There is a theme here. This fall promises to give us more of the same in so many sports across the Long Island landscape. Our champions will repeat and the critical experience of underclassmen on some teams will show in this year's state playoff run.

That's right, we're going to see the continuation of some of Long Island's most dominant programs. They're going to win county, Long Island and in some cases state titles again in field hockey, boys and girls soccer, football, and girls volleyball.

South Side graduated Crystal Dunn, who was arguably the greatest girls soccer player to grace our fields. Dunn took her magical skills to the University of North Carolina.

But if you believe that an era has ended, forget it. The South Side girls soccer program is just as strong as ever and will battle for the state Class A championship. Remember this name: Jackie Cifarelli. Count on the Cyclones to vie for the school's fifth state title in the past six years.

The nationally ranked boys soccer teams at St. Anthony's and Chaminade are guaranteed to give us two entertaining games. St. Anthony's is the defending CHSAA champions and is ranked fifth nationally in the FAB 50 ESPN Rise poll.

Chaminade is ranked ninth in the same poll. The schools just can't seem to get out of each other's way.

If all goes to form, the teams will split their two regular-season games, increasing the intensity in the impending battle for the CHSAA championship. The hope here is that St. John the Baptist or Holy Trinity can give the semifinal round some electricity.

It'll be a typical season for the field hockey teams at Ward Melville and Garden City. They both could go undefeated in their respective classifications but to the coaches' credit, they scheduled a non-league showdown for Oct. 2 at Garden City. The Patriots hosted and won last year's contest. Can the Trojans return the favor?

Ward Melville won its third straight Long Island Class A championship last year, and led by All-American midfielder Abby Beltrani, is on course to make it four in a row.

Garden City returns standouts like Mikaela Rix and Caroline Tarzian to do the same in Class B.

Both teams were upended in the state tournament and hope that this season's journey ends with a state crown.

While the girls volleyball team at Ward Melville gets ready to roll over the competition for the school's seventh Suffolk crown in eight years, it's the change in boys volleyball on Long Island that has grabbed everyone's interest.

For the first time, a Long Island boys volleyball champion will be crowned. Nassau moved its program from the spring to the fall season, giving the two sections, Nassau and Suffolk, an opportunity to compete for the state title.

Half Hollow Hills, the two-time defending Suffolk champ, returns Chris Kaimis, arguably the best player on Long Island. The Thundercolts will get the chance to win a state title for the first time.

So while we sit back and watch the dynasties that have been built at Ward Melville and Garden City field hockey and see South Side hammer opponents in girls soccer, maybe we'll witness the start of something big in boys volleyball.

Are the boys volleyball players at Half Hollow Hills good enough to get to the next level beyond the county and win a Long Island title - or how about a state championship?

It's their serve.