Port Washington field hockey is ready for a step up in competition.
The Vikings have moved into Nassau I as a result of wins against higher-ranked opponents last season in Nassau II.
For the first time, they will be playing some of the county's powerhouses, including Garden City and Carle Place, both defending Nassau champions.
“We want to step up and set the standard higher for this team,” Port Washington coach Kathleen Lennon said. “I don’t want us to come into games thinking, 'Oh, it’s Garden City.' I want teams to come play us and think, 'Oh, it’s Port Washington.' "
That might take a while. But it's the right attitude. Port Washington returns most of its core and has added four promising freshmen.
“I really think that we are going to be able to hang in this league,” Lennon said. “My goal is to get bumped up even higher. I push them very hard because that’s the way I was trained. Rain or shine, they come and put their effort in.”
The Vikings have three sets of sisters, including two pairs of twins. Seniors Dalia Bercow and her twin sister Jolie are four-year starters and team leaders.
In the midfield, senior Morgan Gearty controls the right, and her twin Michaela the left. And then there's Emma Levin, and her sister, newcomer Jamie.
“Jamie really looks up to her sister,” Lennon said. “It’s fun having sets of twins and sisters because it’s one big family, really.”
Last year’s leading scorer, junior center forward Tobey Ticks returns.
“Our mantra as a team is to work your hardest not only to make yourself better, but also the team better, and Tobey exhibits that,” Lennon said.
But the team’s strongest asset is defense, which allowed only 14 goals in 12 games last year. Returning in net is starting goalkeeper, senior Annabel Bridges.
“She has great footwork and clears the ball really wide, something you really look for in a goalkeeper,” Lennon said.
Defending the back line will be Megan DiLeo, Kayla Weisburd and sophomore Alyssa Puglisi, a newcomer and starter this year.