Mahopac Shuts Down Carmel, Rams Knock of Brewster for 1st Time
By Tony Pinciaro
Kacie Scarduzio was on her way to a brilliant and lengthy OSSINING lacrosse career when she made varsity as an eighth-grader. The current senior immediately established herself as an impact player her first two years. The future looked promising, but a major knee injury Scarduzio suffered in the first varsity basketball game of her sophomore year robbed her of two seasons — basketball and lacrosse. Then COVID denied all student-athletes of their 2020 spring season.
“I was devastated when I found out I tore my ACL, both meniscus and sprained my MCL,” said Scarduzio, who began playing lacrosse in fifth grade. “It was extremely hard for me to come back from an injury like that, but it was worth it.”
Scarduzio returned to the hardwood this past winter and has resumed her outstanding lacrosse career, scoring seven goals in Ossining’s 14-12 triumph over Our Lady of Lourdes. She netted seven more goals, and had an assist, in a 17-12 loss to Briarcliff.
Ossining lacrosse Coach Patrick Wheeler could not be happier for Scarduzio.
“I’m an Ossining guy so I grew up watching Kacie’s uncles play football and her family around our firehouse,” Wheeler said. “I have literally known Kacie since birth, and that is what makes my job working at Ossining such an amazing thing.
“A kid I love has faced such adversity,” he added. “I was in the gym as part of our basketball staff when she had her injury. Kacie is one of the toughest kids I have ever seen. She pushed herself so hard to be ready for 2020. I am just so happy she can have the opportunity to play with her teammates, because in all honesty, that’s all she cares about. That is why she has been such a pleasure to coach the last five years.”
Even though Scarduzio was injured her sophomore year and COVID halted the spring 2020 high school season, she will continue her lacrosse magic in September at Iona College in New Rochelle.
When Scarduzio was not doing school work, she was rehabbing. She overcame the physical and mental challenges because she was determined to resume her athletic career once the doctors cleared her.
“It was extremely hard for me to sit on the sideline for a full year,” said Scarduzio, who plans to major in Childhood Education. “My anger made me push myself harder and work hard to get back on the field and court. I was either at PT doing exercises or doing them at home, but I always had a stick in my hand working on my skills.
“The feeling of playing the sport I love kept me going and, surrounding myself with supportive friends and family who always pushed me and never let me give up.”
Ironically, Scarduzio joined her friends in fifth grade playing lacrosse. She said she didn’t like the sport, so she stepped away. It was brief respite as Scarduzio returned in seventh grade to lacrosse, joined a travel team and was a varsity player in eighth grade.
“I was honored to play on a varsity lacrosse team as an 8th-grader,” Scarduzio said. “I was more nervous than anything because I was playing with girls way older than me but, at the same time, I was extremely excited to be given that opportunity. It’s been an awesome experience to play on the same turf field for my whole high school career, especially lacrosse. I’m playing with some of my childhood friends, who I’ve known for years, and playing with them is fun and makes me grateful to play my senior season with them given the circumstances. And being able to play in college is a great opportunity and I am honored to continue my lax career.”
Scarduzio said Fairleigh Dickinson, Western Connecticut and Virginia Wesleyan showed interest in her. When she was contacted by Lauren Kahn, a former Nanuet basketball and lacrosse great, Scarduzio went to for a visit.
“I never looked into going to Iona because it was so close to my hometown but I’ve heard of Coach Kahn and how great of a player and coach she is,” Scarduzio said. “When she called me, I was extremely humbled and excited to get the opportunity to play for her. I visited campus to attend basketball games, but when I went to campus for my unofficial visit it felt like home so I decided to commit.”
Scarduzio said the great aspect of attending Iona will be having her parents, family and friends at games because of the easier and somewhat shorter commute.
Wheeler will be an Iona women’s lacrosse fan with Scarduzio wearing the maroon and gold.
“Undoubtedly, Kacie earned this,” Wheeler said. “She lost an entire season to injury and another to COVID. She has pushed herself as hard as anyone could to get back on the field and court. The adversity she has overcome is not seen by most, and she has punched it in the face!”
MAHOPAC returned to the field, opening its 2021 season with a busy schedule as the Indians defeated archrival CARMEL, 15-8, and registered a huge victory, 11-10 over perennial Section 1 Class A champion North Rockland. Suffern spoiled Mahopac’s perfect week with a 17-6 win.
