CEDAR GROVE, NJ - This lost sports season would have been the fourth year of Cedar Grove High School’s young girls lacrosse program and the team’s three seniors missed out on what should have been their best season yet.
All three senior captains have been pivotal to the success of the girls lacrosse program at CGHS and all have been varsity starters for the duration of their high school career. They took the program from a 3-17 record their freshmen year to a 17-3 record last year and a conference championship.. They certainly felt they had more to prove, but coronavirus had other ideas. After making their mark on a previously non-existent program the seniors of the Cedar Grove Girls Lacrosse Team and their coach reflect upon an anti-climactic finish of their Panther careers.
“Our three seniors this year mean so much to this team. The impact that each of them has made has allowed our program to grow from a startup to a very competitive program that has seen many successes over the past few seasons,” said Head Coach Sean Sweeney.
This season three leaders and pioneers of the girls lacrosse program were set for their final run in the spotlight before college. Tracy Moreno, Taylor St. Laurent and Emily Lynch each had pivotal roles in what was a phenomenal 17-4 record last season, winning the NJIGLL Colonial South Championship.
Taylor St. Laurent
On attack, St. Laurent led the squad in 2019 with 66 goals and 13 assists, she also reached the 100 point and 100 goal milestone during her junior year campaign. St. Laurent is a workhorse for the team who always gives 100 percent.
“Taylor has been a crucial piece to our program’s success and growth the past few years. She is no doubt the most competitive athlete that I have ever coached. This is evident through her play during games and during practice,” said Sweeney.
For St. Laurent the hard-working nature and attitude boils down to one game against Newark Academy where the group was a major underdog. Thanks in major part due to three goals from St. Laurent the Panthers hung on for a 10-9 victory last season.
“My favorite memory would be beating Newark Academy because they thought it would be an easy win and we proved them wrong and left them in disbelief. I will miss being a part of the family we all built and belonging to such an amazing team who could accomplish anything together,” said St. Laurent.
St. Laurent will continue her academic and lacrosse career at Stockton University
At midfield, Moreno was at the top of the stat board for her entire high school career. On attack her freshman and sophomore years, she transitioned to midfield in her junior year because that is where the team needed her most. She finished her high school career with 199 career points, 149 goals, and 50 assists. Her efforts earned her All-Conference Honors in addition to being the first ever female lacrosse player to reach 100 points and 100 goals in school history, reaching the 100-point milestone in her sophomore year and clinching 100 goals early in her junior season..
A two-year captain for the program, Moreno led by example to take the program to great heights.
“[Moreno]’s enthusiasm, dedication, and leadership are some of her best qualities, these characteristics along with her top notch skills on the field has allowed her to earn the trust and respect of all of her teammates…under her leadership as a two-year captain our program has accomplished many of our lacrosse program goals and won a bunch of very exciting games,” said Sweeney.
Moreno had her fair share of key plays during the aforementioned ‘exciting’ games including a phenomenal effort against Caldwell last season. Moreno collected three goals and two assists in a 8-7 come from behind win over the Chiefs a moment she deems is her proudest accomplishment.
“Caldwell had made us their Senior Night probably because they thought they could win. It felt good to come from behind and stick it to them,” Moreno said. “Overall, I’ll miss celebrating wins and goals with my teammates the most.''
Moreno will continue her academic and lacrosse career at Utica College.
Rounding out the group of seniors is Lynch on defense. Small but mighty, Lynch was a staple for the team’s defense over the last few years finding a way to pick up key ground balls and transition the offense and diffusing many players twice her size. Lynch tied a school record with turnovers forced in a single game.
A true team-player, Lynch was a mentor to many of the younger players and was recently awarded the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center SEC Best Teammate Award.
“[Lynch] is selfless and has always put the weight of the defense on her shoulders to allow her teammates around her to grow in the timing that they needed. She would do whatever she had to so that she would not let down her teammates,” Sweeney said.
Lynch, much like Moreno reflects back positively on the victory over Caldwell last season. She will also treasure most the camaraderie developed by her and the rest of the squad.
“I will miss all of my teammates and the jokes we made over the seasons,” said Lynch.
Lynch will continue her academic career at Montclair State University.
These seniors will undoubtedly succeed in their future ventures, but for now they can look back on their high school sports playing days knowing they left the program in better shape than when they first began.
TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.