Following the graduation of senior Hailey Russo at the end of last school year, Clearview girls lacrosse head coach Megan Conklin emphasized getting more players involved on both ends of the field this year.
As one of the top players in the state, Russo scored a staggering 109 goals last season for the Pioneers, nearly 37 percent of their total last year. Following her departure, Conklin looked forward to seeing as many players as possible step into larger roles.
“We felt like our biggest strengths coming into the season were going to be us being unified as a team and having everyone really contribute,” Conklin said. “It’s important for every player to know that they are contributing and that we need them too as well.”
By design, Clearview has seen a more well-balanced stat sheet in terms of goals and assists so far this season. While stats don’t tell the whole story, the long-time Pioneers head coach said it has reflected a season in which various players have accepted and thrived with new responsibilities.
Senior Ashely Noto stepped up as the leading scorer, with a team-high 73 goals during the regular season. She contributed three more in the team’s first-round NJSIAA South Jersey Group 3 tournament victory over Northern Burlington.
Noto was the team’s fourth-highest scorer last season, behind two seniors and then-sophomore Ryan Remaly. In preparing for this year, she felt confident enough in her own game to perform when the time came, though she had to be mentally ready to take on the larger offensive role.
“It was a lot of mental preparation for me I felt like before this season started, just knowing that we had a spot that had to be filled and I couldn’t be as much of an observer as I was last year,” Noto said.
The senior looked forward to her 100th career goal at some point during this season, a feat she accomplished near the end of April in Clearview’s 16-0 victory over Timber Creek. But more important, Noto said, has been the team’s aforementioned well-balanced attack.
“I didn’t anticipate myself being the leading scorer for us this season,” she added. “I am shocked at how well balanced it’s kind of been for us throughout the season. Everyone’s done a great job in terms of contributing. It surprised me in such a good way.”
Now a junior with Clearview, Remaly has also grown in her role this year. Russo took the bulk of the team’s draws last season, a job that is now mainly split between Remaly, senior Mary Moraca and junior Mia Martorano. Remaly has had the lion’s share of the draws, while remaining the team’s second-leading scorer for the second consecutive year.
Regardless of who was graduating in 2021, Remaly was confident she and her teammates would continue a winning tradition at Clearview this year.
“We knew we had big shoes to fill with the seniors that graduated last season, but we were able to come into this season and get everyone a role on the team and working well together pretty early,” she said.
The bond Remaly and her teammates have developed this season – something most coaches hope will happen – has transcended their sport, meaning the Pioneers play for each other perhaps more than ever.
“It’s not just about lacrosse, it’s about building bonds and friendships and a sisterhood on the field,” Remaly said. “We have plenty of time to find ourselves and work together on the lacrosse field, but we’ve made sure to find time to do that off it as well.”
The Pioneers’ recent first-round victory over Northern Burlington also included a bit of history: In the waning minutes of the game, sophomore Avery Roberts broke the program’s record for assists in a single game, with seven, after she assisted four goals to four teammates in the first half.