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Rye Field Hockey Team Ready For Title Run

RYE, N.Y. — Scarlett Sulliman and her veteran Rye varsity field hockey teammates are not worried as they prepare for the 2012 season.

The Garnets had eight starters graduate from the 2011 Section 1 Class B finalist team, including Anne Van Wagenen, Emma Brinkman and Torie Virtue, to name a few. That is a huge loss in experience and talent, but at Rye, the talent flow for field hockey is an annual continuation.

The Garnets, who have four state championships (2000, ’01, ’03 and ’07) and six sectional titles this millennium, still return a veteran nucleus this season.

“We have huge shoes to fill, graduating all of the seniors, but we have prepared for this and for preseason because we want to make them proud and our coaches proud,” Sulliman said.

Sulliman, a captain, along with classmates Claire Martinelli, Lacey Collins and junior Alex Bennett, highlight a core group of 10 returnees. Also comprising this group are seniors JoJo Little, Kyle Drago, Maddie Bianchi, Darianne Cardino and Olivia Mandrecchia, along with junior Meredith Tibbles.

The returnees have had their sticks in their collective hands since the 2011 season concluded on the turf at Arlington High School in November, playing in winter and summer leagues.

One week into practice, Rye is working well together as a team.

“We had confidence coming into practice,” said Sulliman, whose younger sister, Vivian, will be a teammate this season. “We’re happy with our stick skills. During our scrimmages in practice, we are moving the ball well, and everyone is working together.”

Sulliman said Rye will test itself next week when the Garnets play Darien (Conn.) and Bronxville in scrimmages. Bronxville is the 2011 Section 1 Class C champion and reached the state final four. Darien is always one of the top teams in Connecticut.

“It’s good that we have these scrimmages against two well-coached and strong teams,” Sulliman said. “This will show us where we are, at this moment, and where we need to be.”

The Garnets, who are hoping for a fourth consecutive trip to the Section 1 Class B final, are well-aware that teams may overlook them this season. That would be a huge mistake, based on Rye’s annual excellence.

“It’s understandable, with us losing so many seniors and star players,” Sulliman said. “I think that teams will still respect us, though, because they know we are an excellent team every year. This year we want to prove to them that we are still the same, good Rye team as we were last year.”

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