"And one of the biggest things with her: It really doesn't matter if you're a freshman or a senior - whoever plays the hardest, whoever works the hardest, is on the field."
It's a formula that was tailor-made for this year's Pioneers, and one that Conklin, The Inquirer's South Jersey Coach of the Year for girls' lacrosse, used to perfection.
Clearview entered this season having to replace the most talented senior class in the history of its program, including six Division I lacrosse players.
But that didn't stop the Pioneers from setting a new standard for a team that started in 2004.
Clearview finished 17-5 and won its first sectional title in a 7-6 overtime win over No. 1 seed Washington Township in the South Jersey Group 4 finals.
All of that after starting the season 0-2.
Throughout this season, Conklin repeatedly said that she was lucky. "This is the hardest-working team I've ever had," she said.
According to the players, they had motivation.
"Literally, when we walk onto the field for the first practice every season, [Conklin] says, 'It doesn't matter what we did last year,' " senior attack Kim Tumolo said. " 'It doesn't matter what your name is. The players on the field are the hardest-working girls at practice.' "
It set a level playing field, Tumolo said, one she and the rest of the seniors embraced.
This season, Clearview melded upperclassmen and lowerclassmen as well as any team in South Jersey.
Established players such as Tumolo and Lomanno worked seamlessly with budding stars such as freshman attack Gianna Bowe, who netted the winner in the sectional final.
It was a deliberate mind-set adopted by the Clearview players - and one cultivated by their head coach.
"Everyone said we were a young team or rebuilding this year," Conklin said. "We certainly didn't set a limit for ourselves. But I think a lot of other people did.
"Our team was the underdog going into a lot of the games. But I think we fought extremely hard, and I'm extremely proud of how far we came."
Contact Chris Melchiorre at email@example.com.