CICERO, N.Y. – Lakeland has always been among the elite field hockey programs in Section 1 and New York State. Now, the Hornets have set themselves apart from the rest of the state.
Lakeland became the first school to win four consecutive New York State field hockey championships with a 6-0 victory over Pittsford Sutherland in the Class B final Sunday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
The Hornets, who finished with a 22-1 record, now have a Section1-leading seven state championships, including six since 2003. Lakeland is tied for second overall in New York with Greene (Section 4), two behind Marathon (Section 4) which had nine.
“No words can describe how good I feel and how good we feel,” said senior and captain Gianna Bensaia about making history.
Bensaia, along with fellow captains Rebecca Bard and Kristen Conroy, joined the team as freshmen and leave as the only Lakeland field hockey players to win four state championships.
Junior Gab Celentano, who had two goals and two assists, said the underclassmen were determined to get this victory for the seniors, especially Bard, Bensaia and Conroy.
“We wanted this more than anything else for Gianna, Becca and Kristen because they have been on the team since they were freshmen,” Celentano said. “We wanted them to go out with bang.”
Lakeland coach Sharon Sarsen, who registered her 509th win in the final, had nothing but praise for her team.
“I am so happy for the girls because they are the ones who worked so hard for this,” Sarsen said. “Nobody can take this away from them.”
Senior Marissa DiSisto and freshman Dana Bozek kept the state-championship run going in their respective families. DiSisto joins older sister Rebecca with two and sister Leah owns one. Bozek now has two, one ahead of sister Megan and one behind sister Emma.
Lakeland asserted itself from the opening whistle and, as a result, took complete control of the game. The Hornets kept intense pressure on Pittsfird Sutherland, resulting in eight penalty corners in the first 13 minutes.
“We realized, especially the seniors, that this was our last game playing Lakeland field hockey so we wanted to come out strong, take control and win to make it four state championships,” Bensaia said.
Dana Bozek opened the scoring at the 13:25 mark. Intercepting a Pittsford clearing pass from its circle. Bozek took two steps inside the circle and slid a shot through a maze of players. Celentano scored her two goals, at the 14:49 and 15:52 marks.