LINCOLNDALE – Following pre-season scrimmages at the Suffern Play Day a week ago as well as a scrimmage against White Plains, it was apparent that Somers was struggling on one important aspect.
In the team’s season-opener against Lakeland/Panas on Monday, that would not be an issue. Rotating between Izzy LaRocca and Livy Rosenzweig, Somers had an 18-8 advantage on draw controls on its way to a 15-8 win.
“A lot of the game is based on who wins the draws; we came out really powerful with that, and that gave us the momentum,” Somers head coach Jamie Pryschlak said. “I’m happy the way we started, and they stayed hungry.”
Along with winning most of their draw controls, the Tuskers swarmed Lakeland/Panas when they didn’t have possession and forced several turnovers in the first half. By halftime, Somers led 9-5, led by LaRocca, Livy Rosenzweig as well as her older sister, Gabby Rosenzweig.
“The way we played today, our defense gave momentum for the offense, we caused a lot of turnovers,” LaRocca, a senior midfielder, said. “On draws, we were aggressive and that was something we were struggling with before. In practice, we did a lot of ground ball drills. It’s all about effort, we just wanted it more today.”
Lakeland/Panas, a team heavily featuring underclassmen, found more composure in the second half, and for most of the half, were within three goals. In the final seven minutes, Somers scored four unanswered goals to put the game away.
The Rebels, which lost 300-goal scorer Molly Fitzpatrick to graduation as well as Dana Bozek, who decided to sit out this season to prepare for her future field hockey career at Wake Forest, will be looking to improve as the season goes along.
“Today’s game was a learning experience; we have a very young team this year, so we’re looking to grow every game,” Lakeland/Panas first-year head coach Rebecca DiSisto said. “They came out with a little more intensity in the second half, which was nice to see. I was looking for more of my girls to be threats on the field, and I’m hoping that will continue to happen.”
The two-time defending Section 1, Class B champions, Somers will be looking to make another run at the state title. Last year, the team lost in the state final to Eastport-South Manor 15-8.
“We had a lot of chemistry, and going forward, we’re going to have even more chemistry given that this is only our first game,” said Livy Rosenzweig, a junior attack. “We’re just going to take it one game at a time at try to get better at practice every single day.”
Player of the game: Livy Rosenzweig, Somers. The Loyola commit led the way with a game-high five goals to go with two assists. She showed off her athleticism and skill on her fifth goal, cutting around behind the net, fighting through contact and finishing despite drawing a foul.
Turning point: Only 43 seconds in, Livy Rosenzweig opened the scoring. Lakeland/Panas’ Katie Bradbury tied the game four minutes later, but Somers then went on a 5-1 run, capped by a goal from Gabby Rosenzweig, to take a 6-2 lead with 13:08 to go in the first half.
Stat line: LaRocca finished with three goals and two assists, Gabby Rosenzweig had three goals, Katie Campbell scored twice, while Teagan Lucchese and Emily McCormack both had a goal each. … For Lakeland/Panas, Bradbury and Carlyn Mucci both had hat-tricks, Valerie Perkins had a goal and two assists and Gianna Napoli had two assists. … Somers goalie Jessica Monaco made seven saves, while Lakeland/Panas’ Caitlin Jackson, a freshman, made six saves in her varsity debut.
Quotable: “Me and Livy have been taking the draws since we were little, and I think we both know each other’s tendencies,” LaRocca said. “If one person isn’t working, we switch it up. It’s good because we both encourage each other, it works well.”