Marino to play lacrosse at Monmouth University

BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer

A9 a.m. phone call on July 1 sealed the deal for Monmouth University and Alex Marino. July 1 is the earliest date a college coach can call prospective recruits, and when Marino’s phone rang it was music to her ears

“It made me happy,” said Marino, a Freehold Township High School lacrosse player. “It showed they were interested.”

Marino, who will begin her senior year at Freehold Township next week, was equally interested in playing lacrosse for the Hawks, and shortly after receiving that phone call she made her verbal commitment to attend the West Long Branch school.

“I’m excited,” said Marino. “I knew I wanted to go to Monmouth all along. Once they made me an offer, I accepted.”

When the recruiting process began for the Patriots’ high-scoring forward, Quinnipiac College, Hamden, Conn., was her first choice. She went to watch Quinnipiac play at Monmouth University and came away impressed with the other team, Monmouth.

“It was a little bit of everything,” Marino recalled of that trip to the campus. “I liked what I saw from the coaches, I liked the way they played. It’s similar to what we do at Freehold. The campus is gorgeous.”

Location was important, too.

“I like the distance,” she said. “I can come home when I want to.”

Monmouth is also close to the beach, which is another plus for Marino.

But more importantly, Marino has put the recruiting pressures behind her as she prepares for her final year in high school. She can now focus on her goal of bringing the Patriots a fourth straight Shore Conference A North Division title.

Marino set the Patriots’ record for goals scored in a single season this past spring with 74 goals. She has 163 goals for her career and is in range of breaking the career record of 199 held by her former teammate Maddie Comfort, who graduated in June.

Comfort’s career scoring mark of 314 points is also within reach for Marino, who will head into the 2010 campaign with 233 career points.

Despite her prolific goal scoring abilities, it is the assists that bring the most satisfaction to the Patriots’ forward.

“I love assisting,” she said. “It’s the best. I like being the one who makes the pass that leads to a goal.”

All of this might not have happened had it not been for Marino’s cousin, Ashley Nicotera, who played for Howell High School. It was Nicotera who introduced Marino to lacrosse in middle school. Before discovering lacrosse, Marino thought that basketball or field hockey would be her sport.

“She (Nicotera) got me interested in lacrosse,” said Marino. “It’s all because of her.”

Marino, who lives in Howell, started playing lacrosse in the Howell Recreation League in seventh grade and liked it from the start.

“It has a little bit of every sport involved in it,” she said. “It’s fast-moving and exciting.”

Marino picked up on the sport’s catching and throwing skills quickly and was an impact player for the Patriots by her sophomore year (2007).

In 2008 she blossomed into one of the Shore Conference’s best players, scoring 107 points. She and Comfort were one of the conference’s most lethal combinations.

Marino will miss the chemistry she and Comfort (who is now playing at Messiah College in Pennsylvania) developed. However, the Patriots are returning a number of starters from a championship team and that should make it easier for Marino to find the same type of chemistry with her teammates in the spring of 2010.