Bishop Eustace Crusaders
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior midfielder Mikeaela Gekas-Robinson was a second-team all-conference performer. Senior attack Kylie Primeau has made a verbal commitment to Villanova. Junior midfielder Kristen Kelbon was a first-team all-conference performer and honorable mention all-South Jersey selection. Junior defender Elise Sullivan earned second-team all-conference honors. Other veterans back include senior defenders Taylor Baranowsky and Lisa Grous, and junior midfielder Sarah Furey.
OUTLOOK: The Crusaders are in their sixth year of fielding a program and have been competitive almost from the beginning. After winning the Olympic National, the Crusaders will seriously contend once again and have the ability to be a Top 10 South Jersey squad.
Camden Catholic Fighting Irish
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Irish return three first-team all-Olympic Conference Freedom Division selections: senior midfielder Shannon McCormick, junior defender Cara Racobaldo and sophomore attack Megan Kilpatrick. In addition, junior Tara Vittese was a second-team choice.
OUTLOOK: The Irish went 6-11 last season and the key for improvement will be replacing goalie Tracy Austin, who was a second-team all-conference choice. The Irish are moving up from the Freedom to the Olympic National, and while they won’t be favored, they are expected to field a competitive team.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior midfielder Lauren Thomas was a second-team all-conference choice and a 2012 National Tournament team alternate. She is a Coastal Carolina recruit. Junior midfielder Christine DiLullo has committed to Rutgers and was also a second-team all-conference choice. Other returning regulars include sophomore defender Leanne McCloskey, junior midfielder Michelle Tegethoff, sophomore midfielders Savannah Singer and Ashley Koester, and sophomore goalie Devon Kearns. Three key returning seniors are midfielder Caitlyn O’Brien, attack Jenna Castiglia and defender Kylie Haverstick.
OUTLOOK: The Chiefs were 6-12 while competing in the toughest conference in the South Jersey Olympic American. This is a team with solid experience, but it is still relatively young. A winning record is realistic but coach Sarah Frazier’s team may be a year away from contending for the division crown.
Cherry Hill East Cougars
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Caitlin Delaney is a Sacred Heart recruit who earned first-team all-conference honors. Last season, she had 78 goals and 17 assists and led the team with 57 draw controls, 48 caused turnovers and 54 ground balls. She is a four-year starter. Other returning starters are senior midfielders Emily Johnson and Michelle Langborgh, senior defender Erica Hansen, junior midfielder Taylor Patrizi, junior defender Alisa Verratti and junior goalie Rachel Adap. Among the key players from the J.V. squad are sophomore midfielders Lauren Kotler and Monica Lee.
OUTLOOK: Second-year coach Katie Boyle has the program going in the right direction. The Cougars move from the Olympic American to the Patriot, and while not being the favorite, have the ability to contend.
Cherry Hill West Lions
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior attack Lauren Anderson is a Wagner recruit who was a first-team all-conference choice. She has 171 career goals and is within distance of the school record of 208. Other returning veterans include senior midfielders Nicolette Graham and Kristine Thomas, junior midfielder Francesca Benitez, junior attack Erin Redmond, junior defender Mary Smyth, and sophomore attack Lauren Elias. Sophomore Lindsey Coyle suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the opening game and will be a welcome addition to the offense.
OUTLOOK: The Lions won five games last year and, while not predicted to contend for a division title, could show improvement. Having Coyle back is huge. The offense should be formidable and how the Lions defend will likely determine their win total.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior midfielder/defender Sara Kramer is a University of Michigan recruit. She was a first-team all-conference selection along with senior midfielder Ali McCardell, junior attack Holly Tevis and sophomore midfielder Gianna Bowe. Senior defender Kate Shea and sophomore defender Olivia Mittleman were second-team choices. Other key veterans include junior attacks Jackie Pauling and Shannon Lynch, senior attack Megan Donnelly, and senior defenders Maggie Malane and Hannah Farrow. Other key players include two goalies—junior Bella Mumma and sophomore Carly Shaup.
OUTLOOK: The Pioneers are the defending South Jersey Group 4 champions and will be a major threat to repeat. In addition, Clearview could be among the top five teams in South Jersey. Coach Megan Conklin has built one of the area’s premier programs that continues to improve each year.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Midfielder Danielle LaRocca and defender Miranda Altringer were first-team all-conference choices. LaRocca is headed to Quinnipiac and Altringer will attend Catholic University. Goalie Brittany Read and midfielders Karlee Spirit and Austyn Cuneo were second-team selections. Other experienced veterans are midfielders Mariel Haubrich and Alexa Rubino, attacks Sierra Slack and Olivia Schneider, and defender Lindsay Fleischer.
