By Tony Pinciaro
From 2009-2017, LAKELAND dominated the New York State field hockey championships, winning an unprecedented nine consecutive titles.
The Hornets were on their way to a 10th straight state title in 2018, only to be upset by Garden City, 1-0, in the Class B state final. Lakeland put everything into perspective, following the loss, and began focusing on 2019.
“It’s awesome to be part of two state championships and to be a state finalist, again, is unreal,” said senior and captain Jenna McCrudden. “We started working out, right away, by going to the turf and getting our stick skills better or working on our conditioning.”
McCrudden (forward), along with fellow captains Erin Daly (defense), Emma Halderman (midfield) and Lauren Salazar (defense) lead a determined Lakeland team primed to repeat as sectional champs and regain the state championship.
The captains were all-league selections in 2018. Halderman and Daly were all-elite and Daly was named all-state. They’re also committed to college – McCrudden (Kent State), Salazar (Bates), Halderman (New Hampshire) and Daly (UConn).
Also comprising the senior class is Sam Graap (defense), Frankie Fava (midfield) and Raquel Nieves (forward/mid). Fava committed to Pace and will play field hockey and Nieves has committed to LaSalle for lacrosse.
The Hornets also have the junior trio of Kristen O’Shea,
Emily McGovern and Keirra Ettere returning.
Veteran Lakeland Coach Sharon Sarsen welcomes a talented and young group. Four juniors — Emma Fon (forward), Emma Fon (forward), Nancy Pagliaroli (forward) and Daniella Hart (defense) – headline the new varsity players.
Sophomores Mia Smith (midfield), Katie Lemma (defense), Jaden Ray (midfield/defense) and Gabby Alfinito (midfield/defense) and freshman Celeste Pagliaroli (goalie) complete the new varsity players.
“The first week of practice we’ve had a lot of the young players fitting in right away,” McCrudden said. “They’ve been working in the offseason to be in shape and be at their best skill-wise. On the first day, everyone was enthusiastic and was excited to be there. Our team chemistry is awesome.”
Sarsen is equally impressed with what she has seen through week one.
“We have a solid senior class, hard-working underclassmen and a commitment to the sport,” said Sarsen, who is 639-72-39 after 37 years. “We are excited about our opportunity this fall. We are working hard and look forward to a successful season.”
McCrudden said Lakeland will travel to New Jersey to scrimmage one of the state’s best. The Hornets will also play in a Pennsylvania invitational tournament against a team from Michigan and Maine.
Lakeland opens the season at Yorktown, Friday, Aug. 30. The Hornets will play at John Jay-Cross River, Sept. 24. Lakeland beat John Jay for the 2018 Section 1 Class B title.
A first-round upset of second-seeded Albertus Magnus in the 2018 Section 1 Class C Field Hockey Championships set the tone of the offseason for PUTNAM VALLEY.
The Tigers, who lost to eventual champion Pawling in the quarterfinal round, enter the 2019 season with a veteran team preparing to build off a solid 2018 finish.
Even though starters Danielle Cunningham and Ciara McGinty graduated, fifth-year Coach Courtney Hyndman has nine returning seniors.
The senior nucleus is led by captains – Sydney Goldberg, Colleen Cassidy, Cyera Daughtry, all midfielders and Angelica Ordonez (defense). Ordonez will be joined on defense by classmates Lauren Seiler and Brianna Gambichler. Seniors Katie McLean, Jessica Marro and Antonia DiBullo are on the forward line.
Sophomores Shayla Lussier and Sara Lussier, both forwards, are two of the promising newcomers to varsity.
“I have already seen a massive improvement in skill and endurance since last year,” Hyndman said. “They have been working hard during our first of preseason and know that they have a competitive road ahead, but they definitely have their eyes on the postseason. I am excited to see what the girls can do this season.”
Putnam Valley opens the season hosting Yorktown, Tuesday, Sept. 3.
YORKTOWN Coach Bernadette Gannon begins her fifth year with the Cornhuskers in an enviable situation.
“I have a lot of returning players with experience and the drive to improve upon last year,” said Gannon, in her 26th year, overall. “I know that they were upset by not making it into playoffs last year, so that is a big goal of theirs this season. That drive will carry them through the season!”
The core returning group is highlighted by seniors Maddy Marr (defense), Kelsey McDonnell (forward) and Ellie O’Donnell-(forward) and junior Addy Araneo (goalie).
Making the step up from Junior Varsity will be Natalie Muscolino (defense), Lily Taormina (defense) and Nicole Peters (goalie).
Yorktown did not catch a break from the schedule-makers as it hosts 10-time Section 1 Class B champion Lakeland, Friday, Aug. 30.
“This should be a great year for Yorktown field hockey, if the girls continue to build upon their experience on the field,” said Gannon, who registered her 200th win last year. “They have a strong will to win this year, so it should be fun to see how this plays out. They have been working hard all summer and during preseason, so I can’t wait to see what the games bring on!”
Yorktown will host its annual tournament, Tuesday and Thursday, Sept. 5 and 7. Albertus Magnus, Sleepy Hollow and Putnam Valley comprise the field.
Optimism is the buzz word for HEN HUD as he Sailors prepare for the 2019 season.
Hen Hud concluded the season with a berth in the Section 1 Class B Field Hockey Championships. Even though the Sailors lost, third-year Coach Melissa Locatelli was happy.
“Sectionals was a huge achievement for our program so we were all very proud,” Locatelli said.
Hen Hud graduated one starter – Kiely Beltran – so nine seniors and sophomore Taeghan Dapson highlight the returning core. Dapson was an all-league selection and captain last year.
Locatelli’s seniors are forwards Isabel Begun, Katie Doorley, Olivia Freitas and Joyce Guevara, midfielder Jillian Attinelly, goalie Olivia Doorley and defense – Abigail Lustyik, Marcella Maselli and Nyssa Notrica.
“We have a great group of girls who work well with each other and got a feel for sectionals last year,” Locatelli said. “They are hungry for more and the talent keeps getting better. There is a drive to do well and a sense a teamwork that going to work in their favor.”
Hen Hud will open the season, Tuesday, 9/3, against 10-time defending Section 1 Class B champion Lakeland. The Sailors then travel to Briarcliff for the Bears’ tournament, Sept. 5 and 7.
SOMERS welcomed Meredith Armstrong as its new coach in 2018 and she guided the Tuskers to a 10-4-2 record, including a first-round sectional win.
The Tuskers will turn to seniors Erin Clark and Haley Dineen, both three-year starters, and junior Isabella Del Vecchio to lead the team. Clark was all-league and all-section last year and Dineen and Del Vecchio were all-league.
Somers will open the season with its tournament, Sept. 4-5.
The Tuskers have a difficult schedule with games against sectional champion Lakeland (9/26), sectional finalists North Salem (9/21), Horace Greeley (10/10) and John Jay-Cross River (10/18).
CARMEL showed great improvement last year and figures to be even better with the return of Caitlin Tully, a legit scoring threat for the Rams. MAHOPAC is looking to reestablish its strong Class A hockey roots after a subpar 2018 season. Senior April Heady, the unit’s top two-way player, will lead the way.
Ray has 33 years experience covering and photographing local sports in Westchester and Putnam counties, including everything from Little League/Travel Baseball to varsity high school prep sports and collegiate coverage. He has been a sports editor at Examiner Media since its inception in 2007.