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Six Smithtown East seniors seek sustained playoff run

Amanda Funaro of Smithtown East poses for a

Amanda Funaro of Smithtown East poses for a portrait during Newsday's season preview photo shoot at company headquarters on Sept. 1, 2017. Credit: James Escher

The Smithtown East field hockey team has a solid half-dozen reasons to be motivated for this year’s upcoming playoffs.

Six seniors have their eyes on a sustained postseason run, after a disappointing 1-0 semifinal loss to Eastport-South Manor last year.

Playing in their final high school season, all six Smithtown East seniors have accounted for the team’s success in recent years, with another postseason berth in sight at 10-3 in Suffolk I. The group has experienced late-October field hockey in each of the last three seasons, including two semifinal appearances.

In last year’s semifinal loss against ESM, the Bulls had 20 penalty-corner opportunities, but could not convert. This season, they have already surpassed their total goal by 10 with one game still to play in the regular season, compared to finishing with 39 all of last season.

“A goal of ours was to finish and score goals this year,” coach Ann Naughton said. “It’s not easy, but it’s something we looked to improve on for this season. Credit to the other teams defensively. ESM had a phenomenal goalkeeper. That was a motivating factor for us is to finish and score goals.”

The Bulls have accomplished that resolution. Offensively, Funaro and Kyra Dalli have each tied their career-high point totals. Fellow senior Sydney Marzano has eclipsed her point total by two (18). The trio have accounted for 37 of the Bulls’ 49 goals this season.

“They come into practice every day working hard and are leaders on the field,” Naughton said. “They live for it. It’s really important to them.”

Funaro, a five-year varsity starting midfielder who played last season’s semifinal game with a finger broken in three places, is committed to play field hockey at Quinnipiac next year, and Marzano is committed to LIU Post for lacrosse.

On defense, Sofia Palazzolo, Kate McGuigan and Diana DeCanio are part of a back line that has allowed only 14 goals in 13 games.

The Bulls will host senior day and a regular-season finale against Sachem North on Thursday.

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