North Andover Scarlet Knights Field Hockey '07

North Andover's Gaffny rewriting the record books

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Amesbury's Abigail Pare and North Andover's Lauren Gaffny battle for the ball while North Andover's Katherine Andrusin looks on during their field hockey game at North Andover High School. » Katie McMahon, Staff Photographer

Friday, September, 28 By Jess Kraby
Staff writer

NORTH ANDOVER | Senior forward Lauren Gaffny has a lot to offer both on and off the field hockey field.

She's co-captain of the unbeaten Scarlet Knights, ranked 28th in a class of 355 students and is senior class vice president.

The runaway scoring leader in the Cape Ann League with 14 goals and four assists through nine games, Gaffny is "definitely" the leading scorer in Dianne Freiermuth's tenure with the Scarlet Knights, said the 15th-year coach. That puts her ahead of such luminaries as current Georgetown standout Jen Sachs, UMass Lowell's talented freshman Liz Day, and ex-Brown star Stacey Lafond and Bridget Bubar.

"Lauren has an incredible nose for the goal. I've never had a player who could score like her,'' said Freiermuth.

After winning the Division 1 North title last year, she prepared for this season by attending and earning MVP honors at the Worcester State camp.

This season got off to a rough start, though. Despite the gaudy numbers, an early-season case of shin splints had slowed her down.

The Knights' most recent game was a showdown against undefeated Manchester Essex.

"Once we touch the ball, all the jitters go away," said Gaffny.

The jitter-free co-captain scored a goal as the Knights defeated the Hornets 3-0.

Scoring has never been a problem for the soft-spoken Gaffny. Scoring 13 goals as a freshman on the JV team was more than enough to earn her a promotion to varsity for the state tournament. As a sophomore, she scored nine goals with five assists. Her improvement to junior year was dramatic, as she scored an area-high 26 goals.

"Everyone tries to keep up with her," noted Freiermuth. "She scores all the goals but I think she also knows she's surrounded by great players that give her the ball. It's not ever easy to score in field hockey so they give her that opportunity to score that many goals."

Her strong athletic background includes not only her mother, Sue Zagorski, a high-scoring forward 35 years ago for the Red and Black, but also her father, Tom; two brothers, Tom, 21, and David, 19; an aunt, Sharon Karalis; an uncle, Lee Zagorski; and cousin John Gaffny.

Sue, Lee, Sharon and John are all in the North Andover-Johnson Hall of Fame.

When asked if there is any pressure being a member of such a prominent athletic family, she replied, "No pressure. My mom was a really good athlete. She doesn't pressure me, she supports me."

She's being recruited by several schools, including Union, Tufts, Providence and Holy Cross. The leader of the pack is Holy Cross, where Gaffny, who wants to become a physical therapist, plans to apply early decision.

Keeping the North Andover winning tradition alive is Gaffny's goal. So far, so good with the 9-0 start and the big win over Manchester.

"She's a great player. She's been real fun to coach for three years," Freiermuth said. "The program will certainly miss her next year."

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