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Hastings' Coiro Rediscovers Field Hockey Passion

PUTNAM VALLEY, N.Y. -- Following a long Monday or Thursday at work, Lakeland alumnus Andi Coiro chose a different sort of relaxation. The 2004 Lakeland graduate and former field hockey standout would make the trip to Putnam Valley and do what she still enjoys doing -- playing field hockey.

Coiro, a four-year starter at Sacred Heart University and 2008 graduate, played in the Hudson Valley Summer Field Hockey League open division along with numerous former Section 1 players. It was created by league founder/director and Lakeland field hockey coach, Sharon Sarsen in 2007 to give recent high school graduates, college players and college graduates an opportunity to play during the summer.

Sarsen did this following the removal of open field hockey from the Empire State Games. A lack of interest forced Sarsen to forego the open league the past three summers, but she reinstituted it this year.

“I was looking for a competitive league to play in and didn’t realize Sars had the open division,” said Coiro, a social worker in Westchester.  “Sars told me about it and I thought I was too old to play, but Sars told me there were girls my age playing.”

Coiro was a co-captain, along with good friend Danielle Fiore, and together they led Lakeland to the 2003 New York State Class A field hockey title. Once Coiro took her stick out of “retirement,” it was like being in high school again.

“You’re always looking to stay in shape and you can go to the gym, but being able to play field hockey is fun. I definitely looked forward to Mondays and Thursdays. Right before I started I was concerned that I was going to embarrass myself because I would be playing against college players in their prime," said Coiro, a Hastings resident. "As soon as I received that first pass, though, it came right back to me.”

Coiro played on the Ninjas along with fellow Lakeland great and Harrison field hockey coach Sara Gonzalez. As a result, Coiro plans on playing with Gonzalez in the Big Apple field hockey league this fall. Coiro credits Sarsen for keeping many players involved in the sport.

"This shows how much Sars cares about and respects her players and her the whole aspect of field hockey," Coiro said. "I think it's amazing."

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