New field hockey beat writer Adrian Szkolar stopped by Lakeland’s practice Wednesday. Here is his report.
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, even though she is just the third junior chosen as a captain in Sarsen’s 33 years coaching the team.
“Despite being a sophomore last year, Bozek would tell people where to go,” Sarsen said of Bozek (pictured at left), 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 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.
Kim, Sarsen said, has “explode to the forefront. “She’s a go-getter, she goes after everything,” Sarsen said. “She’s not someone that waits around to be invited.”
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.
“We’re all just focused on getting better every day. Right now, we’re just working on the basics and getting back into the swing of things,” s Dineen-Carey said.
Sarsen noted both the JV and varsity will carry 22 players.
Going undefeated for a second straight year may be difficult because Sarsen has added tough teams to the schedule with Mamaroneck and two top Connecticut programs in Darien and Wilton.
While the team is aiming for its sixth straight state championship, neither Sarsen nor the players seem to be looking that far ahead.
“I don’t know what it means in terms of wins and losses but I think they’ll have a good year. I think we figured it out,” Sarsen said.
“We’re not really going to talk about the section or the seed or anything like that,” Bozek said. “We’re just focusing on game one on September 2nd.”