BRIARCLIFF, N.Y. Becca Bianco and Kristiana Roth arrived Monday for the first day of Briarcliff varsity field hockey practice and noticed a major change.
Not only did the Bears graduate a large group of talented players from the 2010 Section 1 Class C champ and state semifinalist, veteran coach Kelly Adams retired from coaching.
It was a little strange because theyre your friends and youre so used to them being here, said Bianco of her former teammates, especially Victoria Trentini and the Colton sisters Melissa and Jessica.
Monday was opening day for varsity and junior varsity fall sports, with the exception of football, which kicked off Friday.
Even though these players were not there, Bianco and Roth, both four-year varsity players, were glad to see their returning teammates, as well as their perspective teammates. The two seniors were especially happy to see familiar faces on the coaching staff new varsity coach Danielle Fiore and varsity assistant Sara Slocum.
Fiore, the former Lakeland great, was Briarcliffs varsity assistant coach the last two years and Slocum, a former Briarcliff standout, had been the junior varsity coach.
Coach Fiore and Coach Slocum are great, Roth said. They know all of the players, which is really helpful. Having them both is very comforting.
Fiore welcomed the team for the 9:30 a.m. start. Roth said the team began with a meet and greet.
We wanted to get to know all of the new girls, Roth said. I think they were a little intimidated, at first, with all of the running.
Bianco and Roth were quick to step forward.
Kristi and I had to step up our leadership because for the last four years it had been our former teammates, Bianco said.
Briarcliff went from 9:30 to approximately 11:20 a.m. Fiore and Slocum worked on conditioning in this first practice. Bianco and Roth expected the running and did not have difficulty with it. They were expecting Fiore to focus on stick skills in the afternoon practice, which made them look forward to it.
I love field hockey, the game and the team, Roth said. It is going to be different this year, but we will get the team to be close-knit.
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