Samantha Mehalick was a powerhouse for Marist women’s lacrosse, and a name that will be talked about for the foreseeable future with the program. Well versed in all aspects of lacrosse, she led the team on and off the field as a captain, a teammate, and a friend.
As her senior campaign began earlier this spring, it looked promising. She was on pace for another spectacular season to round out her career at Marist. Before the season started, there was chatter; people were throwing around the idea that Mehalick is one of the best women’s lacrosse players to ever step foot on the Tenney turf. If not the best player, then surely the best goalscorer.
Let’s find out if they’re right.
Mehalick has played in 60 games, starting in all of them, and in her first appearance as a freshman, she scored four goals. She’d end up leading the entire team with 41 goals that season. Talk about a great debut and a freshman year tear.
If people didn’t know her name four years ago with that splash, they definitely do now.
Mehalick is no stranger to goal scoring; not even before her time at Marist. During her senior year of high school, Mehalick was named as the Greater Middlesex County Offensive Player of the Year, and scored 125 goals that same season. Prior to her turn as a Red Fox, she hit the net a total of 425 times during her high school career, proving that putting up points has always been a part of her game.
Her consistency and dedication when it comes to finding the twine has manifested itself in quite the honor: Mehalick is the only player in Marist’s history to score 200 career goals. She sits on the top of the record book on that front. In total, she has 204. The next closest is 2008 graduate Lindsey Diener, who scored 162.
“I guess they had announced it after I had scored that it was my 200th goal,” Mehalick said of the moment she realized she’d hit the milestone. Well, she sort of realized it. “I didn’t even hear it because I was so focused on setting up for the next draw. I heard everyone cheering and I was like why is everyone cheering my name? I had no idea about it at the time. My mom asked if I heard them announce it, and [I said] no… she was like ‘I knew you didn’t!’” she recalled with a laugh.
That 200th goal, by the way, was no fluke of a shot. Mehalick fired one after catching a pass from Kelly George while cutting across the eight-meter mark. Instead of planting her feet and turning towards the net with her body to look at the goal, she elected to sling the shot behind her back, ringing in the record-shattering shot with a complicated technique. Naturally, she made it look easy.
On top of the rest of her accomplishments, Mehalick holds the record for most goals in a single game, which she nabbed after scoring 11 goals against Manhattan in the MAAC Quarterfinals last year. Mehalick said that the back and forth 15-14 win is the most memorable game that she has ever played in as a Red Fox, and “not just because I scored 11 goals.
“The energy that was on the field, and the fact that we were down by like six or eight goals at one point, and then coming back and having strides of like, three goals in one minute… It was awesome,” she said. “I will remember it forever. It was one of the craziest games I’ve ever played in. Those are the games that you play for, and winning a game like that is something that can never be taken away from you.”
And then there’s the last of the scoring records, lest we not forget: her 79 goals in 2019 hold the Marist and MAAC record for most goals scored in a season.
Lacrosse though, is an all-around sport. It’s not just about the goals. Sure, it’s nice to have a player with scoring abilities like Mehalick’s, someone you can just feed the ball to and have it miraculously find its way into the back of the net. In addition to all the goals and accolades on that front, Mehalick had 27 career draw controls and 18 forced turnovers.
And sometimes, it’s not even about being on the field. Not this season at least. The program, like all others, had their season cut short due to concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak. Mehalick has a different outlook on what was undoubtedly a despairing time. She called it “a really special moment.
“After we were told our season was ended, we all left the locker room and it was really weird,” she said. “No one really knew how to take it. The next morning we all came together and sat in the locker room for probably two hours and just talked about all of the times that we had together, spent together, and going through all the memories.”
After all this, it feels rather obvious that Mehalick is, in fact, the best scorer the Marist women’s lacrosse program has ever seen. It’s difficult to put into words exactly how talented she is at reading the opposition’s goalie and knowing exactly where she is going to place the ball. Whether it is on a free-position shot or she has three defenders on her, she will find the back of the net. If she’s in front of the cage or off to the sides, no matter what the angle, she will give off a rocket of a shot. Not everyone has this goalscoring sense, and that is part of the laundry list of reasons why Mehalick is invaluable to Marist lacrosse.
She’s so invaluable — both on and off the court — that you have to wonder whether or not you’ve seen the last of her. The NCAA granted college seniors who are spring athletes an extra year of eligibility due to the coronavirus crisis. Mehalick’s mind isn’t made up. That’s not necessarily a “no.”
“I haven’t made my decision yet, but it is definitely not completely out of the picture,” she said.
Regardless of what decision gets made, over the past few years, the fans, the teammates, and MAAC rivals that have set foot on the Tenney ground have heard an announcer passionately shout “SAMANTHA MEHALICK” over 200 times, a number that’s hard to grasp.
But she has records to spare. Like a true captain, she hopes to “influence the underclassmen to work hard and pass me and set records for themselves someday.”