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SportsHigh SchoolField Hockey

Nassau field hockey forecast: Garden City and Carle Place favorites, but no easy 'A' for Massapequa

Garden City's Shannon Tierney shoots downfield during the

Garden City's Shannon Tierney shoots downfield during the New York State High School Southeast Regional field hockey Class B final. (Nov. 9, 2013) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Garden City regained its dominant step in Nassau Class B last year, and Carle Place dethroned Friends Academy as Class C champs. Both teams begin their title defenses as the clear favorites.

Massapequa, however, does not have as clear of a path back to the Class A final. The Chiefs graduated every regular starter and have a new coach in Melodee Ahrens.

 

CLASS A

Massapequa has 10 returning players and the reputation of a winning program. The Chiefs have won five straight Nassau Class A championships. Forwards Christina Conkling and Caitlyn O'Connor, midfielders Ally Kanapas and Kerri Sayrafe, and goalie Laura Marques lead Massapequa in its quest to extend the streak.

Port Washington returns eight starters from last year's runner-up. Forward Jina Lay, midfielders Katrene Rustemi and Patience Ragione, and defenders Olivia Mann and Carolyn Suh headline the group.

Sewanhaka is led by forward Alyssa Jacobs, and midfielders Bianca Santana and Michelle Ferulli.

East Meadow returns just two starters, but midfielders Danielle Rivas and Alaina Ciccone, forwards Kelly Clarke and Stephanie Regan, and defender Molly Hall will keep the Jets in the hunt.

Baldwin is an upstart team to watch.

 

CLASS B

With six returning starters and a few other key players, Garden City is once again the favorite. Midfielders Isabel McKeown, Shannon Tierney and Michaela Bruno, as well as goalie Sabrina Milone and defender Morgayne Rix headline the 2014 roster.

Manhasset, which snapped Garden City's streak of 18 straight county championships in 2012, is battling injuries but figures to be one of the Trojans' top challengers. Goalie Jensen Polizzotto and midfielders Madeline Barcia and Alexandra Pidedjian key Manhasset's attack.

Friends Academy transferred into Class B after winning eight of the last nine Nassau Class C titles. Midfielder Caroline Sgaglione, forward Caroline Wilson and defenders Gabby Fitzgerald, Morgan Bauer and Stephanie Gherlone lead a group of eight returning starters.

Clarke, Cold Spring Harbor and North Shore will have a tougher time challenging Garden City, but each team figures to remain in the mix.

Graduations depleted Clarke's roster, but forwards Jessica Gibaldi and Bailey McNamara, and midfielder Brianna Ventola will keep the Rams competitive. Defender Jane Blumin, forward Haley Crosson and midfielders Lauren Paolano and Mikaela Hawkinson are the key returnees for Cold Spring Harbor, and goalie Frankie Conklin and midfielders Maddy Conklin and Carlee Janelli power North Shore's attack.

 

CLASS C

If Friends Academy had not already passed the torch to Carle Place in last fall's Class C championship, the Quakers unequivocally did by reclassifying to Class B for the 2014-15 academic year. The Frogs, who stopped the Quakers' eight-year championship run, return nine starters. All-Long Island goalie Lydia Rice and midfielder Shannon McGuinness are the two seniors leading a young but experienced core that includes Elissa Frein, who scored the winner in overtime of the county final.

Oyster Bay returns several key players from a team that reached the semifinals. Midfielders Kiera Scognamiglio and Sarah Collette, forwards Shelby Cook and Kelsey Doyle, and defender Michelle Morris anchor the group.

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