PUTNAM VALLEY, N.Y. -- Following a long Monday or Thursday at work, Lakeland alumnus Andi Coiro chose a different sort of relaxation. The 2004 Lakeland graduate and former field hockey standout would make the trip to Putnam Valley to do what she still enjoys doing -- playing field hockey.
Coiro, a four-year starter and 2008 Sacred Heart University graduate, played in the Hudson Valley Summer Field Hockey League open division along with numerous former Section 1 players. It was created by league founder/director and Lakeland field hockey coach Sharon Sarsen in 2007 to give recent high school graduates, college players and college graduates an opportunity to play during the summer.
Sarsen did this following the removal of open field hockey from the Empire State Games. A lack of interest forced Sarsen to forego the open league the past three summers, but she reinstituted it this year.
I was looking for a competitive league to play in and didnt realize Sars had the open division, said Coiro, a social worker in Westchester. Sars told me about it and I thought I was too old to play, but Sars told me there were girls my age playing.
Coiro was a co-captain, along with good friend Danielle Fiore, and together they led Lakeland to the 2003 New York State Class A field hockey title. Once Coiro took her stick out of retirement, it was like being in high school again.
Youre always looking to stay in shape and you can go to the gym, but being able to play field hockey is fun. I definitely looked forward to Mondays and Thursdays, said Coiro, a Hastings resident. Right before I started I was concerned that I was going to embarrass myself because I would be playing against college players in their prime. As soon as I received that first pass, though, it came right back to me.
Coiro played on the Ninjas along with fellow Lakeland great and Harrison field hockey coach Sara Gonzalez. As a result, Coiro plans on playing with Gonzales in the Big Apple field hockey league this fall.
Megan Bozek completed her freshman year, where she started on defense, at the University of New Hampshire and was looking to play this summer. The open division enabled the 2010 Lakeland graduate to do this.
It was amazing. Even though we played on half the field, it was spaced out and the games were still competitive. Playing on half the field was so much fun because you make quick plays, there was a lot of scoring and it gave me an opportunity to get into the action, said Bozek, who played on the champions, Team Fockey. Practicing in your backyard or going to Lakeland and working on skills individually is good, but playing against college players and former college players enabled Bozek to stay sharp. Its been extremely beneficial because it enables you to keep your skill level high.
Bozek is looking forward to next summer when she gets to play with younger sister, Emma, who will graduate next June.
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