It didn’t make much sense to celebrate when Gianna Monaco scored the 200th goal of her career. There were just too many more milestones left to reach.
The Lenape senior attacker thrashed the record books with a school-record 312 career goals, including 130 this spring alone. That’s a lot of balloons and poster board.
Monaco’s accomplishment was all the more impressive considering that her career was truncated by COVID-19 costing her the entire sophomore season and limiting her junior year to just 16 games.
And that’s just part of the story. Monaco suffered a lingering hip injury while scoring a goal in the 10th game of her junior year, that eventually led to surgery in September of last year. The University of Florida-bound star, entered this season at less than full strength and completed her rehabilitation on the job.
As a result, Monaco spent less time playing in the midfield than she normally would, though she took many of the most important draws of the season, winning a majority of them with the help of junior twins Emma and Lily Bunting.
Together, that trio brought Lenape to the South Group 4 title and the verge of a state championship. Displaying an unspoken connection that was unmatched in the state. They combined for 268 goals and 118 assists, all while defeating defenses specifically designed to slow them down.
The cruel truth every defense eventually discovered that covering Monaco is impossible. The Lenape star merely loiters a few steps beyond the 12-meter arc directly in front of the goalie and suddenly, irreversibly, she is wide open, regardless of how many defenders were assigned to defend her.
Monaco never scored fer than four goals in a game and averaged 6.8 every time out despite not playing a purely me-first style unless it was absolutely necessary to win the game.
Monaco’s ability to dominate a game like no other player makes her the 2022 All-South Jersey High School Girls Lacrosse player of the Year. She was a dominating individual talent within a team-first framework.
“That's honestly amazing,” Monaco said. “All we could ask was that everyone was be a threat and everyone can score and everyone can pass the bar, feed it and do anything that was needed. I'm so happy that this team never had to be just one person. We were all so amazing working together.”
This article originally appeared on Burlington County Times: 2022 South Jersey High School Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year