TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

May 8, 2022 — Parallels on the banks of the Raritan

Last fall, the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division I field hockey tournament was a team that came out of nowhere. That team was Rutgers, a team which had played in only two NCAA Tournaments before head coach Meredith Civico came to the program. Under Civico, the Knights parlayed their Big Ten success into a deep postseason run in 2021, winding up a shootout goal away from a Final Four.

Friday night, the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team had a performance befitting its sisters on the field hockey side. The Scarlet Knights, who had played exactly one NCAA Tournament game before head coach Melissa Lehman came to the team, has seemingly earned at least an at-large berth in the 2022 tournament with a 13-5 Big Ten semifinal win over third-ranked Northwestern.

So, what have Civico and Lehman found in their coaching journeys in New Brunswick?

Both coaches have recruited exceptionally well, especially in the state of New Jersey, where lacrosse and field hockey have been strong at the youth level. Civico’s field hockey program has players from powerful teams like Medford Lakes Shawnee (N.J.), Voorhees Eastern (N.J.), and West Long Branch Shore Regional (N.J.), all of which are amongst the very best in terms of winning state champions.

The same can be said for the lacrosse team, which has the likes of Moorestown (N.J.), Tabernacle Seneca (N.J.), Mountain Lakes (N.J.), Ridgewood (N.J.), and Haddonfield (N.J.) Memorial.

At the same time, however, both coaches have also recruited strategically from other places. Civico’s field hockey team boasts players from New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Argentina, Holland, and Germany. Lehman’s laxers feature players from the Philadelphia Main Line, Australia, Florida, and four players from Long Island.

And both coaches have taken their diverse rosters and made it work beautifully.

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