LINCOLNDALE, N.Y. — One of Lakeland/Panas’ top scorers, senior midfielder Emma Bozek, was missing from the line-up against Somers on Wednesday.
But Alexa Bonnes and the rest of the Rebels stepped up in her absence. Bonnes led the charge with seven goals and one assist in a 15-10 win over the host Tuskers.
“We made a lot of adjustments in practice yesterday because we knew Emma wasn’t going to be here and also Gianna Bensaia,” Bonnes said. “Other people had to step up like Molly Fitzpatrick and Amanda Vasta, who is just coming off a knee injury. We just had to tie it all together without Emma.”
The UConn-bound Bonnes, a senior midfielder, leads the 3-0 Rebels with 17 goals this season.
“Alexa is definitely a talent,” Lakeland/Panas coach Sharon Sarsen said. “We felt like we had to open up some things for her. We know that she’s one of our strongest weapons. I thought we had good balance even though Alexa was obviously our leading scorer.”
Bonnes’ blazing speed and dodging ability help her create her own shot.
“My one-on-one’s I would say are my best asset,” Bonnes said. “I see the lane and usually my adjacent attackers cut through and it’s a clear lane to the open goal.”
Senior Taylor Scialdone, junior Kristen Conroy, Vasta and Fitzpatrick each scored two goals apiece for the Rebels. Fitzpatrick and senior midfielder Chyna Hill each had two assists.
The Rebels closed the first half on a 3-0 run to build a 7-3 lead. They came out firing to start the second half as Conroy, Bonnes and Vasta netted three goals in just three minutes to extend the lead to 10-3.
“The key coming out of halftime was the intensity that we kept in from the first half,” Bonnes said. “It was such a close score at the beginning of the second half that we felt we need to get up quick.”
Two more Bonnes goals gave Lakeland/Panas a 13-5 lead with 10:07 left to play.
Senior Megan Bradbury was a big factor on the draws. Lakeland/Panas had possession for a large part of the second half before Somers went on a 4-0 run to close out the game.
“I thought draws were a key to the game,” Sarsen said. “Megan did a phenomenal job. We probably won about 70 percent of them, which really gave us a lot of opportunities.”
Lakeland/Panas junior goaltender Amelia Lopez has big cleats to fill, taking over for All-American goaltender Alex Fitzpatrick (Lehigh). Lopez finished with 10 saves.
“She has worked really hard the last couple years,” Sarsen said. “She got really strong toward the end of last year. She’s one year smarter and one year wiser.”
Bozek is overseas playing for the U.S. national under-21field hockey team in England. They were also missing Bensaia, a key defender, who is playing with the U.S. national under-17 field hockey team.
“I was just really happy with the way some kids stepped up today,” Sarsen said. “Defensively, I thought we played great and stuck to our game plan. I thought the defense really predicated what we did on offense. We need to ride a little bit harder and value the ball a little bit more. But I thought this was probably our best game defensively.”
Nicole DeMase led Somers with three goals and one assist, while Claire Roediger and Emily Englert each added two goals. Shannon Coogan (one assist), Tara Schurr and Emma Schurr each had a goal apiece. Sarah Mink and Christina Jocelyn each notched an assist. Carly Shaw made six saves.
Somers (2-2) is coached by Jaime Irving who played lacrosse at Lakeland/Panas for Sarsen. Assistant coach Colleen Carney, who is the head field hockey coach at Somers, also used to play for Sarsen.
“I’m really proud of Jaime and Colleen for what they’ve done at Somers both in field hockey and lacrosse,” Sarsen said.
Lakeland/Panas, the five-time defending Section 1 Class A champions, has high hopes for this season despite losing some key players to graduation.
“We just want to play as hard as we can and get that section title,” Bonnes said. “And see what happens from there.”