Laura Doria McGovern
Class of 1986
Generational athletes are, by definition, a special breed. Laura Doria was such a gifted sports standout from 1982 to 1986 at New Milford High School.
A strong case could be made that she’s the best girls’ basketball player in Green Wave history, and she surely ranks among the best ever in field hockey. Laura couldn’t settle on a spring sport, giving it a try in softball, tennis and track & field, along the way demonstrating impressive potential in each.
In all, Laura earned 10 varsity letters. She also excelled in the classroom, ranking 10th academically in a class of 295, earning National Honor Society membership and recognition as NMHS’ female scholar-athlete in her senior year.
Yet it was in field hockey and basketball that Laura etched such indelible memories in the minds of those fortunate to witness her skills. Along the way, the soft-spoken sports standout painted magical moments for the Green Wave.
It didn’t take long for Laura to make an impact. Playing as a freshman for legendary coach Fran Zaloski’s 15-2-1 Green Wave in the 1982 Western Connecticut Conference championship field hockey match, the lithe rookie assisted Jill Oshan’s game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over arch-rival Pomperaug.
Over the next three years, Laura would earn all-WCC laurels each season, was three times named the team’s MVP, and was second-team all-state as a junior and first-team all-state as a senior.
Laura’s 14 goals as a sophomore during the Green Wave’s 14-1-3 season in 1983 included both goals in a season-opening, 2-0 win over Brookfield and two goals in a five-second span in a 3-1 win over Masuk. She also assisted twice during a 3-0 victory over Pomperaug in the WCC title match.
She added nine goals for the 11-3 Green Wave in her junior year and 20 goals during her bravura senior season. The highlight of her final field hockey campaign was a breakaway goal to win a 1-0 WCC championship game vs. Brookfield for the 14-3-1 Green Wave.
In all, Laura scored more than 50 goals, a remarkable total in a low-scoring sport, and helped Green Wave field hockey to a 54-9-5 record.
As it turned out, her fall exploits annually set the stage for record-setting basketball performances during the wintertime.
Laura’s talents were such that she saw spot action as a freshman for a veteran Green Wave squad during an historic, come-from-behind victory over mighty Masuk in the 1983 WCC championship game. That title is still to date the only league championship for either Green Wave boys’ or girls’ basketball in nearly 80 years.
She emerged during her sophomore campaign as an all-WCC player and team MVP for the 13-8 Green Wave.
By early in her junior year, it was clear Laura was a special hard-court talent. Although the Green Wave struggled for wins, barely qualifying for the state tournament, Laura utilized a stylish jump shot and all other means of finding the hoop to score an unprecedented 402 points, averaging 20.1 per game. Along the way, she had games of 32 and 34 points, believed to be the first 30-point plus performances in NMHS girls’ basketball history.
She again was voted all-WCC and team MVP, and this time added first-team class ‘L’ all-state, a trio of honors she’d repeat as a senior.
Early in the Green Wave’s school-record 17-5 season in 1985-86, her final campaign, Laura became the girls’ all-time leading scorer. As a senior, she scored 455 points for a 21.7 average, all the while battling defenses designed to slow her down.
Her 37 points vs. Brookfield set a school record that still stands, and Laura closed her last season with five rebounds and six assists per game, numbers that attested to her improved all-around game.
Most strikingly, she became the first NMHS player of either gender to reach the millennium. Her 1,068 career points set a standard that lasted five years until the Green Wave boys’ team Karl Radday passed her in 1991. Laura remains the only NMHS girl to reach the 1,000-point milestone.