Gateway’s Farren records 100th career goal

Before Courtney Farren played her first game for the Gateway Regional High School field hockey team, she set a goal to become the first player in program history to score 100 goals.

Four years later, the senior reached the milestone.

Farren tallied her 100th career goal on Monday during an 8-0 victory over Lindenwold.

“Ever since my freshman year, I thought I could do it,” Farren said during a phone interview. “It is just an unexplainable feeling to score 100 goals. I was so happy.”

Farren, who went into the game with 96 goals, put the Gators up 2-0 at halftime with a pair of goals, and then added a third early into the third quarter. A few minutes later, she hammered home a cross into the back of the cage for the historic goal.

All Farren remembers is her teammates in the circle hugging her and then watching the players on the bench rush the field to mob her.

“We were just so excited for her,” Gators coach Amy Ambrosius said. “I know how hard she had worked to achieve her goal. It is a testament to her determination, hard work, and commitment to the sport and the program. We are so proud of her.”

As a freshman, Farren scored eight goals in her first five games and finished with a team-high 18 goals. The following year she led the Gators again with 21 goals. Her breakout year occurred last fall, when she erupted for 39 goals.

The key factor from her sophomore year to her junior year was Farren could play forward and be surrounded by more developed players. In her first two years, she played defense, midfield, and forward and served as a ball carrier, ball distributor, and finisher.

“She has great touches in the circle,” Ambrosius said. “She is fearless and aggressive in the circle and just wants to score.

“It’s also been nice the past two years to put good pieces around her. We have players who can get her the ball and create offense instead of her having to do most of the work.”

Farren entered the year 22 goals shy of 100. Under normal circumstances and coming off a 39-goal campaign, it would be fairly easy for her to hit the mark. However, this is obviously not a normal season.

Due to the coronavirus, there was fear the governor and NJSIAA would cancel the entire fall season. Even when the season got the green light, the Gators had a truncated schedule. It was cut even shorter when sports were suspended at the school for two weeks due to positive cases.

All of a sudden, 22 goals didn’t look so easy to reach.

“I was definitely concerned I wouldn’t get it,” Farren said. “At the same time, I cared more about just getting to have one last run with my teammates. Getting my 100th goal was important, but I wanted to play my last season with my team.”

So far, it’s been a memorable year for Gateway. The Gators are 7-0 with four regular-season games remaining entering Wednesday’s game against Paulsboro. They are hoping to go undefeated and can clinch the Colonial Conference Patriot Division with wins in two of their next three games. They also have an opportunity to make waves in the Group I South Jersey playoffs.

“After the two-week break we had due to the coronavirus, we came back with an attitude of we had nothing to lose this season,” Farren said. “We wanted to go out and play every game like it was our last one. We really do leave it all on the field when we play.

“We really aren’t sure what the playoffs will look like, but we are going to try to accomplish something big.”

OTHERS CHASING 100: Farren isn’t the only area player who has a shot to score their 100th goal. Here is a snapshot of other players in the mix.

Senior Casey Etter leads Millville with 13 goals and has 83 for her career. The Bolts have just three regular-season games, plus any postseason contests, remaining this year.

Senior Abby Hartwell has 18 goals and 91 for her career for Delsea. The Crusaders have three regular-season games left, plus a couple of playoffs games.

Kingsway’s Tori Griffiths has 13 goals and 75 for her career. The junior has four regular-season games left and possibly up to four or five postseason games. She will probably fall short but will start next year in the 90s.

NO. 5 DRAGONS ACE STIFF STRETCH: Kingsway faced its toughest patch of the season over the last two weeks and emerged unscathed. The Dragons went 4-0 and outscored Delsea (7-2-1), then No. 17 Bishop Eustace, No. 19 Clearview, and No. 18 Williamstown, by a 15-3 margin.

Their closest game was a 2-1 squeaker over rival Clearview on Oct. 26. The two teams meet again on Monday at Clearview. The Pioneers are likely the only team standing in the way of the Dragons finishing the regular season undefeated.

THIS AND THAT: The Schalick at Woodstown game, which was postponed last Friday due to rain, has been rescheduled for Friday at 1:30 p.m. The game will determine whether Schalick wins the Tri-County Diamond Division championship outright or if the Salem County schools share the title. … Gloucester Catholic played its first game in 26 days on Tuesday. The Rams’ last game was a 2-0 loss to Pitman on Oct. 8.

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