Kyle Larkin leads Sachem East to Long Island Class A three-peat
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Kyle Larkin had two goals and an assist for Sachem East Wednesday night.
Let that sink in . . .
Kyle Larkin, the lacrosse goalie and field hockey defender, led the Flaming Arrows' offense in the Long Island Class A final.
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"But that's Kyle," coach Tina Moon of Larkin, who began field hockey only last season but started for the state championship squad. "She can do anything. You don't teach what she has; it's just natural."
Larkin did double-duty last night and Katie Shanahan also scored twice, helping the Flaming Arrows beat Massapequa, 6-1, to capture their third straight Long Island title.
"It's no different, the mindset from being a goalie, wanting to go get the ball," the senior said of her career-high two goals. She had scored in two games last month. "You just have to be aggressive and take the initiative."
She has been the initiator. Late-season injuries to Cara Trombetta and Kayla Caltabellotta made Larkin the inserter on penalty corners. Turns out, she can also insert shots into the cage.
"She thought I was crazy putting her on the front line," Moon said, "but I knew she had the skills to score."
Shanahan put Sachem East on the board 4:07 in. Gabby Curtis scored in a scrum to tie it for Massapequa with 5:23 left in the first half, but Larkin responded only two minutes later.
Off the corner, Kelly McKeveny passed the ball back to Larkin, who fired from 4 yards to make it 2-1. From there, Sachem East (19-0) pulled away and extended its win streak to 48 games.
Katie Trombetta and Shelby Trentini had a goal apiece and Cara Trombetta and Caltabellotta each had an assist. Larkin's second goal, on a similar sequence, made it 4-1 with 15:11 remaining.
She did also keep her day job. Larkin helped contain Massapequa (11-4), which had combined for 10 goals in its previous two playoff games.
"Kyle is awesome and, you think, she only picked up a stick last year," Shanahan said. "It's fun watching her and seeing how much she has improved so quickly."
The two-time defending state champs will face Mamaroneck in the regional final Saturday, 3 p.m. at White Plains High School. Sachem East beat Mamaroneck in penalty strokes to win its first state title back in 2011.
"I'm sure they'll be aggressive and want to beat us more than anything," Moon said, "but we'll be prepared."
The Flaming Arrows' lineup and formations were shuffled in the last two weeks of the regular season because of injuries -- particularly the one to Cara Trombetta. The All-Long Island forward missed four games with a high ankle sprain and still is, in her estimation, "about 80 percent." She returned to score a goal in the county final.
But Trombetta's absence made way for the emergence of other scorers, and eventually allowed Larkin to showcase her offensive prowess.
"It's about learning new things and constantly improving," Larkin said of her expanded role. "This team gets better every time we step onto the field."
Now, let that sink in.