SHRUB OAK – Lakeland was anxiously awaiting a return to field hockey practice following an involuntary week off because of Hurricane Sandy.
“It helps you be more appreciative of practice because you complain that you have practice every day when you don’t have a game,” senior and captain Gianna Bensaia said. “After a week of doing nothing, it felt good and also makes you realize how important practice is.”
The three-time defending Section 1 Class B and New York State champions got together for a two and a half hour practice Saturday and carried that momentum to the field Sunday for its Section 1 Class B Championship quarterfinal game against Somers.
Lakeland, which had not played a game since Oct. 22, showed the long layoff did not affect it is as the top seeded defeated the eighth seed, 8-0, behind four goals by Bensaia.
Lakeland, now 16-1, will host the winner of No. 5 Harrison-No. 4 Putnam Valley in a semifinal Tuesday. The Section 1 Field Hockey Championship finals will be held at Mamaroneck High School Thursday.
Bensaia said the team was unable to get together collectively because many of the players and their families were without power so parents kept them home.
“We were doing small stuff, whether it was a campus run or doing things individually to stay active,” Bensaia said. “We practice Saturday from 11 in the morning until 1:30 in the afternoon and we went over every little thing.”
Bensaia said the team showed Lakeland was ready to go from the opening whistle.
“Usually, when we get the ball to start a game it will be passed back to me, but right away, Dana (Bozek) just rocketed a drive down field,” Bensaia said. “:It resulted in a free hit for Somers, but that told me we were ready to play.”
Bensaia initiated a seven-goal first half with her first of the game five minutes in. Gab Celentano and Steph Scala added a goal and an assist apiece.
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