All season, the Collingswood High School field hockey team has racked up goals at an eye-popping rate. The Panthers have scored five goals or more in 14 of their 20 victories and seven or more in 11 contests.
There have been plenty of goals to go around, but no one has been better at sending a shot to the back of the cage than Krista LaMaina.
The Panthers’ forward is not only tops on her team in goals, but also tops in the program's history, with 43 tallies this season.
Considering the program just celebrated its 100th season, that’s quite an accomplishment.
“It’s really exciting knowing I broke the record, but I couldn’t really have done it without the rest of the team,” LaMaina said after scoring a pair of goals in Collingswood’s 8-0 playoff win over Barnegat.
“They are the ones that pass and make it all happen.”
There are not statistics for all 100 seasons, but LaMaina’s total is the highest single-season output the coaching staff could find. It is also unlikely that players from teams that played decades ago would have achieved a higher number, as the season length was significantly shorter then.
Collingswood head coach Valerie Dayton said, as far as the coaching staff can tell, the previous record was 40 goals, set by Laura Baranski in 2000.
“That was a state championship year and Laura was actually the leading scorer in the state that season,” said Dayton.
LaMaina broke the record with two goals in the Panthers' final regular-season contest against St. Joe's of Hammonton.
Dayton, who has been impressed with LaMaina’s play all season, said the senior excels by simply doing what a player in her position is tasked to do.
“She’s a center forward; her job is to put the ball in the cage and she likes to do it,” Dayton said. “She does it well and [Monday] she had not just two goals, but two assists. She’s a good player and she gets the job done.
"I think she’d be the first to tell you she has a lot of other people behind her that are getting the ball to her in the circle," Dayton said. "Their hard work is paying off and she is putting it in for us.”
LaMaina and her teammates are hoping to cap this special season with a state championship. The Panthers already won a Colonial Conference title and are the heavy favorites to win the South Jersey Group 2 championship. West Deptford is the No. 2 seed in the group and Collingwood owns a pair of victories against the Eagles by a combined score of 8-1.
The Panthers are being careful not to get too far ahead of themselves, but they know what they are capable of if their players perform at the same level they have throughout the season.
“I think we can do it; we can go all the way if we try,” LaMaina said. “We work really well as a team, so hopefully we get there.”