Mahopac ran away from Carmel in the second half, outsourcing the Rams, 9-4. Avery Przymylski had a hat trick for Mahopac while Gigi Genovese, Mia Del Bene, Ava Jennings, Tatiana Moran and Amanda Beberman had two goals apiece.
“Carmel controlled most of the first half with a one-goal lead until about five minutes left when Mahopac went on a three goal run to take a 6-4 lead into the half,” Jim Lieto said. “After the first 20 minutes of the game, we finally shook off the rust and started clicking again. Our defense was very strong in the second half and I am really excited about how well we spread the goals around on offense.”
Carmel was led by Taylor Roth with a hat trick and an assist and Alex DeFillipo tallied two goals for the Rams, who also defeated Brewster for the first time ever earlier in the week behind two goals apiece from Izzy Faudar, Laila Rosenquest and Kylie Rosenquest.
The Indians raced out to a 9-5 lead at halftime and staved off a late North Rockland charge in the win. Przymylski finished with a team-high five goals. Jennings added two goals and two assists and Savino chipped in with two goals and an assist. Jennings and Przymylski each scooped up four groundballs. After Przymylski gave Mahopac an 11-9 lead, Mahopac coach Jim Lieto said the defense held firm.
“After that, it was a mad scramble for North Rockland with attempt after attempt to score,” Lieto said. “Our defense was phenomenal, holding North Rockland to only one goal with 56 seconds remaining. On the ensuing draw Ava Jennings was able to get possession and Mahopac held on for the victory.
“I’m really proud of the girls’ performance as they kept their heads on straight against a really talented North Rockland team. I love how they handled both being up and withstanding a late rally from North Rockland. So many girls stepped up in big moments. Ava Jennings ground ball on the final draw was incredible. She really put herself out there to come up with a huge possession.”
Mahopac had six players make college commitments, highlighted by seniors, Genovese (Pace University) and Moran (Mercy College). Four juniors also chose their colleges — Audrey Colucci (Lynn University, Fla.), Jennings (University of Cincinnati), Przymylski (Coastal Carolina, SC) and Savino (University of Indianapolis).
Genovese had a hat trick in the loss to Suffern.
Mahopac had a successful 2019 season, advancing to the Section 1 Class A semifinals.
SOMERS could not have asked for a better start to 2021, going 3-0 for the week with victories over Carmel, Horace Greeley and FOX LANE. The Tuskers opened the season with a win over Carmel as Ella Kittredge scored five goals and added four assists. Lauren McCartin, Noelle DeMarinis and Julie Sirchia each had a hat trick and Siricha collected three assists.
Teagan Ryan and Kittredge each had four goals against Fox Lane. McCartin, DeMarinis and Sirchia had two goals apiece. Eugenia Kaltsas netted four goals for the Foxes. Alix Riley added two goals and an assist.
Kittredge continued her early-season scoring spree with six goals against Horace Greeley, giving her 15 in three games. She also registered three assists. Ryan scored three goals and Molly Fink netted two goals.
It was only natural that HORACE GREELEY’s Grace Arrese would follow her older sisters in the family tradition — lacrosse.
“I began playing lacrosse in kindergarten,” said Arrese, now a senior captain for the Horace Greeley varsity lacrosse team. “My dad coached all of our youth lacrosse teams, so I’ve had a stick in my hand since I was really young. My two older sisters were both varsity and are college lacrosse players.”
Following the cancellation of the 2020 New York State high school season because of the COVID pandemic, Arrese is back on the field as one of the leaders and impact players for coach Dennis Hurlie.
Arrese, a four-year vet, was an important player on the 2019 Horace Greeley field hockey team that won the Section 1 Class A title, beating perennial champion Mamaroneck, and advanced to the NYSPHSAA Class A title game.
Arrese will attend Wesleyan (Conn.) in September and continue playing lacrosse and field hockey. Wesleyan is a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference. The NESCAC has been referred to as the Ivy League of Division III based on its excellent academics.
“I was looking, primarily, at NESCAC schools for both sports,” said Arrese, who is considering Economics and/or Environmental Sciences as a major/minor. “I love both sports so much and wanted to try and play both in college, which is what drove me to go Division III and NESCAC specifically where there are two-sport athletes on many teams.
“The academic reputation of Wesleyan and the NESCAC schools was the key factor in my decision. I know how important my college education will be and I like to challenge myself in the classroom, so having the opportunity to attend such a highly competitive academic school was my greatest hope.”
