MAMARONECK – Normally, when a team graduates 12 players, with half of them being four-year starters, the term rebuilding will get thrown around.
From the way Suffern looked on Tuesday in its season opener against Mamaroneck, it looks like the Mounties will remain the team to beat in Section 1.
Suffern struck early and often, scoring the game’s first eight goals and eventually rolling to a dominant 16-3 win over the Tigers.
“We’re just letting them play; at this point, they are doing pretty well this early in the season,” Suffern head coach John Callanan said. “We’re pretty sound right now. There’s a lot of experience within this group. We let them play, have fun and let them do their thing.”
While graduating the likes of Baley Parrott, Dana Gisonno, Caitlin Leary and Regina Sharp, other players have stepped up for Suffern. Included among them are familiar faces Alli Iodice, Jordan and Reilly Drab, as well as the team’s All-America goalie, Mikaila Cheeseman.
Hannah Newman, a senior midfielder who came off the bench last year, started and made a strong impact on both sides of the ball and cleaned up the ground balls that came her way.
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“Coach told me in the offseason if I worked harder and ran a lot, I wouldn’t fall as much and get on the field more,” Newman said. “Graduating 12 seniors, everyone’s got to work twice as hard.”
Mamaroneck came into the game without key players Grace Fitzgerald and Emily Mahland, but still got a strong performance from goalie Talia Land.
“I think they were intimidated a little, which is understandable since everyone knows that Suffern is a great team,” Mamaroneck head coach Rocky Lividini said. “We definitely could have played better. It’s our first game, I think it was a great learning game, and we look forward to meeting them again in the sectional finals.”
Having come up just one win short of a state title, the goal is pretty obvious for Suffern this season: get back there and win.
“This year, we want it more than ever because we want to prove that we are a top team in the nation, even though we lost 12 great players,” Iodice said. “We just want to prove that our level of play is still there.”
Player of the game: Alli Iodice, Suffern. The junior attacker led the way with seven goals and an assist, and won most of her draw controls.
Turning point: Right off the bat on the game’s first possession, Abby Bosco finished a feed from Reilly Drab to quickly make it 1-0. It would set the tone for the rest of the game.
Stat line: Bosco and Jordan Drab both had hat-tricks. … Newman had a goal and an assist, while Reilly Drab had a goal and three assists. … Julia Kwait, Sarah Bennett and Cassie Budill all scored for Mamaroneck.
Quotable: “That comes in on practice since the day we lost,” Iodice said of the team’s loss in last year’s state title game. “We talk about it all the time, but we talk about it as a motivator. It motivates us to run harder, to go shoot on our own and pick each other up when we are down.”