By Tony Pinciaro
When Julia Cunningham and her Putnam Valley varsity field hockey teammates learned of who their new coach would be in 2020, they could hardly contain their excitement.
“We were exhilarated, as a team, to have Coach Parchen return to coaching last year,” said Cunningham of now second-year coach Tracy Parchen. “We knew with her as our coach this would finally rebirth the Putnam Valley girls’ field hockey team and the last two years this has definitely shown.”
Parchen’s return to coaching brought Putnam Valley instant credibility. After all, when Parchen began coaching in 2002 (before stepping away after 2006 to start her family) she immediately established Putnam Valley as a rising Section 1 Class B power. This came to fruition in 2005 when Parchen led the Tigers to the Section 1 and New York State Class B field hockey championships. During its 2005 postseason run, Putnam Valley, led by All-NYS goalie Kim Kastuk, did not allow a goal.
Even though Parchen “retired” after 2006, many of her players, highlighted by center midfielder Ashley Morgan, brought Putnam Valley its second Section 1 Class B title in 2008. That year, Putnam Valley defeated four-time state champion Rye in a semifinal and Lakeland in the sectional final. That was the last time Lakeland lost in a Section 1 Class B title game.
While the girls were excited to have Parchen return, the veteran coach also welcomed it.
“I came back and started coaching modified field hockey in 2019,” Parchen said. “I was planning on continuing at the modified level in 2020, but last season when they decided to run some of the sports levels but not all of them due to the pandemic, they needed a varsity field hockey coach, so I figured since there was no modified I would do the varsity and here I am. Even though we had a tough season last year, I was happy that I came back.”
Class C Putnam Valley is currently 3-4-2 this season after a scoreless draw with Pleasantville and a 6-1 win over Class B Panas after a 2-2 tie with Class B Yorktown.
“After having such an abnormal season last year with an unexpected quarantine, we were excited that this year brought a higher opportunity to grow together and become closer as friends both on and off the field,” said Cunningham, a four-year starter on defense.
“We were ready to play our game and focus on the work we needed to put in. Coach Parchen stressed the importance of conditioning our bodies and putting all our efforts towards the game.”
Following a rough start, Putnam Valley has raised its level of play and it showed with the Panas and Pleasantville, one of the top Section 1 Class C teams.
Ava Harman had a hat trick and added an assist against Panas. Allesandra Granieri finished with two goals and Shayla Lussier collected three assists. Sierra Gabriel and Alexandra Jacobs also had assists.
Goalie Kylie Recuppio was the star of the Pleasantville game with 12 saves.
“It was a great game,” said Parchen. “The girls have been working hard on marking, defensively, which has made a difference in our games. Our senior defenders, Shayla Lussier, Alex Jacobs and Julia Cunningham played great defensively.”
Cunningham and her teammates are enjoying their time with Parchen.
“I’m confident that the team will have success next year and Coach Parchen will continue to strengthen the program’s future,” Cunningham said. “Putnam Valley is very fortunate to have such dedicated and compassionate coaches like Coach Parchen and Coach Edwards.”
Parchen feels the same way about her team.
“It is just as much fun as it used to be,” Parchen said. “It’s a little more difficult this time around because I am managing my own family at home as well. I definitely enjoy being out on the field every day with the team. The team has been working hard and trying to get better every day. It is a great group of girls that I have known since they have been in 5th grade.”
LAKELAND continued to roll with three more victories making it a perfect 10-0 this season.
The Hornets stung Brewster (8-0), John Jay-East Fishkill (2-0) and closed the week by beating Section 1 Class A power Mamaroneck (3-1). All-NYS M Mia Smith scored twice against Mamaroneck and Alyssa Petrilli had the third goal. Gabby Santini, Jaden Ray and Emily Yazzetti registered assists. Santini had Lakeland’s goals against John Jay-East Fishkill and Yazzetti had an assist. Smith rang up four goals and Ray added three goals and two assists against Brewster. Eva Vulaj finished with a goal and Charlotte Sabert had an assist.
PLEASANTVILLE went 1-1-1 for the week, improving to 5-1-2 as the Panthers continue to make themselves a dangerous team when the Section 1 Class C field hockey championships begin. The Panthers defeated Our Lady of Lourdes, 3-0, as Natalie O’Malley scored twice and Caitlin Rubsamen finished with a goal and an assist. Maeve McCourtney added an assist and Izzie Baxter made five saves for the shutout. Pleasantville and Putnam Valley played to a 0-0 draw with Baxter making four saves. Baxter finished with a career-high 24 saves, including two stops on penalty strokes in a 5-0 loss to Class B power John Jay-Cross River.
HEN HUD (3-4) had a landmark win for the program, 2-1 over perennial Section 1 Class C champion Bronxville.
“It was an amazing win and the girls are so proud to play so well against a great opponent like Bronxville,” Hen Hud coach Melissa Locatelli said. “Defensively, we played an amazing game holding Bronxville to just one goal.”
Logan Gougelmann and Sydney Muranaka were the goalscorers, Paige Johannsen had an assist and Emily Hunt made three saves.
YORKTOWN lost a pair of close games — Arlington (1-0) and Ossining (2-0) — before erupting for a 5-0 win over Edgemont.
“The girls played exceedingly well and had nice defensive games against Arlington and Ossining,” Yorktown coach Courtney Hyndman said. “By Saturday, our offense really connected and got the job done in their win against Edgemont. We start getting into league play this week so we’re hoping to be successful and have good ball movement and play hard offensively.”
PANAS lost to Putnam Valley and Ossining. Kylie Edwards scored the Panas goal against Putnam Valley and Olivia Weinbaum scored against Ossining. Makenzie Schmidt assisted on both goals.
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