YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. - Yorktown has fielded a team for years in the Hudson Valley Summer Field Hockey League, which was played this summer at Walter Panas High School in its 16th season.
This year Yorktown had two teams, Yorktown White and Yorktown Green, take part in the league.
That should turn out to be a good thing for the Huskers when they play for real this fall, as it gave more of their players in the program a chance to hone their skills.
“We had two teams in the summer league this year and that was great,” Yorktown third-year coach Bernadette Gannon said. “It should help them come tryouts because they have been playing two to three nights per week against some of the top teams in the section. Keeping a stick in their hands and playing competitively will help us accomplish our team goals.”
Gannon is fortunate to have the talent she has returning on the offensive side of the field in senior forward Caitlin O’Donnell, junior wing Izzy Cicinelli, senior midfielder McKenna Duff and junior midfielder/forward Emily DeRos.
“I expect them to continue working together as a team to score,” Gannon said. “They have experience working together and that should help them during the season.”
Defensively, the Huskers also will see some players returning that can stymie an opposing offense when they are on their game in defenders, seniors Stephanie Gridley and Julia Wurzel and junior defender Valerie Torrieri.
“I expect them to be able to clear the ball and to set up the offense for scoring opportunities,” Gannon said.
In addition to providing stellar play defensively, Wurzel will also be expected to provide leadership as a captain. She has plenty of experience already in that regard, as she was a junior captain on the team last fall and with that experience it should make her an even better team leader come this season.
Gannon also provides plenty of leadership on the sideline. While she’s entering just her third year of coaching at Yorktown, she has been coaching field hockey for the past 23 years, 19 of them at Suffern, where she recorded 186 of her 197 career wins.
With the talent the team has, combined with working hard in the summer league, the Huskers are confident that they can enjoy a turnaround season this year.
“One thing that I have always believed in, is that you always strive to do better than you did the past year,” said Gannon, whose team was 2-13-1 a year ago. “We hope to win more games by coming together as a team. We hope to continue the momentum of winning to help place us in the playoff bracket at the end of the season. This will take commitment, and hard work, but I am sure that they are up to the task.”
Yorktown will face what is a daunting task for every team in the state when it opens the season against its neighbor Lakeland, which has won the last eight Class B state titles, at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5.