When Lakeland junior forward Dana Bozek was told that she would be one of the four captains on this year’s team, it came as a happy surprise to her.
But to coach Sharon Sarsen, the area’s arguably best player was the most logical choice.
“Despite being a sophomore last year, she would tell people where to go,” Sarsen said of Bozek, who will share the captain duties with seniors Ellie Dineen-Carey, Molly Fitzpatrick and Alex Halpin. “Technically and tactically, she is so intelligent she raises the play of her teammates.”
Sarsen, whose team is taking aim at a sixth straight state title this season, said that Bozek is similar to her older sister, Megan, a former Hornet who’s now a coach at Boston College. Both are “Wikipedias” of the sport, she quipped.
Offensively the team will lean on Bozek and forward Fitzpatrick, who led the team with 28 goals last season.
Dineen-Carey, who will take over as sweeper, and junior defender Julia Kim, whom Sarsen calls the team’s most improved player, should see increased roles this season.
Dineen-Carey, who played defense last season, has made the adjustment to sweeper with the help of last year’s sweeper, Kim Montefrente. Montefrente, who’s playing for Dickerson College, gave Dineen-Carey pointers earlier this summer.
Suffern has fun but is focused: Off the field, Suffern coach Gaby Somma and Pearl River coach Shane Carlacci are good friends. After completing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Suffern used one of its nominations on Pearl River, which obliged.
On the field, however, it’s all business.
After the Pirates won their first league title, disposing of Suffern along the way, the Mounties will seek redemption this fall. Somma said that after watching her team through summer league, there were a number of players who were stepping up at different times.
Two of the team’s top scorers, Sidney Padilla and Sydney Rondina, will be back in uniform, along with senior Amy McNally, who will be a vital part of Suffern’s midfield. McNally said the team’s chemistry resembles that of her sophomore year, when the Mounties won the section title.
“I think we have a good group of girls and that we all click,” said McNally, who is committed to Niagara University for lacrosse. “I think this year we’re going to get pretty far.”
Somma said that Suffern has a solid defensive line, which should mean less stress for sophomore goalkeeper Alyssa Sanchez. The Mounties will be set in the net for years to come, with eighth-grader Maddie Nicpon ready to step in when Sanchez graduates.
Nicpon worked with McNally over the summer, impressing the senior in the process.
“She’s awesome,” McNally said.
Quarto aims high for team, not self: Mahopac’s Sarah Quarto has prepared for this season by playing on two club teams, one in Ulster and one in Rockland County. She’s one of the fastest players in Section 1 and hopes to play in college. But while wanting big things for her team, she isn’t looking for big individual accolades, saying it would be nice to be named all-league.
New look to John Jay: Heather Ausiello knows a lot about her players — well, some of them, anyway.
But with only five starters returning from last year’s varsity, the fourth-year John Jay coach makes it clear she isn’t sure about her team’s prospects.
“I think it’s the great unknown,” she said with a smile Wednesday at her team’s preseason workout.
Eight players have graduated from last year’s squad, whose biggest headline in a solid year was its 1-0, last-minute loss to Lakeland.
Two players from that team have made their college teams.
John Jay’s Erin Sanders is now playing for Tufts and Cara Stafford for SUNY-Geneseo.
That’s great news but, of course, there’s an impact to losing players of that caliber. How great of an impact is the question.
At Wednesday’s practice, senior midfielder Hannah O’Reilly acknowledged the questions surrounding her squad but didn’t appear worried.
“We have a lot of potential,” she said. “I’m excited because the past few days we’ve been looking pretty good.”
Mike Zacchio and Nancy Haggerty contributed to this report.