GOSHEN — Jared Cassel made up his mind as he gained possession outside the circle.
Cassel raced three steps to his left and fired a shot at the top right corner of the cage. He pumped his fist in the air to celebrate a milestone moment. Cassel’s score reminded his father, Jeremy, of his son’s early goals from distance as an eighth-grader.
Cassel can’t recall his first varsity goal but he’ll never forget No. 236 in the second quarter of a 16-3 win over Burke Catholic on Thursday. The Goshen senior is the new Section 9 all-time goals leader, surpassing Minisink Valley graduate and current Yale standout Joe Sessa’s 235.
“This is an impressive milestone to have and the player that had it in front of me was always the person that I looked up to,” said Cassel, who watched Sessa play in the 2018 NCAA Division I championship on TV.
Cassel didn’t waste any time in his pursuit of greatness. He scored six times in the first quarter, including the game’s first goal 54 seconds in. Play stopped after Cassel’s seventh goal 6:40 into the second quarter to announce his achievement. He wouldn’t take another shot. He picked up a long stick and played defense in the second half, giving others an opportunity to score.
“I’m successful because of the people that I'm surrounded by, from the goalie clearing it to the defenseman pushing it up to the midfielders getting it over midline,” Cassel said. “I'm just the guy that puts it in.”
The thought of making a run at the Section 9 record started at the end of his junior season when Cassel finished with 169 goals. However, Cassel would have to overcome a major offseason hurdle. He tore his meniscus and a piece of cartilage in his knee playing linebacker in football’s season opener in September.
Cassel played through the season, opting for surgery on Nov. 26. Doctors told Cassel that recovery could take up to six months. The 18-year-old set a goal for four months with physical therapy three times a week at two hours per session and was ready for Goshen’s first game. He has 67 goals and counting on the season entering the Section 9 Class C playoffs next week.
“My wife (Tebble) is a physical therapist and she said it was a full knee replacement,” Jeremy Cassel said. “It's very impressive that he made it to even play this year.”
One of Cassel’s teammates carried a sign onto the field following his final goal. Pictures would have to wait. Cassel postponed a photo request after the teams shook hands. He had more important matters.
Cassel held up a sign that read “RE LAX BRO I’m just trying to score a date w/you to PROM.”
His promposal was a success as girlfriend Lexi Gilligan said yes.
Cassel’s day couldn’t get any better.