YORKTOWN, N.Y — It will be different and yet the same this spring for a Lakeland/Panas squad that is coming off a 14-4-1 campaign, where it made it to the Section 1 Class A tournament semifinals, before losing to top-seeded Suffern 12-7.
What will be different is after four years as the Rebels’ assistant coach, Rebecca DiSisto will now be the head coach with long-time Lakeland/Panas coach Sharon Sarsen going from head to assistant coach.
In many ways, however, things will still be the same for the Rebels on the sideline.
“Sharon has made this transition very easy for me,” said DiSisto, who is also the athletic coordinator at Lakeland High School and graduated from the school in 2007. “Not much has changed for us in regards to the roles we take on with the team. I obviously have more responsibilities now, but our coaching has pretty much remained the same.”
Whoever is giving instruction on the Rebels’ sideline commands respect from the players according to senior captain Katie Bradbury, who will play lacrosse next year at Catholic University of America.
“There is still a lot of continuity because they have coached together in the past, just with different roles,” Bradbury said. “Both are great coaches that the team respects equally.”
There are also on the field changes for the Rebels, as they lost the program’s all-time leading goal scorer in Molly Fitzpatrick, who was named an All-American last year and is now playing the sport at Manhattan College.
The team also must move on without Dana Bozek, who led the Rebels with 94 points last year and will be playing field hockey this fall at Wake Forest University.
“While we’re going to miss them and will have to adjust, I think their absence will create some great opportunities for others to step up this year,” Bradbury said.
Seniors Gianna Napoli (Springfield College), Julia Kim, and Valerie Perkins are the Rebels’ other captains.
“As captains, I think that we definitely value creating team chemistry both on and off the field,” Bradbury said. “We also hope to guide the younger girls because we know how it feels to be in their place and how nice it is to have captains that genuinely care about their teammates.”
On attack, the Rebels’ key players this season are Napoli and junior Carlyn Mucci.
“Gianna’s powerful shot and ability to feed from X and roll the crease will be important this season,” Bradbury said. “Carlyn’s stick skills in tight spaces inside the 8-meter along with her excellent shot placement will be key components as well in this year’s attack.”
Senior Marissa Staffu (Western New England University), who is a transfer from John Jay-East Fishkill but played with the team’s other seniors in the Shrub Oak Youth Lacrosse League, will also play an important role on attack.
Perkins and Bradbury are both returning starters who will lead the midfield.
“Valerie’s speed will definitely be important all over the field and her shot placement will benefit the team on offense,” Bradbury said. “I think she will really continue to excel this season. I believe that my experience from my previous three years on varsity have allowed me to grow as a player and create a better game sense every season. Freshman Emily Kness will play at either attack or midfield this year, but regardless of where she is on the field, I look forward to watching her grow as a player because I know she has a lot of potential.”
The play of Kim and junior Mia Lennon definitely will be necessary in leading a successful defense according to Bradbury.
“While this is only Julia’s second year playing lacrosse ever, she has improved tremendously since last season due to her footwork, natural game sense and overall athleticism,” Bradbury said. “Mia’s communication skills and solid defense make her a dependable defender.”
Lakeland/Panas will have two solid options in goal.
“This will be the first season on varsity for junior Kiera Scott and freshman Caitlyn Jackson,” Bradbury said. “Both have great potential and have been working hard every day to get even better.”
Lakeland/Panas will open the season on March 28 at 11 a.m. at two-time defending Class B champion Somers.