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Field hockey preview: Old guard, take notice

Garden City High School's Michaela Bruno, right, and

Garden City High School's Michaela Bruno, right, and Cold Spring Harbor's Katie Kotowski battle for possession in the first half of a Nassau County varsity field hockey game. (Sept. 12, 2012) Credit: James Escher

There was an upheaval of the old guard in Suffolk field hockey last season. Ward Melville, once ensconced atop Class A with five straight county championships, was knocked off by Sachem East. Shoreham-Wading River, winner of four consecutive "B" titles, was supplanted by Sayville. And Pierson/Bridgehampton, fresh off a run to the Class C state final, appeared to be in the early stages of a dynasty, until Babylon proved otherwise.

The challenge for these new powers, of course, is to maintain and build on what they established last season. "Once you get a taste, you want more and almost expect it," Sachem East coach Tina Moon said. Her team captured its first Suffolk title and went on to win the state championship. "Now that they've done it, it drives them to do it again."

In contrast, the Nassau hierarchy remains. For the last several years, naming Massapequa, Garden City and Friends Academy the favorites has been as simple as, well, A-B-C. Each of those teams lost a bevy of key players and this season will require a new core to quickly form. Is this the year they're vulnerable? Perhaps. But that very question was asked last year. And the year before that, too. The response, each time: another county championship.

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