Saturday, June 6, 2015

Field hockey: Kerr to resign as Warren Hills coach

There's something to be said for going out on top.

For Laurie Kerr, the time was right to step down at Warren Hills after 15 seasons guiding one of New Jersey's premier field hockey programs.

"I'm doing it for family reasons," Kerr said during a phone conversation on Saturday evening. "I told the team [I was stepping down]."

Laurie Kerr with her team after winning the North 2, Group 3 title.
Kerr, who also stepped down as the girls lacrosse coach, said her resignation has not been made official. All fall coaching positions at the Warren County school per its policy are open, and any new hires will be pending board of education approval. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 9.

Kerr said that assistant coach Josie Potter (nee Schantzenbach), another former standout player for the Streaks and team MVP in 1998, is also resigning from the coaching staff.

Athletic director Pete Lubrecht would not comment on any potential hires or resignations when reached earlier this week.

Warren Hills completed the greatest field hockey season in its history last fall, finishing 23-4 -- a school single-season record for wins -- and capturing both its 12th sectional title and the program's first state title with a thrilling 5-4 overtime win against nemesis Ocean City in the Group 3 final. It's also the first state championship in any female sport for the Blue Streaks.

Kerr, a former star player at Warren Hills and 1987 graduate, turned the program into a state powerhouse during her 15 seasons at the helm. Her teams went 264-71-12 overall and won or shared six Skyland Conference Delaware or Raritan Division titles and the school's only county championships in 2009, '11, '13 and '14.

In addition, the Streaks claimed eight of their 12 sectional titles and appeared the Group 3 finals seven times under Kerr, who surpassed her predecessor and coach Luanne Ferenci (226-101-41 from 1981-99) as the winningest coach in program history.

The Washington/Warren Hills program is 601-250-92 overall in 50 seasons. The 600th win came on Nov. 12, 2014, a 6-1 victory over Northern Highlands in the Group 3 semifinals. A 4-2 loss to Oak Knoll in the school's first Tournament of Champions appearance ended an 11-game win streak.

Warren Hills will sorely miss both Kerr and her six graduating seniors -- Nikki Profita (Rutgers), Jessica Nissen, Sydney Muntone (Drexel), Amanda Crampton (East Stroudsburg University), Amanda Oberly (Southern Connecticut) and Allie Brouhard (Sacred Heart).

Crampton, a stellar defensive player, scored the game-winning goal against Ocean City.

"Those girls have been like my own daughters," Kerr said.

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