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40 goals and counting: Carle Place's Elissa Frein leaps into spotlight

Carle Place's Elissa Frein is congratulated by her

Carle Place's Elissa Frein is congratulated by her teammates after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime of the Class C Championship game against Friends Academy on Nov. 3, 2013. Photo Credit: Steven Ryan

After setting a career high with five goals Sept. 20, Elissa Frein received a torrent of congratulatory messages. Her response: "Thanks. But there's more to come!"

She scored four goals in her next field hockey game. And four more in the next. And four more in the next. And . . . you get the picture.

The Carle Place star is producing a season for the ages, with an offensive output -- 43 goals -- not seen on Long Island in more than 20 years. In fact, the junior has scored more in the last two months than she had in any other season. That's including lacrosse and basketball.

Heads have turned, colleges have gained interest and stat sheets have looked like math equations.

"So much effort has gone into this, so it's extremely gratifying," said Frein, who also has 10 assists. "It's been an amazing season."

Clearly. But from a kid who had 17 goals last season, who saw this coming?

Teammate Shannon McGuinness: "We expected a big year from her, but I don't think anyone could've predicted these numbers."

How about coach Carol Nesdill? "Not me!"

Frein made varsity as an athletic eighth-grader, Nesdill said, "but she was raw and had no idea what she was doing . . . Even last year, I think she only had one dodge move."

Last summer, after attending skills camps and working extensively with coaches, Frein refined her skills. Even Dowling coach Kim Hannigan, who runs Frein's club team, marveled at the rapid development. "She's always been fast with a powerful shot," Nesdill said, "but now she's accurate and mixes it up, knows how to create space."

The reverse sweeps, lifts and chip shots have made the forward difficult to defend. Plus her speed and passing, and the play of her teammates, reduce the efficacy of double- teams. "I've been face-guarded at times, gotten different defensive looks," Frein said. "It's about recognizing what they're doing, reading movements and adjusting."

McGuinness (23) and Sophia Urrutia (14) lead Nassau in assists, and Frein often has capitalized on give-and-go plays. "It's gotten everyone excited because we all know she's doing something that hasn't happened often," McGuinness said. "We're part of something special."

The Long Island single-season record is 82 goals, set by Centereach's Tracey Fuchs in 1983. But Frein could reach 50, which no L.I. girl has done since Centereach's Denise Nasca in 1991.

Most of the records were set in the '80s and early '90s and haven't been approached. Former Centereach coach Nancy Cole said that, in part, is because new rules and stick designs and the sport's expansion have leveled its playing field somewhat.

Frein has defied that to a degree. Carle Place is in Conference II and doesn't consistently face elite teams, but the Frogs (14-1) have credibility with wins over juggernaut Garden City, Class A champ Massapequa and Clarke.

But the playoffs present another challenge: good teams with good defenses and extra time to game plan. "It'll definitely be tougher," Frein said. "But we have a clear vision of what we want to accomplish, as a team and individually, and I know we can do it all."

In other words:

There's more to come.

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