Samantha Mehalick, North Brunswick Township High School’s girls lacrosse sensation, led the Greater Middlesex Conference in goals scored per game and total points this past season.
For an encore presentation, the rising sophomore was selected to participate in the Brine National Lacrosse Classic, a showcase event that boasts the top scholastic players from throughout the country.
One of only three freshmen on the New Jersey team, Mehalick made the journey to Boyds, Md. in early July for the national tournament. She helped lead her squad to a 4-1 record, with the lone blemish coming in the championship against Long Island. Mehalick also scored a goal against Illinois.
“It was good to make it to the finals,” she said. “We were upset [losing to LI], but were still happy because we made it so far. We were really able to gel as a team.”
Mehalick saw the field a lot, playing over half of every contest. She graded her performance as “all right,” emphasizing her counterparts’ advanced skill sets in the process.
“It really opened my eyes and showed me that I’m going to have to work a lot harder,” she said. “The competition there was ridiculous. I think I learned that I’m not always going to be the best. There are girls that are better than me.”
Still, not many of those girls can say they went off for 69 goals and 20 assists in their first year, as Mehalick can. She found the net in every game for the Raiders, tallying at least a hat trick in all but one. That level of steadiness is unfathomable in lacrosse, particularly when her name often appeared in bold print on scouting reports.
“It shows she has a lot of consistency,” said John Coppola, head coach of South Brunswick High School and the reigning Home News Tribune girls lacrosse Coach of the Year. “Also, it speaks a lot about her ability. Usually as a younger player, you kind of blend in a little more and look towards the older people to make plays.”
Such is not the case for Mehalick, who according to North Brunswick head coach Ann Velario established herself as a leader early on.
“She’s very vocal, even as a freshman,” Velario said. “She didn’t care about saying something and trying to get the team pumped up.”
When the Raiders stumbled out of the gate, Mehalick understood that she had to take over. She did, and North Brunswick showed some life as a result.
“I thought we had a lot of potential,” said Mehalick. “We started out tough, and I went out there and felt I needed to take charge and become a leader on the team. We could’ve had a better record, but towards the end we were playing well.”
Near the tail end of the season, Mehalick, who also keeps busy by playing basketball and cheerleading, began to focus her attention on the Brine National Lacrosse Classic. She attended a regional tryout, and a couple days later received the news that she had made the squad.
Mehalick utilized the same approach in the tryout as she does every time she steps on the field.
“I went out every single game and played like it was my last,” she said. “I knew what I had to do.”
After baffling GMC goalies and scoring a goal amongst the best of the best at the Brine Classic, what does Mehalick have in store for her sophomore campaign?
Opposing coaches may soon be losing sleep in search of the answer to that question.
“She’ll definitely be tough,” Coppola said. “Any player with that type of ability is going to draw some attention, and we’ll have to do some different things defensively when we play North Brunswick.”