by Andrew Garda

While the Montclair Mounties field hockey team lost to the Arthur L. Johnson Crusaders by a score of 2-0 last Monday, senior captain Leah Plawker still feels optimistic.

ALJ is ranked as the No. 18 team in the state, and Plawker knows the Mounties have every chance to reach their goal of becoming a Top 20 ranked squad themselves.

“We really want to be a Top 20 team this year,” she said. “We were playing really well in the second half today, and you could see we were fighting in front of the goal cage.”

They were so eager to get a shot in, she said, they didn’t make some adjustments they should have.

“If we had just lifted the ball a little bit, put a little air on it, the ball would have gone over the [defender’s] sticks,” she said. “But we were just pushing really hard. It also shows we were fighting and we wanted it so bad.”

Plawker is one of Coach Mary Pat Mercuro’s most important players and someone she looks to for leadership.

“Leah has so much heart,” Mercuro said. “She never gives up. She ran down every ball, she’s just amazing. Leah is a great team leader, not so vocal, but she definitely shows it by example.”

For Plawker, field hockey is as important as breathing.

“There’s no sport played like field hockey. People say field hockey is a cult at the high school level. We’re all just such close girls and the friendships you make in this sport are great.”

Plawker  was kind enough to take a few moments postgame to answer some questions and let us get to know her better:


Have you decided on a college yet?

I verbally committed to Franklin & Marshall College for field hockey. I still have to apply to get in and it’s D3, but I’ll submit for early decision there. That’s pretty much the only school I’m applying to.

Why Franklin & Marshall?

I’m not one of those people who go into college knowing exactly what they want to do, so a small liberal arts school is a good fit for me. When I toured it, I really liked the school. I really liked the team and the coach, the girls really seem nice.

Did you think of playing somewhere else?

I want to continue playing in college, but I didn’t want to play D1 because for me academics come first and most D3 schools are smaller, liberal arts schools.

Any favorite subjects?

I like math and art. Maybe I’ll do something in design.

What do you do for fun?

I hang out with my friends. I don’t know, pretty much field hockey is my life.

How did you get so hooked on field hockey?

I just fell in love with it, and it’s what I always want to be doing. I’m always so excited to go to practice or for a game. It’s just my favorite thing to do.