Knights bring strong bond from high school competition
In the state of New Jersey, Rutgers stands as the flagship public University in terms of academics and athletics.
At the high school level, there are many schools that compete for recognition as the top athletic program in the state.
Some are powerhouses in football or basketball, but when it comes to girl’s lacrosse, there is no school in New Jersey that can match the résumé put together by Moorestown High School. Winners of 20 state championships in girl’s lacrosse — with 13 won since 2,000 — the Quakers have set the standard all other high school lacrosse programs look to emulate.
Moorestown has also produced some of the best players in the state.
Last year’s team alone saw seven players commit to Division I lacrosse programs, with nine commits in total. A number of them have made their way to Rutgers in recent years.
Currently, the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team has six players from Moorestown, including redshirt freshman goalkeeper Amanda Currell, freshman attacker Margaret Nissen, sophomore attacker Nikki McMonagle, senior attackers Kelsey Miller and Katrina Martinelli and senior defender Claire MacDougall.
The three seniors, who won three state championships at the varsity level for Moorestown, were named to the All-South Jersey team during their high school career, with Martinelli earning All-American status her junior and senior years. The trio was part of the Scarlet Knights’ 2010 recruiting class.
For those three, going from high school to college together gave them an advantage that many other recruits did not have.
“It was nice to know that we were going to have automatic connections with our teammates,” Martinelli said. “We grew up together, played soccer and lacrosse together all at Moorestown, so it was nice having that connection and having a strong bond coming into Rutgers.”
All three have seen action on the field this year for Rutgers.
Martinelli has played in 12 games while starting six this year, recording seven goals and four assists. MacDougall has started all 16 games on the veteran-led defensive line, picking up 15 ground balls while also controlling five draws. Miller has played in five games on attack, but has not recorded any points this season.
They have provided valuable leadership for Rutgers, and they have become even closer now after four years of collegiate experience.
“We really do have a bond because we have that past history together,” Miller said. “We have played with each other since we were little, so we know the tendencies of one another. We are good friends on and off the field, so I think going through these four years together has definitely given us a special connection.”
For all six Knights that come from the small town in South Jersey, the bond they share is unique to them.
“We are definitely more comfortable with each other,” Martinelli said. “If I’m having a bad day or bad practice, I know I can look to my teammates but especially to the people I’ve grown up with. It’s definitely a more comfortable feeling.”
For updates on the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.