SOMERS, N.Y. – With the COVID-19 crisis sweeping the nation, the chances of a spring sports season have dwindled. As of April 1, seven states have canceled their spring sports seasons. In New York, schools are closed statewide until at least April 29. Local school districts have yet to make any decisions about the spring sports season.
Teams at Somers, including the Tuskers’ girls lacrosse team, are staying ready and are hopeful that they will get the chance to showcase their talents. Somers also has a new head coach this season in Deb Daly.
Daly, who was named the coach in November, said the team was on their fifth day of tryouts when they heard the news that schools were closing and practices halted.
“I keep telling them not to give up hope,” Daly said. “I am very fortunate to have such a great group of athletes that support one another and are truly respectful. It’s nice because I have taught most of the girls in physical education in their middle school years and to see how they have matured is impressive.”
Daly coached the Tuskers throughout the winter league and was able to get outside with them for open field gatherings during some sunny days in February.
“The Sunday before tryouts, we entered ourselves into a Prime Time Lacrosse tournament,” Daly said, “which allowed my assistant coach, Ali Burnard, and myself to coach the varsity girls, and we really liked what we saw and knew what we wanted to work on.”
Daly previously coached varsity girls basketball. She’s also been a coach at Somers in track and field, girls soccer and field hockey. After seven years of coaching at Somers, Daly had children and decided to take a break from coaching. She returned to the sidelines at Millbrook, where her team’s won a state title in basketball and a regional title in lacrosse.
“I hope to continue having success at Somers because what I have seen thus far is a great community, school support and most importantly girls that want to play,” she said. “I hope we get something in for this team because they are a special group.”
Somers is coming off a few uncharacteristic seasons the past few years where they’ve had early playoff exits. The Tuskers had been a staple in the Section 1 championship game for years. They won back-to-back Section 1 titles in 2014 and 2015.
The Tuskers have four senior captains in Jen Campbell, Bella Sirchia and twins Megan and Haley Dineen.
A common word with the captains was “devastated” when they heard the news that the start of the season would be postponed.
Two of the seniors, Campbell and Sirchia, are returning from ACL injuries. Campbell suffered her injury at the beginning of the 2019 season and has worked hard to rehab for her final high school campaign.
“Spring to me is lacrosse season. I’ve never known it any other way so this whole experience is a new and very upsetting one,” said Campbell, who is committed to York College. “To know that I may never put on another Somers uniform again breaks my heart because all I wanted after getting hurt was one more chance to be a Tusker. All I want is one more chance to play with my teammates, play against my rivals, and prove to myself and my team that even though I sat out a season I could come back and be the best version of myself as a player and teammate.”
Sirchia, who said she was “extremely upset” when she heard the season was being postponed, has “spent the past year-and-a-half preparing to step back on the field one last time.”
“I tore my ACL during the soccer season and was unable to play lacrosse my whole junior year,” she said. “I have been working out nearly every day, going to the gym, physical therapy, yoga. You name it, I’ve done it. I refused to let COVID-19 influence my play in the beginning of its threat. I would clear my mind during tryouts and forget about the world. When I heard the news, I was shattered. My last year to play was taken from me. However, it made me realize my true love for this sport. While I was unable to commit for lacrosse, I am highly considering continuing the sport through college—whether it be varsity, club or intramurals.”
The Dineen sisters are equally distraught about the situation.
“It’s sad to think that I won’t be able to have a full senior season playing the sport that I love,” Megan said. “It’s very heartbreaking to think that this is my last sport as a Tusker. I’ve grown up playing lacrosse for a great organization and I hope that I will be able to finish it out strong.”
They just hope they can return to their daily lives along with the athletic field sooner than later.
“As a senior, I was really looking forward to my last season playing Somers lacrosse, so I was really upset to hear that the start of the season had been delayed,” Haley Dineen said. “The entire team was really excited for this season and we’re staying positive and staying in shape in hopes that we’ll be able to get back on the field as a team soon.”
With social distancing in effect, the team members are stuck at home but are trying to make the most of it. Daly said the Tuskers have communicated through SportsYou where they share videos of drills and strength training workouts.
“I’ve been going on runs around my neighborhood and doing workouts in my basement,” Campbell said. “I try to switch up my workouts every day to keep myself interested and motivated. I’ve also been watching some film from past years to get my fill of lacrosse since the NCAA is also shut down. Overall, I’m trying to stay positive and keep hope that I will have some sort of season.”
Sirchia said she’s also been staying active at home.
“I have a small gym in my basement,” she said. “Since I cannot run on pavement, I get my cardio in by walking around the neighborhood (three miles) and riding the Peloton. I do cycling classes that average around 45 minutes. They are pretty intense. In regards to staying strong, I do a lot of muscular endurance and strength exercises, I have weights at home so I use those. [Kevin] Mullen, our athletic trainer, was kind enough to provide us with some great workouts and exercises to stay in shape. I do a lot of yoga to stretch and relax as well. I have a bounce-back in my backyard, so I usually get some reps in. It’s been easy to stay active and occupied because I have so much time on my hands, but it is not the same. Hopefully, we can get back to school and work soon enough. Because all the seniors really want is one last game with our teammates, our family.”
The Dineens said they are fortunate enough to have each other to help them stay prepared.
“We both try to stay in shape by running around our neighborhood and doing the workouts that our trainer, Mr. Mullen, has been posting for the team online,” Haley Dineen said. “We also get outside and pass the ball to keep our stick skills in check. I usually like to stick to the same routine every day. Hopefully we’ll be back to playing for Somers one last time soon.”
Megan Dineen, who is committed to Albany for lacrosse, explained what her routine has been.
“I’ve been taking many runs around the neighborhood and have been out playing lacrosse in my yard with my sisters every day,” she said. “I’ve been using the Peloton app a lot to get some workouts in and I love it. Also, Coach Daly has been posting stick work drills and workouts that we can do at home so that has been helpful for me.”
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