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Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Dec. 23, 2014 — Your national scoring champion

The totality of Austyn Cuneo’s field hockey career cannot be encompassed in numbers. Not when you watch the game with her on the pitch.

The senior forward from Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) is recognizable from a distance. She is jet-quick with or without the ball, crushes offensive corner shots, and is a defensive disruption as corner flyer. She has the skills to score from open play with deft touches against three and sometimes four players. It almost seemed at times she was playing a different game.

More than one publication has awarded Cuneo the designation as the greatest scholastic field hockey player of all time. She’s even gotten attention from papers for whom Eastern isn’t even in their coverage area.

And for good reason. All you had to do was to witness one particular performance during her freshman year. At about 6:35 p.m. on Oct. 22, 2011, she scooped up a loose ball about 40 yards from the goal that PIAA champion Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) was guarding on the west end of McAleer Stadium. She swooped into the striking circle like a hungry cormorant, leveled her shoulders, and, on the dead run, flicked her wrists.

Hello, world.

It was the completion of a hat trick in a shade over 11 minutes against a defending state champion, and it was also her 40th goal of the season. She kept on scoring, finishing with a total of 69, tying both the single-season school and state records. As a freshman.

She fell a goal short of that in her sophomore season, but Hurricane Sandy had shortened the season, not allowing her possibly two extra games. Despite this, she led the nation in goal-scoring for a second time and was the first known field hockey player to have scored 60 goals in a season twice.

Long-standing national records began falling like candlepins in her junior year. The climax was, of course, the game she scored her 192nd to break the existing record, but it seemed that just about every game from mid-October 2013 to the end of the season she was setting some new standard, including the seemingly unreachable single-season scoring mark of 82 goals by the immortal Tracey Fuchs.

Coming into the 2014 season, it seemed as though there were no more worlds to conquer, but Cuneo certainly found more her senior year. While she helped Eastern to a 16th consecutive state title, Cuneo finished with a national-record 328 goals scored in her unmatched four-year career. Somehow, she found time to record 94 assists, the ninth-highest total of all time.

She scored at least one goal in a national-record 70 consecutive games. She set goal-scoring records for the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior classes.

Oh, and one more bit of history: her 95 goals this past season meant that Austyn Cuneo became the first known scholastic player in a field-invasion sport such as field hockey, soccer, or lacrosse to lead the nation in goal-scoring for four consecutive years. Given the luminaries who have led the nation in scoring more than once (soccer’s Cat Whitehill and lacrosse’s Shannon Smith), this is extremely impressive.

But what is even more impressive is the way that the attention has not affected her. She’s quick with a smile, firm with a handshake, and always willing to help the team, even running the lines as a ball kid during a Saturday evening field hockey game held at McAleer last year.

Cuneo is a singular figure in the 106-year history of American scholastic field hockey. There may be other athletic, physical, relentless types going forward. But they’ll all be chasing her records now that she’s going to the University of North Carolina.

Cuneo also has a higher calling. Last offseason, she tied for the lead in goal-scoring in Pan American Youth Olympic qualification with 21, but Team USA fell short of qualifying for Nanjing. It will certainly not be the last time she’ll be wearing red, white, and blue, and she’ll have the motivation of that tournament behind her.

Austyn Cuneo rejoins the list of other national scoring champions from years past. Let us know if there are any additions or corrections that need to be made to the list below:

2014: Austyn Cuneo, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 95
2013: Austyn Cuneo, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 96
2012: Austyn Cuneo, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 68
2011: Austyn Cuneo, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 69
2010: Danielle Allan, Pompton Lakes (N.J.) 56
2009: Kelsey Mitchell, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 69
2008: Lucas Long, Allentown William Allen (Pa.) 43
2007: Lauren Gonsalves, Harwich (Mass.) 56
2006: Kaitlyn Hiltz, Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) 50
2005: Kelly Fitzpatrick, Palmyra (Pa.) 66
2004: Amie Survilla, Mountain Top Crestwood (Pa.) 64
2003: Anne Marie Janus, Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) 44
2002: Shauna Banta, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) and Amanda Arnold, West Long Branch Shore Regional (N.J.) 49
2001: Tiffany Marsh, Marathon (N.Y.) 57
2000: Rebecca Hooven, Plumsteadville Plumstead Christian (Pa.) 54
1999: Rebecca Hooven, Plumsteadville Plumstead Christian (Pa.) 48
1998: Kelli Hill, Manasquan (N.J.) 43
1997: Tiffany Serbanica, Madison (N.J.) Borough 43
1996: Carla Tagliente, Marathon (N.Y.) 51
1995: Kim Miller, Frank W. Cox (Va.) 63
1994: Michelle Vizzuso, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.) 69
1993: Melissa Pasnaci, Miller Place (N.Y.) 60
1992: Diane DeMiro, North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.) 56
1991: Denise Nasca, Centereach (N.Y.) 56
1990: Shelley Parsons, Waterfall Forbes Road (Pa.) 50
1989: Christine McGinley, Medford Lakes Shawnee (N.J.) 40
1988:
1987: Kris Fillat, San Diego Serra (Calif.) 53
1986: Dana Fuchs, Centereach (N.Y.) 57
1985: Hope Sanborn, Walpole (Mass.) and Sharon Landau, Mamaroneck Rye Neck (N.Y.) 53
1984: Michelle Vowell, Garden Grove Santiago (N.Y.) 56
1983: Tracey Fuchs, Centereach (N.Y.) 82
1982: Mare Chung, San Diego Serra (Calif.) 48

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