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Archive for June 1, 2013

June 1, 2013 — A fall at the final hurdle

This morning at Kean University saw the end of one of the most brilliant careers in scholastic girls’ lacrosse. With the end of the season of Allentown (N.J.) at the hands of Summit (N.J.), the playing career of Alex Moore is over.

Moore finished her scholastic career with 444 goals, the fourth most in the history of the National Federation for a four-year career.

Not bad for a player competing on a team which did not have the sport until 2006, and whose district was split in half with the opening of Plumstead New Egypt (N.J.) a few years earlier.

Moore now sets her sights on playing for the second-year program at the University of Southern California, whose expectations are high after narrowly missing out on a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament berth on the final weekend of play.

“I’m definitely excited,” she tells the Dorf Features Service. “I get to be coached by some of the best coaches in the country and definitely the best players in the country, who I definitely look up to. The girls I’m going out there with are awesome and phenomenal players.”

The defeat earlier today also is, in a way, a triumph for a very special and committed coach. Mary Ellen Clemencich probably did the single best coaching job in the country in 1997 when she brought the Allentown field hockey team to the state title game against a North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.) in a game that most pundits would have dismissed as a contest. After all, Allentown had never been in a state championship final before, played its games on grass, and relied heavily on converted softball players. Meanwhile, West Essex were hockey specialists who played on turf and sent Michelle Vizzuso to the 1996 Olympics.

But in one of the great NJSIAA championship games of all time, the two teams played level hockey over 90 minutes and shared the spoils.

In the spring, Clemencich had served as the school’s softball coach, but moved over to the lacrosse team in 2011. Her straight talk, enthusiasm, and positive coaching style have rubbed off on her players, and got them to a South Jersey title, the first for the school and represented one of the deepest runs by a Colonial Valley Conference lacrosse team since Princeton (N.J.) won the state title in 1985.