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Valhalla Field Hockey Coach Enjoys Game With Her Mentor

VALHALLA, N.Y. – It began as a conversation between field hockey coaches Karen Leitner of Nanuet and Tara Lahm of Valhalla.

“We just looked at each other and said, ‘We should play each other,’” said Lahm laughing.

That was five years ago and it has become an annual game between the teams. The coaches enjoy it because Lahm, a Nanuet graduate, played lacrosse for Leitner when she was the girl’s lacrosse coach.

“I look forward to this game every year,” said Lahm, in her sixth season as the Valhalla varsity coach. “It’s nice for my kids to see who my coach and mentor was.”

Thursday, the pupil and her team got the best of the coach and Nanuet with a 2-0 victory.

Kelsey Fritsch scored 70 seconds into the game then assisted on Valerie Alvarez’s first varsity goal with three minutes left to play.

Lahm and Valhalla now lead the series, 4-1. The series began in 2008 when Lahm’s younger sister, Kaitlyn Morr, was a junior on the Nanuet varsity.

Lahm said that, on play day last week – a day several teams come together to scrimmage – her players teased her when Valhalla played Nanuet. That teasing continued Thursday.

“When Karen says something or just the way she stands, the girls have told me that I do the same thing,” Lahm said.

The team wanted to get Lahm the win, especially after Nanuet beat Valhalla, 1-0, last year.

“It was a special win for coach because she was facing her coach when she was in high school,” Fritsch said.

No matter what the result is, Lahm said, one thing never changes – her friendship with Leitner.

“We both have mutual respect for each other,” Lahm said. “Even if we lost to Nanuet, I know that we are playing a great team with a great coach.”

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