We kid! But after graduating a slew of standouts, including All-American Katie Trombetta, there were questions -- valid ones -- about how well the Sachem East field hockey team would perform this season. And there would be a clear void at the center-midfield position. Who, pray tell, could possibly fill those shoes?
Uhhh . . . The other Trombetta, naturally. Cara Trombetta dominated defensively and had a goal, and Katie Shanahan scored twice Sunday, leading Sachem East over Massapequa, 4-0, as the Flaming Arrows captured a fourth straight Long Island Class A title.
"It's incredible," said Trombetta, a junior and All-Long Island star in her own right. "Every team loses great players, but we've been able to improve, make adjustments and keep it going."
Trombetta has been among LI's top scorers since the eighth grade, but she did so as a forward and without being the focal point of defenses. No more. The face-guarding, double teams and exotic schemes have been thrown her way this season, as she also plays defense and has ball-handling responsibilities.
"It was actually a difficult adjustment," Trombetta admitted. "There's a lot more to do and I'm still getting used to everything that comes with it."
Could've fooled us. It has been a seemingly seamless transition for her and Sachem East (19-0), which hasn't lost to a Long Island opponent since 2011. The Flaming Arrows, seeking a third state title in four years, advance to a state semifinal on Saturday at Maine-Endwell High School.
"We've been pushing each other all season because we want this so badly," said Shanahan, who also scored the winner in the Suffolk final. "Things have changed, but our goals and standards haven't."
Shanahan scored 8:54 into the game on a putback from the left post during a penalty corner. Massapequa, the six-time defending Nassau champ, held tough in the first half, denying several opportunities within the circle. Laura Marques made 17 saves and Megan Lawlor six for the Chiefs (10-8).
But Taylor Giordano made it 2-0 with 20:36 left in the game by weaving through the defense and firing from close range. Shanahan scored again and Trombetta added a goal off a feed from Kayla Henry-Caltabellotta. The Chiefs had perhaps their best scoring chance on a corner with 20 minutes left, but Jessica Vigh and Trombetta forced a turnover along the baseline.
"This isn't the same team," forward Shelby Trentini said. "But that doesn't mean we can't take ownership and be as good. We're hungry!"
In that regard, nothing has changed.