Montgomery.

The midfield unit consists of Chloe Stewart, Haley Merchant, Kat Warner and Kira Varada. Varada was a jolt of energy off the bench for the varsity basketball team.

Rachel Palka and Fiona McGovern are back on attack.

Molfetta pointed out that Hen Hud has a group of underclassmen that will compete for playing time and that will be asked to play key roles.

“We have a really good mix of seniors and underclassmen that gained much experience last year,” Molfetta said. “I like the way we have been competing every day and working to improve on the success that we had last year.

“We will have three good tests to start the season as we go against perennial Section 1 powers, Pearl River, Suffern and Yorktown, which will hopefully get us ready for the rest of the season.”

Hen Hud opens the season, today, at Carmel, followed by Pearl River, Suffern and Yorktown, all on the road. Hen Hud’s home-opener is Tuesday, April 3.

SOMERS enters the 2018 season with a new look as Alexa Lucchesi and Tori Doyle are the rookie co-coaches, replacing Jaime Pryschlak, who chose to take a break from coaching.

The Tuskers were the Section 1 Class B runners-up last year to archrival Yorktown.

Lucchesi and Doyle are very familiar with each other, having played together at Danbury High School (Ct.). Lucchesi played at Western Connecticut State and also played for the USAAI team in Australia in 2015. Lucchesi has been the Scarsdale Youth Lacrosse coach the past two years.

Doyle began her college career at Manhattan and played lacrosse. She transferred to Meredith College (N.C.) and continued playing lacrosse. Doyle comes to Somers after coaching at Maine Maritime Academy last year.

“We have an extremely hard-working group of girls this year,” Lucchesi said. “The girls have good stick skills, great chemistry on offense and are fast. There are a lot of good gritty kids who hustle. If we can work as hard as we do at practice at games then I think we should have a great outcome of a season.

“Everyone is committed and that makes for a good season in itself. The girls are really ready to take on this season and come out on top and we as coaches are just as excited and can’t wait to get them there.”

  • Ray Gallagher contributed to this story

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