Two years ago, the Pearl River field hockey won only three games.
In 2011, the Pirates took a large step forward, beating Panas, 1-0, for the first playoff game in the program's history before falling to powerhouse Lakeland in the Section 1 Class B quarterfinals.
Pearl River lost 13 players from that team, which finished 7-7-3, but Head Coach Shane Carlacci is hoping the 10 who return can help the Pirates continue to make progress.
"Our goal is to continue on the success we have been building over the past few seasons," Carlacci said. "We would like to earn a higher seed in sectionals this year, allowing us to play deeper into the tournament.
"A good season for us would include a record better than last year's. We would like to score more goals this year and avoid the 1-0 losses and the ties we had last year."
Sophomore Jackie Dowling and senior Delia White will play key roles in improving that offense as the Pirates' top returning players on offense. Sophomores Courtney Ocasal and Erin Dolphin are back in the midfield with junior Deirdre O'Malley and sophomore Caroline Dolan on defense. O'Malley and seniors Emily Davan and Julie Roth are Pearl River's three team captains.
"In order to reach (our) goals, the team needs to continue the hard work they put in over the last few weeks," Carlacci said. "They need to develop confidence in themselves and strengthen their bond as a team."
That is a challenge for a very young team. Sophomore Annie McBride takes over in goal for standout Adrienne Ammirati. Sophomores Kristen Sammon and Maggie Davin and freshman Kayla Moreau could also make a quick impact. Pearl River's full roster is attached to this report.
Pearl River plays in Conference 4 with Clarkstown North, Clarkstown South, Nanuet, North Rockland, Nyack and Suffern.
"We would like to have more league wins this year," Carlacci said. "Nyack and Clarkstown South are key games and, of course, the games against rival Nanuet are always big."
Pearl River opens its season 4 p.m. Friday at home against Suffern.