Florence's Lexi Smith wants to make breaking the school's single-season field hockey scoring record a family affair

Florence's Lexi Smith has 46 goals, equaling her aunt, Dianne Carey-Stranko.
Florence's Lexi Smith has 46 goals, equaling her aunt, Dianne Carey-Stranko. (ED HILLE / Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 18, 2011

Lexi Smith knew what she had to do: stop scoring.

That's a peculiar thought for a pure scorer. But she had something more important to consider after she tied Florence's single-season scoring record Monday against Cinnaminson in a nonleague field hockey game.

"I had the opportunity [to break the record], but my aunt wasn't prepared for it," Smith said after she scored four goals in a 6-0 win over the Pirates. "It's like a family tradition, something we can keep in the family."

Smith's aunt is volunteer assistant coach Dianne Carey-Stranko, formerly the sole owner of the scoring record with 46 goals. A 1993 graduate of Florence, Carey-Stranko set the standard in 1992.

Carey-Stranko's sister and Smith's mother, Gina Smith, the Florence head coach, had set the previous record in 1987 with 28 goals.

"This is something so special that I will never do it again and I wanted her to be prepared for it," Lexi Smith said about her aunt.

Carey-Stranko is prepared to honor her niece, with whom she is close; however, it will have to wait until Tuesday, when Burlington County Freedom Division rival Maple Shade visits Florence. The game was postponed from Wednesday because of rain.

"I will present Lexi with flowers when she breaks the record," said Carey-Stranko, who didn't have flowers with her on Monday. "Lexi is special to me. My father [Clark T. Carey] died in 1994 and Lexi was born five months later. She has always brought such joy to our lives.

"There is nobody else I'd rather hand it down to. Lexi is an all-around great person."

A junior, Smith entered the season with 87 goals. With five regular-season games to play, she could score a dozen more, and in the postseason even more.

Will she set another record?

Eastern's Kelsey Mitchell scored 69 goals as a senior in 2009 to tie the state single-season scoring record, held by West Essex's Michelle Vizzuso since 1994. Mitchell also broke Vizzuso's career goals record of 145 by finishing with 171 to become New Jersey's all-time goal-scorer.

Both records are in Smith's sights.

"The only record I was really looking at was my aunt's," said Smith, who earlier in the season had shattered Melissa Bond's 1995 career scoring record of 73 goals at Florence. "But if I get close to it [69], I'd love to do it because Kelsey Mitchell was such a great player.

"I was a freshman when she set that [career record], and that 171 is definitely a number that I am looking at."

An honors student, Smith has not committed to attend any university, but she would like to play field hockey at Princeton, study molecular biology there, and someday do cancer research. Her grandfather, a former Florence fire chief, died of the disease.

"I feel I have the brains, and I need to act on it," Smith said.

She also has the stick, and it will do the talking for her on Tuesday.

Contact staff writer Bill Iezzi

at 856-779-3826

or biezzi@phillynews.com.

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