Hurlie is impressed with the work ethic and leadership of Arrese. He feels she will continue to excel in both field hockey and lacrosse at Wesleyan.
“The first thing you need to know is how hard Grace worked in the offseason to keep her and a group of her teammates working and staying in shape in anticipation of this season,” Hurlie said. “I’ve only known Grace for a mere few weeks, but it is clearly evident to me how much respect she has earned from her teammates and how gifted a leader she is. She and her fellow captains, Grace Byrne and Mia Scott, have made the start to this season very smooth and enjoyable.
Arrese was happy to be back playing field hockey in the fall, especially after Greeley’s success in 2019 and winning the section. She is even happier to play her final season in the sport she began as a kindergartner.
“It’s been super enjoyable,” Arrese said. “We feel so lucky to be able to play our senior seasons and have our senior days. Most of our starting lineup at field hockey was returning and while we were so disappointed that states were cancelled, getting a pretty full season and winning the section considering the circumstances was just awesome.”
Horace Greeley lost to Somers (14-4) and Tappan Zee (16-8) before bouncing back with a 17-4 win over Brewster.
Molly Byrne had three goals and six assists in the win and Taylor Rice added three goals and an assist. Erica Rosendorf contributed two goals and eight draw controls.
Byrne had a hat trick and Arrese chipped in two goals in the Tappan Zee game and Finley Pollard scored twice against Somers.
PLEASANTVILLE opened its season with a nice victory, defeating Class A power Lakeland/Panas, 20-15 as Reilly Byrne fueled the Panthers with eight goals and four assists.
Abby McAllister added seven goals and four assists and Jess Beck scored her first varsity goal.
“We trailed 6-5, and then went on a 5-0 run to go up 10-6,” Pleasantville Coach Jaime Williams said. “We made some adjustments on the draw because we weren’t getting the ball. Our defense made some key plays to get us back in the game.
“I was pleased that we didn’t panic or give up when we trailed. We have a lot of two and three-sport athletes, so they know how to compete in tough situations. It was nice to see how we could handle that in a first game and early in our season. That certainly builds our confidence as a team. We still have some things to work on but our goal is to get better every practice and game.”
BREWSTER had a rough start to the 2021 season, dropping a 10-6 verdict to Carmel and a 17-4 decision to Horace Greeley.
Brewster coach Sara Didio, who guided the Bears to the 2018 Section 1 Class B title and trip to the state final four, cited seniors and the defense’s backbone– Chelsea Steere and Gabriella Pastore, who will continue playing in college.
Steere is going to Mercer University (Ga.) and Pastore is going upstate to SUNY-Cortland.
“Chelsea and Ella are both strong leaders on the defensive end for us,” Didio said. “We had a tough week, but we’re glad to be back out there. We are young, offensively, so we just need some of our younger players to step up and create some good connections on the field, which will come.”
In 2019, Brewster advanced to the sectional semis before a loss to Hen Hud.
BRIARCLIFF started the season 2-1 with wins over Putnam Valley (14-11) and Ossining (18-12). Cassie Lawler had four goals against PV while Dylan Krsulich and Rosie Swidler added three goals each. Lawler exploded for seven goals in the senior day win over Ossining while Krsulich (4 goals) and Swidler (3 goals) helped stuff the stat sheet. Charlotte Baer made six saves in net.
Paola Galiano and Grace Wickey had two goals apiece in the Bears’ 6-5 loss to Pearl River on Saturday.
PUTNAM VALLEY began the 2021 season with a new coach — Amanda Vasta, a Walter Panas graduate who played lacrosse for former Lakeland/Panas Coach Sharon Sarsen.
Vasta was the Putnam Valley varsity assistant last year before the spring season was cancelled after one week of practice.
“I am excited to be able to work with a hard-working group of young women,” Vasta said. “There are a lot of younger and talented players and I am determined to grow the program here at Putnam Valley while helping them achieve both academic and athletic success. I look forward to a great season!”
The Tigers suffered a 19-9 loss to Croton and a tough 12-11 overtime setback to Irvington.
Lindsey Cohen paced Putnam Valley with four goals and two assists against Croton. Natalie Mazza, Yarella Orellana,, Eva Dechent and Jordan Tucker had solo tallies for Putnam Valley.
Cohen also had four goals against Irvington. Cat O’Sullivan added a hat trick and Jordan Tucker rang up four assists for the Tigers, who also fell to Briarcliff.
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