OUTLOOK: The Vikings were 10-7 last year and will remain competitive, but the Olympic Conference American Division is so competitive that Eastern won’t be listed among the favorites. Matching last year’s win total would be a good goal.
Gloucester Catholic Rams (pictured)
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior midfielder Amy Kohout earned all-conference honors after scoring 58 goals and leading the state with 144 ground balls. Senior attack Brittany Cogan had 39 goals while classmate Natalie DiCarlo had 34 goals. Senior Kelly Coppola is the leader of the defense. Other returning starters are senior attack Gab Sclocchini, senior defenders Kathleen Golden and Abby Murphy, junior defender Morgan Masiejczyk, senior midfielder Casey Kupcha and senior goalie Jenna Garraway, who had 79 saves last season. Senior midfielder Maddie Hogan had 11 goals, while junior midfielder Lauren Wilson added 10. Other returning letter winners are sophomore midfielder Elysa Virella, senior attacks Jen Fanelli, Alexus DeMarco, Bern Quigley, and Dana DiMento, senior midfielder Courtney Sunderland, senior defender/midfielder Michelle McMullen and senior attack/midfielder Marissa Breeze (10 goals).
OUTLOOK: The Rams were 9-9 last season but, with a senior-laden team, should not only improve but contend for a conference title. West Deptford is likely the favorite, but this should be a dangerous team, one that has experience on offense, defense and the midfield.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Taylor Ng, South Jersey’s Tennis Player of the Year all four seasons, is also a talented lacrosse player who earned first-team all-conference honors on offense. Senior attack Gretchen Kiep was a second-team choice. Other key veterans include senior defender Courtney Lenny, junior attacks Tenaya Clark and Taylor Jacobs, and junior goalie Kelsey Welsh.
OUTLOOK: The Bulldogs were 14-7 but lost many key players to graduation. In a very short time, this has become one of the top programs in South Jersey. While not rebuilding, Haddonfield is not the favorite, but could challenge favored Bishop Eustace for the Olympic Conference National Division title.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior midfielder Jackie Neary was a second-team all-conference selection. She is part of a talented junior class. Other returning starters who are juniors include attacks Alexis Damask, Taylor Gretz and Paige Helm, goalie Erin Horner and defenders Danielle Hall and Gabrielle Azzari. Four sophomore newcomers to watch include attacks Alex DiSciascio and Aly Keene, midfielder Rena Martin and defender Maria Boerlin.
OUTLOOK: The Dragons were 9-10 overall and 5-5 in the division. With an experienced team returning, they will contend for the division title. It should be a great race with Seneca, West Deptford, Sterling and Collingswood also expected to contend.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Indians have four seniors who have made college commitments: Attack/midfielder Olivia Streilein will attend Wagner, Hunter Gray (University of Denver), midfielder Becky Daub (St. Joseph’s) and defender Morgan Long (Limestone). Other returning veterans are senior defender Kate Decker, senior midfielder/ defender Colleen Cunningham, senior attack Maggie Reilly, senior midfielder Sarah Hunt, junior attack Rena Carabases, junior midfielders Nicole Donnelly and Courtney Norton, and sophomore defender Shannon Gallagher. Four sophomore returning letter winners include midfielders Marissa Topolski, Natalie Peel and Erin Harvey, and goalie Rebecca Wilen.
OUTLOOK: The Indians have an experienced team returning from a 15-3 squad that finished second in the Olympic American Division. This season, the Indians won’t be favored in the American, but can’t be discounted as a potential contender either.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior Marie McCool is an All-American and has already committed to the University of North Carolina. Other players who have made Division I commitments are senior midfielder-defender Megan Kelly, an All-American who will attend Penn, senior midfielder Mary Flick (William & Mary), junior defender Frankie Angeleri (Vanderbilt) and junior attack Sydney Dalmass (Michigan). McCool had 84 goals and 18 assists, while Dalmass added 27 goals and 13 assists. Other players who have made commitments are goalie Shannon Keeler (Gettysburg), junior attack Kayla Pruitt (Vanderbilt), senior attack Margaret Nissen (Rutgers), senior attack Alicia Geiter (Coastal Carolina), senior defender Megan Bianco (Marquette), senior defender Maura Talvacchia (Presbyterian), and senior attack Gabby Frank (Franklin & Marshall). Other veterans include sophomore defender Melanie Becker and senior defender Amanda Zajac.
