Can Ward Melville take that final step?

The Patriots, whose perfect 2016 season was spoiled in the State Class A field hockey semifinals, opened this season with three wins, including two shutouts. Ward Melville boasts plenty of power — led by Newsday Player of the Year Kerri Thornton — to make another run. Other key players include seniors Kate Mulham and Shannon Coughlan, along with junior Lexi Reinhardt.

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The Patriots are taking nothing for granted, though. “With tons of competition to be had this season, the road for success will absolutely be challenging,” coach Shannon Sioss said.

Northport is another Suffolk team to watch. Despite losing 13 seniors, the Tigers return goalkeepers Ryan Dowling and Kate Gilligan, along with impact players Lily Fox and Sophia Little.

Eastport-South Manor, Sachem East and Miller Place are also strong.

In Nassau, Ella Heaney, one of the county’s leading scorers last season, leads Garden City’s quest for a Long Island Championship three-peat. Other top teams include Carle Place, Cold Spring Harbor, Manhasset and Massapequa.