Katie Trombetta vacated the pedestal reserved for Long Island's top field hockey player. Her sister, Cara Trombetta, is a logical choice to fill it, but several other Suffolk schools return key players capable of succeeding the older Trombetta as All-Long Island Player of the Year.
Of course, a major criterion is the team's success, and last year's defending champs are all poised to repeat: Sachem East in Class A, Miller Place in Class B and Pierson-Bridgehampton in Class C. There will be challengers, most notably at the "B" level, with Rocky Point, Shoreham-Wading River and Sayville capable of knocking off Miller Place, but no team -- not even Sachem East -- has its name etched into the 2014 trophies in September.
Despite Katie Trombetta's graduation, Sachem East is poised to win its fourth straight Class A title. Forwards Cara Trombetta, Katie Shanahan and Taylor Giordano lead the Flaming Arrows' top, along with goalie Desteny Holder.
Smithtown East, the last Long Island squad to beat Sachem East, returns several players from last year's county runner-up. Midfielders Rebecca Marklin, Kayla Feeney and Samantha Ackerman, defender Carli Valinoti and goalie Ashley Stoessell lead the Bulls.
Ward Melville returns just four starters, but the Patriots boast an experienced roster with 10 seniors, led by midfielders Katie Koester and Sam Nemirov. Junior Shawn Davenport anchors the defense.
Northport should also contend, returning five starters. Midfielder Margaret Gardiner and forwards Noelle Peragine, Gabbi Labuskes and Natalie Langella lead the Tigers, who are coming off a 9-7 season.
In her eight seasons as Miller Place coach, Alana LaMorte has never fielded a younger team than her 2014 squad. The Panthers, who graduated 10, return defender Kristin Roberto, midfielder Alyssa Parrella, forward Arianna Esposito and goalie Carly Olsen in their quest to win a third straight Suffolk Class B title.
Rocky Point, Shoreham-Wading River and Sayville will be Miller Place's top threats.
Forward Courtney Baldwin, midfielder Taylor Brodsky, forward Jenna Sanossian and emerging forward Nickie Sciulla give Rocky Point the punch to compete with Miller Place.
Emily DeGennaro, Alex Hutchins, Erin Blomberg and Jessica McCormack return for Shoreham-Wading River.
While Miller Place is young, Sayville fields a roster with 11 seniors. A solid defense anchored by Sam Cascardo and Jordan Zanetti, and goalie Annah Murphy, are the team's strength. Midfielder Michaela Conlon is another player to watch.
Defending state champion Pierson-Bridgehampton graduated three All-Long Island players, but Shannon Judge returns seven starters from last year's 16-4 team. Midfielders Anna Sherwood and Erica Selyukova, defender Rachel Miller, forward Calista Cafiero and utility player Allura Leggard lead the way in 2014.
Southampton fell short of its second straight Suffolk Class C title, as Pierson-Bridgehampton upended the Mariners. Forwards Meggie Gallo and Chloe Schmidt, midfielder Shelby Pierson and defender Leila Thomas headline the returnees from last year's 11-5 squad.