YORKTOWN, N.Y. ? The loss of two seniors from its three-time state championship field hockey squad didn't hold Gianna Bensaia and the rest of her Lakeland teammates back in varsity summer league play.
Lakeland erupted for six goals in the second half of an 8-1 win Monday at Putnam Valley High School to take the summer varsity championship as well.
But the moment she stepped on the field this summer, Bensaia knew something was missing. For as long as she could remember, the Lakeland senior had played field hockey with Shannon Scavelli and Emma Bozek. This summer, she would see Scavelli and Bozek at games, but as spectators.
Bensaia and her teammates would have to acclimate to playing without 2012 Lakeland grads Scavelli and Bozek, who helped lead the Hornets to three consecutive New York State Class B championships.
We definitely have big shoes to fill, but they still have an impact on us because of what they taught us, said Bensaia, a senior.
Bensaia, who has verbally committed to the University of New Hampshire, had two goals and two assists against Putnam Valley. Lakeland opens the defense of its three state titles Monday, Aug. 20, when field hockey practice begins.
Bensaia explained that the team focused on filling positions and working together as a team during summer league.
At first, we were getting used to each other, but we made a huge improvement and we gelled as a team, she said.
With the departure of Scavelli, who is playing at Michigan, and Bozek, who is playing at North Carolina, Gab Celentano, Kim Monteferante, Steph Scala and Felicia Costanzo stepped up and were aggressive on the attack, Bensaia said.
Bensaia was also pleased with another element of Lakelands game.
I liked our positive attitude, she said. When we made a mistake, we knew how to react to them and we picked each other up.
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