OUTLOOK: The Quakers were 26-0 in winning the Tournament of Champions last year and, despite some major losses to graduation, should enter the season as the state’s No. 1 ranked team. Coach Deanna Knobloch (425-29-4) is among the best coaches in any sport in South Jersey history and will have the team ready to make another run at a TOC title.
Moorestown Friends Foxes
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior midfielder Noelle Smith was a first-team all-Friends League choice and the team MVP. Senior midfielder Lauren Lowe was another first-team all-conference selection. Returning starters are senior defender Kaitlyn Koste, senior midfielder Kailey Burgess, senior defender Nicole Hovatter, junior midfielder Katrina Savon, junior attack Victoria Geyer and sophomore defender Sarah Henig. Other returning veterans include senior defender Odeymarys Garrido, junior defender Maureen Kelleher and sophomore attack Alaina Shivers.
OUTLOOK: After a 6-10 season, coach Paige Dougherty has an experienced team that could move up after finishing fourth last year, but the Foxes won’t be the favorite. The Friends League is extremely strong and the Foxes will benefit from the rugged competition during the NJSIAA Tournament.
Paul VI Eagles
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior attack Kristen Bate and junior center Casey Baker were second-team all-conference selections. Other returning veterans include senior attack Carleigh Dabritz, senior defensive wing Taylor Claps, junior attacks Taylor Humski and Amanda Darley, junior defensive wings Erica McLaughlin and Alexandra Jurgelis, junior defenders Julie Ford and Brooke Boucher, senior defender Erica Perrone and junior attack Kaylin Donaghy. Newcomers to watch include junior midfielder Lauren DiPietropolo, junior attack Carly Devenney, freshman attack wing Michelle Hallman and freshman defender Megan Carty.
OUTLOOK: Under second-year coach Lauren Bigos, the Eagles are headed in the right direction. This is still a young team, but one that received valuable experience last year. The hope is continued improvement and a team that could contend for playoff berth this season.
Seneca Golden Eagles
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior attack Ellie Blythe, senior defender Kim Richter and sophomore midfielder Maddy Schulte were first-team all-conference selections. Senior midfielder Dani Hubbs was a second-team choice. Other returning veterans are senior midfielder Sarah Regn, sophomore attack Megan Drum, junior attack Sarah Hagmayer, senior defenders Caroline Royston and Jessica Molowski, senior attack Morghan Thornton, junior attack Jackie Kelso and junior defenders Jamie Zangli and Jessica Packard. Among newcomers to watch are sophomore attack Julia Ferrante, junior midfielder Brenna Atmore, junior defender Jackie Gsell, sophomore goalie Kalyn Bryan, sophomore midfielder McKenzie McGlone, sophomore Carlee Patton and senior midfielder Dominique Putney.
OUTLOOK: The Golden Eagles were 15-4 overall and 10-0 in the division. With Clearview now in the Olympic Conference Patriot Division, those two teams should battle for the division. Seneca coach Morgan Crothers (61-17) has done an outstanding job with the program and this should be another Top 10 team in South Jersey.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior attack/midfielder Shannon Nugent was the Women’s Lacrosse Club of South Jersey Attacker of the Year last season. Senior midfielder/defender Glade Nugent was a second-team all-conference choice. Junior midfielder Caroline Shinske, senior midfielder Erin Smith and senior defender Katie Kernan were first team all-conference selections. Sophomore goalie Lily Argyle earned second-team all-conference honors. Other returning starters include senior defender Maddie Bandomer and senior attack Jill Chiachetti. Key returning letter winners include senior attack Carly Demato, sophomore utility player Caroline Farley, junior attack Lauren Lavin and senior defender Rachel Lattimer.
OUTLOOK: The Renegades are the preseason favorite in the Olympic Conference American Division. This should once again be one of the top five teams in South Jersey.
Washington Township Minutemaids
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Three seniors who were second-team all-conference performers are goaltender Merredith Bechler and defenders Amanda Rey and Shannon Cowles. Bechler is a Campbell University recruit while Rey is headed to Wagner. Senior midfielder Kylie Calandra is captain of the 2012 N.J. Brine National Team and a Sacred Heart recruit. Senior attack Avianna Paraggio is a National School Girls Alternate. Senior Kristen Buoni is a Rowan recruit.
OUTLOOK: Coach Sandy Stockl (216-125-10) has built one of the top programs in South Jersey and, despite major graduation losses, the Minutemaids appear to have another Top 10 squad. Washington Township is the defending Olympic American champion and will make another run at the title, although Shawnee appears to be the favorite.
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family’s High School Spring Sports Preview, January, 2013.
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