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Best friends, members of exclusive lacrosse club

Tess Solazzo started playing lacrosse in fourth grade.

Tess Solazzo started playing lacrosse in fourth grade.

Her best friend, Kate Weeks, was an avid lacrosse player. Weeks taught Solazzo the game, and from that point forward, their dedication and passion for the sport grew together.

"So it's just really weird how it's all worked out," Solazzo said.

Only seven high school girls' lacrosse players in state history have netted 300 career goals.

Weeks, a Boston College recruit and senior at the Hun School in Princeton, became the seventh on Tuesday.

Solazzo, an Ohio State recruit and a senior at Ocean City, has 296 career goals and stands to become the eighth player in state history to score 300.

"It's an extremely exciting thing," said Solazzo, who moved to Ocean City from Princeton before her freshman year in high school. "Kate and I have been talking about it a lot. It's just amazing that we're going to be able to share this together.

"We both just love the sport, and I think that has a lot to do with how far we've both gone in lacrosse."

Solazzo has scored 87 of her 296 goals this season. And she's leading an Ocean City team with a 12-3 overall record and a very good chance of winning the Cape-Atlantic League title.

"Tess just has amazing field sense," Ocean City first-year coach Alyssa Preis said. "Not only is she our leading scorer, she's our leader in assists. And for her to be in a position to score her 300th goal is an awesome accomplishment, and it's a testament to how hard she's worked.

"And our whole team is just working so well together right now, and that starts with Tess."

Ocean City is 12-1 in league play. Mainland is in second place at 9-1.

Mainland topped Ocean City, 8-7, on April 22 in the teams' first meeting. The second matchup, next Monday, likely will decide the league championship.

"That's really our main focus right now," Solazzo said. "We want to win the CAL, and then we want to go farther in the playoffs this year than we did last year, when we lost in the first round.

"I think if we play together and work hard, we can definitely accomplish those goals."

Those goals might be her main focus, but there's one historic goal that likely will come before any of that - even as soon as Ocean City's home game Thursday against Absegami.

"Scoring my 300th goal would be a huge honor," Solazzo said. "I've worked very hard for it, but without my team, I would not have been able to even come close to that 300 mark."

Balanced attack. The boys' lacrosse race for first place in the Cape-Atlantic League also is set to come down to the last week of the season.

Thanks to a stellar defense and one of the best offensive units the program has had, Middle Township (12-2, 10-1) controls its own destiny and is poised to win its first CAL title.

Egg Harbor Township and St. Augustine are the only two teams ever to win Cape-Atlantic titles in boys' lacrosse, and St. Augustine now plays an independent schedule.

"We just have a great group of kids, and it would be big to win the CAL title," Middle Township coach Tom Griffin said. "Our players are great students, great kids, and they work well together. And I have an outstanding assistant coach in Eric Dechert."

Junior Alex Terenik, who recorded his 100th goal in a May 3 win over Vineland, leads the Panthers with 40 goals. Jack Denis (35 goals), Zach Buchanan (32 goals), and Tom DeMarco (30 goals) also have been solid contributors for Middle Township.

"They're a tight-knit group, and that's important," Griffin said. "They're not selfish. If teams are locking off Alex, he'll go into the crease so other players can kick out.

"We don't have anyone who just looks to score."

Middle Township would take the CAL title by winning out, but that is easier said than done.

Oakcrest (10-2, 9-2) and Egg Harbor Township (10-4, 8-3), which beat Middle Township on Tuesday, are not far behind and likely will be waiting in the wings if the Panthers falter.

"Last year, we were in the spoiler position," Griffin said. "And we beat some teams that were fighting for the CAL title - we were doing what other teams want to do to us now.

"We have a target on our back. We just have to take advantage of our opportunities, not look too far ahead, and keep working towards our goal."