The Lawrence High School field hockey team is hot at the right time.
With the NJSIAA playoffs looming at the end of October, the Cardinals have won six straight games and have outscored their opponents, 31-1.
Overall, they are 12-2 and in first place in the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 2 power points standings. The Cardinals would be the No. 1 seed in the Central Jersey, Group 2 state sectional tournament if the season ended today.
And with their recent dominance, they will undoubtedly be a prime contender to win the state sectional tournament in November.
“We could do well,” said Lawrence coach Megan Errico. “If we keep going, who knows?”
“I don’t like to say it though,” she added.
The Central Jersey, Group 2 sectionals will begin on Oct. 22. Lawrence will likely go into it as the top seed and best regular season team, and it will also likely have the tournament’s best player in sophomore forward Talia Schenck.
The sophomore has 45 goals and five assists this fall. She has scored three goals or more nine different times. She has scored six goals in three different games. Lawrence is a perfect 10-0 when Schenck scores multiple times.
The team goes as she goes.
“Talia scores a ridiculous amount of goals,” Errico said.
She does, but she’s also not Lawrence’s only source of offense. The Cardinals have scored 73 goals this fall, an average of more than five per contest.
Junior forward Haley Adamczak and senior midfielder Ola Kwasniwski have formed a nice complementary duo to Schenck. Adamczak has nine goals and an assist this fall. Kwasniwski has five goals and 13 assists.
Schenck scored a program record 39 goals in 2018, and the emergence of her teammates has helped her score even more in 2019, and break her own record.
“We didn’t graduate anyone, so I knew they’d come back together and play strong,” Errico said. “I just didn’t know how strong.”
Very strong, it turns out.
“They are really good,” Errico said.
So are Errico’s four defenders, Olivia Szela, Nicole Seeburger, Carly Brummel and Ashley Belgrave, and her goaltender, Madison Wingerter. The Cardinals have 10 shutouts in their 12 victories. In total, they have allowed just seven goals in 14 games.
Wingerter has made 76 saves this year, including double digit saves in both of Lawrence’s losses, when she kept the Cards in the game and gave them a chance to win. But the senior usually doesn’t need to make a ton of saves because all of her field players are so strong, so together.
“They are all in the right place at the right time,” Errico said. “They have really grown together.”
A lot of these key players aren’t even seniors, either. Schenck is still an underclassman, even. So the Cards should have a bright future, too.
But they are only focusing on the immediate future. Errico has talked all year about “little achievable goals and then go from there.”
Lawrence has already won the Colonial Valley Conference’s Valley Division. Next up is the postseason.
“We’re very aware that we’re still the underdog and that we need to do everything perfectly,” Errico said.