NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – A lot of teams develop a motto or a rallying cry to bind them together as they embark on another long season. For Jennifer Frohman, coach of North Salem’s varsity field hockey team, her most repeated phrase this preseason has been: “I don’t know.”

“I need to have a shirt printed that says, ‘I don’t know,’” Frohman said. “I hate having no answers.”

The coach is referring to the uncertainty surrounding the fall season. Though many governing bodies—from New York State to Section 1—have implemented strict health and safety protocols, a regional spike in cases could jeopardize the season. In fact, many neighboring schools—Mahopac, Lakeland, Yorktown—have already lost practice time when school buildings closed due to positive COVID-19 cases in the student body. These closings could have ripple effects throughout the section, as teams scramble to reschedule games.

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For now, North Salem field hockey was slated to open the season at home against Rye at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14. Home teams are allowed up to two guests per student-athlete; guests from visiting teams are prohibited, a section-wide mandate.

The Tigers are expected to be among the best teams in Class C. Last year, North Salem went 15-3-1, losing in the section title game, 2-0, to Bronxville. Some top players graduated, but Frohman likes what she has seen so far in practice.

“We could be very good,” the coach said. “What I’m seeing right now is excellent. So, I think it’s going to be fun and I hope they get the chance to show how good they can be.”

The team captains will be seniors Stella DiDomenico, Krista DeModna, and Juliet Serra, and junior Kiki DeModna. Also returning are junior Kayla Andrews and sophomore Emily Collura.

“We have a very talented and experienced core, all of whom have been on varsity for two or more years,” the coach said. “They bring a wealth of knowledge to all of the younger girls that we’ve added onto the teams.”

In addition to the uncertainty, all teams are challenged by mask-wearing mandates and a lack of scrimmages. But even in a socially distanced season, Frohman said, “Our goal never changes. It’s always sectional finals.”