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Rye Field Hockey Will Play Briarcliff in Opener

RYE, N.Y. -- Briarcliff will step on the field Thursday, looking to begin what will be a successful season, culminating with a second consecutive Section 1 Class C field hockey title.

The Bears open the 2011 season against perennial power, Rye, 4:15 p.m. at Nugent Stadium. It will be a new-look Briarcliff team after numerous players from last year’s title team graduated.

“Things have gone pretty well during preseason,” senior Becca Bianco said. “The new players have been working really hard, showing coach that they want to get into the starting lineup. Even though some of the girls may not have the varsity experience, they are playing up to that level.”

Bianco, one of the leaders, is one of only three seniors returning this season. Kristiana Roth and Talia Marcus, who started along with Bianco last season, are back. Senior Natalie Paulmeno returns to field hockey after a one-year hiatus and will be in goal.

Bianco, Roth, Marcus and junior Tara Wexler, also a returning starter, are the captains.

“We are coming together, even though we have not had a scrimmage or game yet,” Bianco said.

This will be the second consecutive year Briarcliff will open the season with Rye. The Garnets have played in the Section 1 Class B final the last two years. They are also second in Section 1, behind Lakeland, with four state titles.

“We know that Rye is always a challenge because they are a great team,” Bianco said. “We are nervous, but also excited to see how we will play against them. We are preparing ourselves to play our best.”

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