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Archive for January 10, 2019

Jan. 10, 2019 — The case for Lexi Smith

One in a series of posts laying out arguments for the greatest scholastic field hockey player of all time.

It was in October 2012 when a phone call came from the light-rail station located in the industrial park just across Route 130 from Florence (N.J.) Memorial.

“I’m here.”

The call came from Sharon Landau, who had made time to come to a field hockey game between Florence and Riverside, during which Lexi Smith was making history, scoring her 175th all-time goal, breaking Landau’s old record.

Smith, the daughter of five-time NCAA field hockey and lacrosse champion Gina Carey-Smith, was primed for greatness in the sport primarily through some of her exploits in the indoor game, dominating older age-group play as a middle-schooler. It showed her freshman season at Florence, when she set what was believed to have been a freshman scoring record, 44 goals (it’s a mark that has since been eclipsed by at least five other players).

Throughout her career, Smith showed herself to be a skilled, smart player with an outstanding shot, especially on penalty corners. Rare was the time she felt the need to score into the netting (except on penalty strokes); it was almost as thought she would rather rap the ball into the backboard to making that signature “ping.”

Of all of the players who have scored at least 150 goals, Smith’s the only one who did her work shackled by a mercy rule; the Burlington County Scholastic League did not allow teams to win games by more than seven goals. But that didn’t stop her from exceeding Landau’s mark.

After scoring 191 goals for Florence, Lexi Smith went on to The College of New Jersey, where she won a national championship in 2014, then and finished in the school’s Top 10 all-time in both goals and assists.