LIVINGSTON, NJ — When Emily Gaffney scored the 100th goal of her career in Livingston's 13-8 girls lacrosse victory over Mount St. Dominic (MSD) last Monday, it was the highlight of a very newsworthy week for the Lancers.
The next day, Livingston beat previously undefeated Millburn, 20-15, for the annual Border Cup trophy, and Gaffney scored another six goals in that game. Her teammate, Kelly O'Connor, also contributed seven goals and four assists in the win.
Gaffney, who has already matched the totals of 34 goals and 17 assists from a year ago, now has 106 career goals and is the subject of this week's Livingston Athletics Spotlight for TAPinto Livingston.
"Emily has been a four-year starter for me and a tri-captain this year," said Livingston head coach Jodi Mensch. "I can't say enough about her commitment to the sport, her respect for her coaches and teammates, her leadership ability, and her on field performance.
"Emily has always given 100 percent on the field. She is a very patient player not looking for any recognition. She just goes out there and plays a game she loves and does it well without complaint."
In addition to her leadership qualities, the senior has upped her game this year as well.
"As a varsity player for the past four years, I realized my game has definitely changed each year," said Gaffney. "This year, I spent a lot of time training throughout the winter, which has made me stronger and has improved my game. Being prepared mentally, before the season started, also helped me become a more focused player.
Gaffney, who will attend Muhlenberg College to play lacrosse and study business in the fall, said her most memorable game so far was against MSD, when she scored her 100th career goal.
"Everyone on attack did everything they could do to get me the ball so I could score," she said. "I couldn't have done it without them."
Part of Gaffney's ability to lead by example is evident in her demeanor on the field, according to her coach.
"Emily performs with composure, confidence and when Kelly O'Connor and her are teamed together it is like watching a well-oiled machine," said Mensch. "They know each other's strengths and weaknesses and use that in competition on a game-to-game basis. She is extremely unselfish and has never been concerned about personal stats. With Emily, it is all about the team. I was very happy she was able to reach the 100-goal milestone."
Throughout her four years at Livingston High School, Gaffney said that Mensch as given her many words of advice." One overlying theme, she said, is "to be a team player and to never give up."
"She's has also taught me that being respectful on and off the field is a great virtue," said Gaffney.
The senior also said her role model is her cousin, Katie Rowan, a three-time, First Team All-American lacrosse player at Syracuse who won two Gold Medals for the U.S. National Team. Gaffney also admires Syracuse University lacrosse player Nicole Levy.
A well-rounded student-athlete, Gaffney takes pride in her school, interest in her classes and takes the time to volunteer in the community.
"I'm a Teacher’s Assistant for my Business Teacher, Mrs. Wohltmann," said Gaffney. "She totally goes out of her way to learn about each of her students and to help them be successful in school. She even came to see me score my 100th goal."
Gaffney also enjoys working with children as a volunteer at numerous clubs, such as the Shining Stars program in Livingston, where she works with special needs students and coaches them in various sports.
"In the summertime, I work at the town camp, having a bunch of fun, putting together different activities for the children," she said. "Throughout the year, I help market Livingston Television, making press releases on new episodes that are airing soon.
"I also spend a lot of time hanging out with my friends, my team and my family. It’s so important to be focused at school and playing lacrosse, but I feel it’s equally important to have fun and enjoy life."
Gaffney said she also loves attending Livingston High School because it's "not only an excellent education, but there are so many extracurricular activities and clubs to be a part of."
"I’ve made so many amazing friendships and memories at LHS, that I will truly cherish," she said.