I spoke with Lakeland/Panas coach Sharon Sarsen yesterday a few hours before their win over Wappingers. The Rebels made it all the way to the sectional final before losing to Suffern, and have the potential to get back to that spot this year. Here’s my report:
After making it to the Class A final last season and having a good chunk of that team’s core returning, Lakeland/Panas doesn’t have too many question marks of the make-up of the team.
Well, except at attack. While leading goal scorer Molly Fitzpatrick, a senior committed to Manhattan, is the obvious star on offense, coach Sharon Sarsen is still trying to figure out who will surround on offense.
Junior Valerie Perkins, who is currently out with an ankle injury but hopes to return next week, figures to be in the mix, but the likes of seniors Jackie Picard, Aly Kelly and Emily Power, along with junior Gianna Napoli and sophomore Carlyn Mucci, will all have chances to get significant minutes this year.
“The attack is where we don’t know,” Sarsen said. “We still got to figure that out.”
The rest of the team, however, is relatively set. At the midfield, the core trio of juniors Katie Bradbury and Dana Bozek and senior Gianna Paglia all return. On defense, seniors Ellie Dineen-Carey and Courtney Arujo, along with junior Brianna Muniz, all return. Freshman Kelsey McCrudden, who transferred from Putnam Valley, looks to have the fourth spot.
In goal, senior Alex Halpin will be the full-time starter. She split starts with Amanda Santos, who moved to Florida, last season.
“We have a great goalie, we have finishers, we have kids that can win draws, we have defenders with speed who can clear the ball,” Sarsen said. “I think we have a lot of good pieces we just have to build around.”
Despite having not have gotten onto a field until this Monday, Lakeland/Panas scored an 18-6 win over Wappingers to open the season on Wednesday. Sarsen, however, said that there will be a lot of competition for her team to face as the season progresses.
“We have lot of good players, but there are lot of teams that are pretty comparable,” Sarsen said. “The ball has to bounce the right way, and we have to stay healthy.”