Thanks to a powerful offense and a stingy defense, the South Brunswick High School girls lacrosse team is 15-3 and playing in the semifinals of the North Jersey Group IV Tournament.
South Brunswick will play top seeded Ridgewood on May 22 in the state semifinals. SBHS is hoping to win its second title of the season, having already won the Greater Middlesex Conference Championship.
South Brunswick got a bye in the first round of the GMC. It then defeated East Brunswick and Old Bridge by identical 12-3 scores.
"The overall record and the (GMC) championship is a statement about the
program we have," South Brunswick Coach John Coppolla said. "We won the GMC for the fourth year in a row."
South Brunswick carried that success into the state tournament. It opened with a 15-8 win over Randolph on May 14. South Brunswick then defeated Columbia, 12-7, on May 17 to earn the right to play top-seeded Ridgewood.
Against Randolph, Elle Hvozdovic recorded seven goals and three assists, Hvozdovic added two goals and three assists in the win against Columbia. Just a junior, Hvozdovic has already topped 100 career goals.
"She's also one of four players on the team that have topped 100 points for their careers," Coppolla said.
Kelly O'Brien, Casey Armstrong and Cara Bagley, all seniors, are the other three girls to top 100 career points. Bagley had two goals and an assist against Randolph. Bagley also added three goals and an assist against Columbia. O'Brien had two goals and an assist against Columbia.
"I've never had (this many great scorers) at the same time," Coppolla said. "The members of this team have mostly played three full seasons. They are a very experienced group and they are also very talented."
Marissa Cavett scored two goals in both playoff games. Danielle St. Vincent scored twice against Randolph. Julie Curcio scored twice against Columbia.
"In addition to the strength of our offense, our defensive unit is also experienced and very talented," Coppolla said.
The defense is led by seniors Rachel Shaffer, Kelly O'Loughlin and Olivia Kaczokwski. These girls play in front of goalie Liz Ruedmann, just a freshman.
"She's been doing a good job for us all season," Coppolla said. "As a freshman, she's only going to get better."
South Brunswick will now see how far its talented squad can go in the states.