Golden Eagle eye for the goal

Entering the month of May, Seneca’s Cassidy Spilis was one of just eight players in New Jersey with at least 70 goals this season. The Rutgers-bound senior is well on her way to matching last year’s total of 100.

How do you top scoring 100 goals as a junior? You reach 70 goals before May as a senior, as South Jersey’s leading scorer Cassidy Spilis of Seneca has done in 2019. (RYAN LAWRENCE, South Jersey Sports Weekly)

In a back-and-forth battle of two of South Jersey high school lacrosse’s most talented teams, the Seneca High School senior was in the middle of nearly every pivotal play.

Cassidy Spilis scored eight times against Haddonfield, one of the state’s top teams, continuing a run that saw her score a remarkable 25 goals in a three-game stretch. When she wasn’t celebrating a goal with teammates, Spilis was on the turf after a physical play in an attempt to break through the opponent’s defense or thwart their attack.

“She’s just a presence on the field,” Seneca coach Jackie Scuderi said. “She gets herself into the right spots and into the right situations. … And in playing a team like (Haddonfield), you want your top players to step up and be a presence on the field like she was today.”

After going unbeaten in its first four weeks of the 2019 season, Seneca lost to Haddonfield, 17-11, despite jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the game’s opening minutes. But the Golden Eagles proved their mettle and should be a team to watch once the playoffs get underway this month.

Seneca has one of the state’s most lethal scorers in Spilis. Entering play on May 1, Spilis is one of eight players in the state (and the only in South Jersey) with at least 70 goals and appears to be well on her way to eclipsing her 100-goal total as a junior in 2018.

Seneca coach Jackie Scuderi on Spilis: “She’s just a presence on the field. She gets herself into the right spots and into the right situations. … And in playing a team like (Haddonfield), you want your top players to step up and be a presence on the field like she was today.” (RYAN LAWRENCE, South Jersey Sports Weekly)

South Jersey Sports Weekly: How proud are you of the first month Seneca put together?

Cassidy Spilis: Very, very proud of our team. I always say when you lose some good players you don’t know how it’s going to be, but every year I feel like once we have our practices and work together and begin building toward the season, I think we gel together and overcome what we’ve lost. I think it’s showing in all of the games we’ve won. … I can see us getting better each day. So I’m really excited to see what we can do.

SJSW: How long have you been playing lacrosse?

Spilis: Since kindergarten … eight or nine years. My mom (Cherie) is a big lacrosse player, she played at Millerville. She coached me all the way up to eighth grade. And my dad (Steve) is a big soccer guy (he played at Drexel), I didn’t pick up his sport until high school so he’s a little upset about that. [Laughs]. But, no, my mom taught me all the basics, everything I needed to know. She’s awesome.

SJSW: Do you have siblings who play?

Spilis: My sister, Alexa, she played but she got in a bad accident, jumped out of a tree her freshman year and she never got to play lacrosse in high school. She’s having her fifth surgery (this month). … She’s two years older (than me).

SJSW: So you’re playing for her in a way?

Spilis: Yeah, I think about that a lot. When I was starting high school, I was doing it for her, playing for her, too.

Seneca, which went unbeaten in the season’s first month, score three unanswered goals to begin last week’s game against Haddonfield, an eventual loss. (RYAN LAWRENCE, South Jersey Sports Weekly)

SJSW: Who is your favorite team to play against in South Jersey?

Spilis: I like this team (Haddonfield) because I played with a lot of these girls on my club team. I also like Moorestown because I play with a lot of them, too. I like the more challenging teams, because we rise to the occasion. It’s fun to get challenged.

SJSW: If you could steal any one player from any other team to put on your team who would it be?

Spilis: There are so many, all of the girls I play with (outside of high school). Kayla Frank from Moorestown. She’s so good and I love her aggressive style of play. She’s so good. And then I’m actually going with Ashley (Campo from Haddonfield) and Janie Galski from Moorestown to Rutgers, so I would take them, too.

SJSW: Who is your funniest teammate?

Spilis: Easily, Emily Ingram. She’s just so funny, there’s not a day that goes by that I’m not dying laughing with her.

SJSW: How about smartest teammate?

Spilis: Lindy Webb. The Webbs, her younger sister Devon, too, they’re just so smart. But Lindy is a senior so I think she just has more experience in school. She’s just so smart.

SJSW: Which of your teammates would you feel safest getting into a car with (who is the most reliable)?

Spilis: All of them. My whole entire team. That’s what makes us great, I think. I can’t pick one, I trust all of them. I think that’s a big part, our chemistry.

Seneca’s Cassidy Spilis, who will play next year at Rutgers, entered the first weekend of May with 308 goals in her high school career. (RYAN LAWRENCE, South Jersey Sports Weekly)

SJSW: What led to Rutgers?

Spilis: It’s actually been my dream school since seventh grade, so I’m super lucky. I don’t know why, but ever since I thought about playing lacrosse in college it was always Rutgers. They were even one of the last ones that contacted me in the recruiting process, but I was so happy. I didn’t want to go anywhere else more.  

SJSW: Do you know what you want to study?

Spilis: I don’t know exactly, but I think I want to stay around sports, so I think physical therapy or athletic training, something around that.

SJSW: Favorite school subject?

Spilis: I think I like the math and sciences better than English or history.

SJSW: Favorite teacher?

Spilis: I had one teacher, Computer Apps was the class, Matt Abate. He was my (soccer) coach and one of my teachers. So that duo, I really liked him. And my physics teacher, even though I wasn’t great at physics, Matt Bush, he can do any math in his head and that’s amazing. And you can tell he cares so much.

SJSW: Do you have a favorite movie or TV show, something you’re bingeing right now?

Spilis: I’m always binging something on Netflix. I just finished watching the new episodes of “New Girl.” So shows like that, “New Girl, “Friends,” (and) “How I Met Your Mother.”

SJSW: If you’re at the state championship game and each player comes out to their own song when names are announced, what would be your walk-up song?

Spilis: Oh gosh. I really, really like “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez. I was thinking about this, because we don’t have songs we come out to, but I was thinking about it because Rutgers has songs when they score. And it’s just such a hype song.