Katie Trombetta found her old self in the center of the Michigan field hockey team’s defensive midfield.
The sophomore from Holbrook played that position while starring for Sachem East High School, but began her collegiate career on the right side. Trombetta said her natural position opened up because of a graduating senior and she was called on to take the job at the beginning of the season.
It was an instant success for the first-year starter.
Trombetta, a two-time Newsday Player of the Year and a four-time All-Long Island selection, finished with eight goals and two assists and was invaluable for a team that went 18-5 en route to the NCAA quarterfinals.
“It made me feel like I was playing back at Sachem,” Trombetta said. She added that having a year of experience meant she could pick up where she left off after last season. “It helped me be the player I was in high school, but on top of that, to become better. I think just being comfortable, being confident . . . it was easier for me to see the field.”
Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz said Trombetta’s development is going according to plan. She said Trombetta has blossomed into a respected leader and will play an important role next year, too.
“It’s a coach’s dream,” Pankratz said. “Katie’s a very bright player, she’s smart tactically, she’s incredibly mature for her age. Certainly we recruited her to be a big time player and she’s holding up to all those expectations. She’s reliable, great size, good hands, she’s a really complete field hockey player.”
Katie took up field hockey in 7th grade and honed the game alongside her younger sister Cara. Well, sometimes.
“We actually weren’t allowed to practice with each other for a while because it usually would end up in a fight,” Katie said. Ditto for lacrosse. “In high school we would practice together . . . in lacrosse she helped me with her defense and in field hockey she wanted to learn how to hit better. We ended up teaching each other.”
The sisters played Sachem East field hockey together for three seasons and Cara took over as the team’s leader once Katie graduated. Cara led Long Island with 35 points this year as a senior.
“I wouldn’t have the relationship I have today with my sister if it wasn’t for field hockey,” Cara said. It was definitely something that connected me, my sister and my mom [Patti, who played at Michigan in the 1980s and later coached at Harborfields].
“You don’t come across many Katie Trombettas in your life. I was short, she was tall, I was loud, she was quiet, so we were opposites and still are, but it was great. Where I was flawed, she was good and when we combined together we really helped each other out. So having her as a sister, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”