BRIARCLIFF, N.Y. Abigail Peress and Christine Rotondo came in on the first day of Briarcliff varsity field hockey practice prepared for a rebirth.
Briarcliff won the Section 1 Class C title and advanced to the state final four in 2010. Last year Briarcliff had a tough year, as graduation claimed most of the starting lineup.
It was like we were starting from scratch, which is difficult, said Rotondo, in her third varsity year and a member of the 2010 title team. This year we definitely want to have a better year.
The Briarcliff players are familiar with each other after spending the offseason playing together in the Hudson Valley Field Hockey Summer League. Peress and Rotondo both agreed that this benefited the team, especially when it came to working together.
Rotondo, who starts on defense, and Peress, who starts on the forward line, are two of three seniors returning, with goalie Michelle Krasner completing the trio.
The Bears return four other starters for second-year coach Danielle Fiore. Juniors Juliana Radomanovic and Laura Birnbaum join Rotondo on defense, and classmate Megan ODonnell is up front with Peress. Sophomore Melanie Prinz will be in the midfield or at forward.
Through the first week of practice, the major difference from last year is the increase in running. However, the players understand that conditioning is important and have welcomed the approach.
Through summer league and the opening week, Peress said, the team is already coming together, which is where it wants to be.
On the field everyone is pushing each other in practice and working together, Peress said. Off the field, were becoming really close as a team.
Rotondo agrees with Peress and stressed the importance of positive reinforcement to their younger teammates.
Its so important when the team is a family, because you play better on the field, Rotondo said. Weve been giving them a lot of encouragement. Were doing this so they can improve, and we feel the younger players have already improved.
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