By Jimmy Allinder
Maxwell Bischoff has literally driven himself to becoming one of the top lacrosse players in the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC).
When the time came for the Bethlehem Township resident to decide where he would go to high school and play lacrosse, he chose Saint Joseph High School of Metuchen, even though the commute would be 40 miles each way.
He did so for two reasons: St. Joe’s offers a quality education, and its varsity athletic program is among the best in the state.
Bischoff has been rewarded for making that difficult decision. He has indeed been challenged academically, but he has achieved a 4.4 grade-point average and has been admitted to six major colleges — plus he is expecting to hear from four more shortly. Bischoff has also excelled on the lacrosse field and is one of the top players for the Falcons — always among the best in the GMC.
His statistics each year testify how valuable a player Bischoff has become. Playing attack as a freshman, he earned enough minutes to make an impact by registering 25 points, including 16 goals, nine assists and six ground balls.
As a sophomore, Bischoff became a regular starter and more than doubled his scoring output (56 points) by netting 34 goals with 22 assists and nine ground balls. The progress continued last year when he notched 73 points with 32 goals, 41 assists and 27 ground balls. Midway through the campaign, Bischoff topped the 100-point plateau for his career during a contest against South Brunswick High School.
Now a senior, his next goal is to eclipse the 200-point level, which would enable him to join a select group of all-time Falcons scorers.
Bischoff plans to continue his lax (no pun intended, he said) career in college but will play on the less-demanding club level.
His first experience playing the sport was in the sixth grade by joining Building Blocks Lacrosse (BBL) in Morris County, which was another long drive from his Hunterdon County home.
“I played [there] up until last summer, and it helped me become better on and off the field,” Bischoff said. “I was able to interact with some of the best players and coaches in New Jersey, some of whom were as good as or better than me. The competition helped me become a better player because I was always being challenged.”
Perhaps the most valuable lesson Bischoff received was realizing his potential not only at lacrosse, but also as a leader.
“That might not have happened if I wasn’t constantly challenged by my BBL coach, including Pete Fusari (director of the boys program),” he said. “He was the one who kick-started my development.”
Asked how he maintains his GPA (which translates into an A average), play lacrosse and handle the daily drive from home to school (he drives himself), Bischoff said he can only do it by closely planning his time.
“When I get home from school, I need to devote all my energy to getting my schoolwork done,” he said. “It’s a constant grind, but I’m hopeful it will pay off in the end.”
It already has, as Bischoff is deciding to attend either Indiana University — one of his acceptance schools — or Boston College, which he expects to hear from soon, and he plans to major in finance.
Bischoff’s parents, Bob and Vicky, are the most important people in his life because of their unconditional support throughout his life, especially when he made the difficult decision to attend St. Joe’s. Besides Fusari, former and current St. Joe’s coaches, respectively, Mark Moreau and Andrew Pinto, have also made a lasting imprint.
“Coach Moreau was always pushing me to be the best I could be, and coach Pinto has taught me how to becoming a better leader by taking responsibility for my actions and being an example of hard work,” Bischoff said. “I’m at a place in my life where I can look forward to a great future.”
Bischoff has driven a long way to get there.