Sachem East determining its legacy as state run begins
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At this point, legacy becomes part of the discussion -- determining where this Sachem East run ranks among Long Island field hockey's most impressive. And surely, a third consecutive Class A state title would further define that.
"It's nice to be in this situation again, having a chance to do something special," coach Tina Moon said. "But I take it day-by-day and moment-by-moment. You know you're doing something good, but I never really feel it or look back until the end."
For the team, of course, thinking about its place in history at this juncture would be premature and somewhat haughty.
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But for most outside observers, three in a row would, unquestionably, make the Flaming Arrows (20-0) a dynasty. It would also bring about even more comparisons to the Centereach teams of the mid 80s, of which Moon was a member. That was the only Long Island team to win three straight state championships.
Sachem East is on a 49-game win streak, which dates back to October 2011. During this run, they have only had to come from behind twice -- the first against Greene in the 2011 state semifinals, which the Flaming Arrows eventually won in penalty strokes. They are 63-1 over the last three years. They take on Kingston (16-0-1) in the state semifinals on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Sachem East is, arguably, the best team in the state, led by the best player in the state, Katie Trombetta. The senior is a two-time All-American and the reigning Long Island Player of the Year. The midfielder dominates on both ends, excelling at defense, ball movement and drives in transition, and facilitating and scoring on offense. Despite the double- and triple-teams this season, Trombetta has 35 points, tied for the Long Island lead.
But what makes Sachem East great is its depth. Cara Trombetta, an All-Long Island forward, is an excellent passer and finisher. She has 26 points with 18 goals, despite missing several games with an ankle injury. Midfielder Katie Doherty, with her skills and athleticism, has been a force defensively and is a capable scorer. Likewise for Katie Shanahan (15 points), who has proven to be a big-game performer. Kyle Larkin, Jessica Vigh and goalie Desteny Holer lead a young but talented defense.
"States is always a huge accomplishment for us and we're excited," Doherty said. "As a senior, you want a strong finish to your career. And for the younger girls who haven't experienced [the state tournament] yet, we want to make new memories with them."
About Kingston (Section IX): The Tigers are making their first appearance in the state tournament in five years. The lack of experience and familiarity could be to their detriment...but the same was said about Sachem East two years ago, when it won its first ever county title en route to winning the state title.
Kingston has won several Section IX championships, but hadn't gotten this far since 2008. They beat perennial contender Marathon, 1-0, in a regional final last week.
The Tigers are led by Carly Canavan, Claire Loughran, Caroline Crump and Jordyn Beesmer.