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Archive for December 24, 2019

Dec. 24, 2019 — Your national scoring champion

Ryleigh Heck would have settled for playing a supporting role for her older sister Kara, who was within shouting distance of a 200-goal career after a 42-goal junior campaign with Voorhees Eastern (N.J.).

That is, until Kara Heck went down with a knee injury in May during lacrosse season. That put her out of action for the entire 2019 field hockey season.

But there was always Ryleigh.

And, gadzooks, did she bring the noise for the 2019 season. Her 78 goals for the 2019 season are the highest ever scored by an American high-school sophomore, even more than Mackenzie Allessie’s 76-goal effort just three years ago.

“Wow,” the younger Heck sister said when told of the feat. “I had no idea.”

The story of Ryleigh Heck’s 2019 field hockey season was all about the absence of her older sister Kara, and about how the team rallied around her and the sophomore sniper-to-be.

“In the beginning, our team was in shock and we didn’t know what to do,” Ryleigh said of those fraught first days of the season. “Kara was the best player on our team, and perhaps the best player in the state.”

The first four games of the 2019 season, Ryleigh Heck was held off the scoreboard twice. But the Eastern coaching staff made an early-season adjustment, moving her from midfield to attack, and the dividends were immediate. She had braces in consecutive games against Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.) and Winnetka New Trier (Ill.) at the National High School Invitational, then just kept on scoring. In one five-day period, Ryleigh Heck posted 16 goals, including an astounding six against Downingtown (Pa.) West, a team just two years removed from playing in a state final.

“I think it was the switch from center-mid to center-forward got me going,” Heck said. “We worked well together, and that’s when we got to the peak of our high-school season.”

Heck’s season culminated in Eastern’s 21st state championship, although the Vikings fell to Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) in the Tournament of Champions final.

Ryleigh Heck is the latest player from Eastern to lead the country in goal-scoring, something which has happened seven times in the last 11 seasons. Let us know if there are any additions or corrections that need to be made to the list below. This especially goes for 1988. That missing number has been keeping us in a tizzy over the years.

2019: Ryleigh Heck, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 78
2018: Mackenzie Allessie, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) 124
2017: Mackenzie Allessie, Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) 91
2016: Megan Rodgers, San Diego Serra (Calif.) 81
2015: Nikki Santore, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 69
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: Unknown
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