A funny thing happened during the Florence (N.J.) High field hockey team's game against Cinnaminson (N.J.) High: Florence star Lexi Smith scored a fourth goal in the game, then instantly reversed course: She refused to score.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the reason behind Smith's willful offensive restraint was actually a family-minded one: The Florence junior is on the verge of setting a single-season scoring record at the New Jersey program, and the person whose mark she'll overtake is her aunt, Dianne Carey-Stranko, who scored 46 goals to set the record in 1992 and now serves as an assistant coach at the school.
"This is something so special that I will never do it again and I wanted her to be prepared for it," Lexi Smith told the Inquirer of her aunt. "The only record I was really looking at was my aunt's."
Incredibly, Smith will be the third consecutive member of her family to hold the school's single-season scoring record. Before her aunt, Smith's mother, Gina Smith, held the school record. Fittingly, Gina Smith is now the Florence head coach.
Carey-Stranko is ready for the younger Smith to break the record now, and told the Inquirer that she would present her niece with flowers when she scores her 47th goal of the season.
Still, Smith's restraint in the eventual 6-0 victory against Cinnaminson could actually damper her chance of setting another major record. With 46 goals, Smith is 23 goals behind the New Jersey single-season scoring record, which is jointly held by former Vorhees (N.J.) Eastern star Kelsey Mitchell and West Essex (N.J.) dynamo Michelle Vizzuso.
Smith has five regular-season games and as many postseason contests as Florence plays in to make up that 23-goal deficit. While that might seem an almost unsurmountable amount of goals, it wouldn't be a stretch to suggest that Smith could score 12 goals before the end of the regular season, leaving her with just 11 to score in the entirety of the playoffs.
That's hardly out of the question for a junior who entered the season with 87 goals in her first two seasons on the high school turf, proving that she has field hockey talent in her blood. Mitchell's 171 career goals at Eastern are also a potential landmark for Smith to hit, though that record wouldn't come until 2012.
"If I get close to it , I'd love to do it because Kelsey Mitchell was such a great player.
"I was a freshman when she set that [career record], and that 171 is definitely a number that I am looking at."
For now, she, her aunt and her mother are all focused on number 47, which they hope will lead to another Florence victory. This time, Carey-Stranko is making sure that she has flowers at the ready, too.
"There is nobody else I'd rather hand it down to," Carey-Stranko told the Inquirer. "Lexi is an all-around great person."
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