So Wednesday the two were on Long Island, taking a look at their opponents in this Saturday’s field hockey regionals.
Sarsen is no stranger to Garden City, which was upset in the Long Island championship last year but before that had won that title to face Lakeland in 2009, ’10 and ’11.
This year’s edition, just like those in the past, plays “Garden City field hockey,” according to Sarsen.
So don’t look for home-run passes.
Rather, the Trojans like to play small-ball.
“They work on a triangle around the field,” Sarsen said, explaining the squad is fast with outstanding corners.
Four straight state titles sounds like total dominance. But it isn’t like Lakeland hasn’t had to scrap just to get the state championships.
Its games vs. Garden City have been pretty close — 2-0 in 2010, 3-1 in 2011.
But nothing was closer than 2009.
Lakeland wouldn’t be seeking its fifth straight state title this year had its game against Garden City ended a minute earlier.
It was losing 2-1 until tying it with 40 ticks left on the clock.
It then won in overtime.
“It was the most amazing game ever — a shock,” Sarsen said.
The keys to winning Saturday, she indicated, are being smart at midfield and winning “50-50 balls.”
Don’t look for much new from Lakeland. Its lineup will be the same, as will its style of play.
Lakeland will look for big games from Gab Celentano, Dana Bozek and Steph Scala, among others.
There will be pressure, of course. That comes with almost any post-season game. But this isn’t just any game but, rather, a ticket to Syracuse and the state semis. With four consecutive state championships and no losses against a New York opponent since 2008, Lakeland’s in everyone’s crosshairs.
But Sarsen figures her kids weathered more pressure in defeating Rye for the Section 1 Class B championship.
She said the Hornets can approach the game in two ways — “nervous about defending our crown” or “ready to play Garden City.”
She thinks her kids will opt for the latter.
“We’re excited,” Sarsen said. “We’re not thinking, ‘Oh, god, what if we lose?’ ”
Over at Mamaroneck, the Tigers find themselves in a position unique to them this year.
Playing defending state champion Sachem East and their likely-soon-to-be-three-time All-American, Katie Trombetta, Mamaroneck is going in to Saturday’s game as the underdog.
Both teams are undefeated. (Mamaroneck also tied Darien, Connecticut, a team Lakeland lost to last year but defeated this year.)
But there is undefeated and there is undefeated.
Sachem East has won 48 consecutive games.
While Mamaroneck is the underdog, it shouldn’t be considered an overwhelming one. Three years ago, it fell to the Flaming Arrows in the regional final but that was by sudden-victory strokes, following double overtime.
This season, of course, strokes no longer decide things after OT.
Rather, after two scoreless seven-on-seven OTs, each side selects five players and the teams alternate going 1-on-0 (or 1-on-1, if you’d prefer) against the opposition goalie, starting from 25 yards out and shooting anywhere within those yards, including right from the goal line. The only limit is that the shot (or shots, plural, because rebound shots are allowed) must be taken within 10 seconds.
“I like it better as far as the goalie,” Savage said, referring to goalies having little chance against penalty strokes.
Savage’s scouting report includes notation of the U. Michigan-bound Trombetta (who was named last spring to the U.S. U-17 team) hitting long balls to three Flaming Arrow attackmen.
But Sachem East is also skilled with the stick and, because of that, can do a lot of damage if it gets into an opponent’s circle.
“We have to play our good team defense,” Savage said.
And while certainly respectful of, Savage certainly doesn’t sound like he fears Trombetta, saying, “We’ve come up against legitimate players before.”
Savage has a nice nucleus of players who’ll return next year, including leading scorers Ellie Seid, Lizzie Clarke, Karen Seid and Kimi Chiapparelli.
But he, of course, isn’t thinking about next year. It’s all about tomorrow.
Beyond that, he and Sarsen hope they get to worry about developing scouting reports for the following weekend and the state semis and finals in Syracuse.
Notes: Tomorrow’s regionals are at White Plains High School. Lakeland plays at 11 a.m. and Mamaroneck at 3. Pawling, which upset North Salem in the Section 1 Class C final, plays the Long Island-champion Pierson-Bridgehampton Lady Whalers between those two games. Pawling is just over the Putnam line in Dutchess, meaning it’s not in TJN territory, so we won’t cover that game. But the Pawling game story will appear in the The Poughkeepsie Journal.
Greenwich Academy 4, Rye Country Day 0
Rye Country Day, winner of the New York State indy crown, fell in the Fairchester Athletic Association championship Thursday, despite goalie Emma Santucci’s 16-save performance.
All four Gator goals were off corners. Defenseman Annie Leonard netted three goals and Hannah Goodrick had a goal and two assists.
Julia Booth had one save for 17-1 GA.
RCDS is 15-2 with both losses vs. the Gators.
The Wildcats were seeded second in the FAA playoffs and the Gators first.