The South Brunswick High School girls lacrosse team is undefeated this season in the state of New Jersey. According to Coach John Coppolla, part of the credit for that goes to Virginia and South Carolina.
South Brunswick lost its first three games of the season while playing at Hilton Head, S.C. The Vikings fell to two teams from Virginia on the trip. SBHS lost to Oakton, 22-7 and lost twice to James Madison by scores of 18-12 and 17-10.
"It was a great trip for us," Coppolla said. "Obviously, we're not happy losing three games, but the trip made us a better lacrosse team."
Two years ago, South Brunswick made a similar trip to Florida to play at the Disney sports complex.
"It's nice because it's such a good bonding experience for the girls," Coppolla said. "It also gives you a chance to play teams from around the country that you would otherwise never see."
Once back in New Jersey, South Brunswick started an 8-game winning streak. South Brunswick has defeated Monroe (15-9 and 11-3), South Plainfield (17-2 and 22-6), Old Bridge (15-5 and 19-3), East Brunswick (13-4) and North Brunswick (19-2).
Leading what has been a great offensive season for the Vikings is Elle Hvozdovic, a junior that plays midfield. She has 36 goals and 24 assists.
"She is just a very skilled lacrosse player that has been playing the sport for a long time," Coppolla said. "She's tall and athletic. She also has a great shot."
Cara Bagley, a senior, has 24 goals working out of the attack position.
"We've also gotten offense from a lot of other girls," Coppolla noted.
Marissa Cavett, Julie Curcio, Alex Datri, Kelly O'Brien, Emily Ryan, Eileen Rolwood, Anne Marie Rolwood, Amanda Cipriano, Emily Broxmeyer, Kelly Ciabattone, Danielle St. Vincent, Nicole Deinzer, Samantha Haveson, Nikiru Izzuka, Anya Singh-Varma and Olivia Kaczowski have also contributed to what has been a power offense.
According to Coppolla, South Brunswick also has an outstanding defense, featuring the likes of Shaffer (a senior), Kelly O'Laughlin (senior) and O'Brien (senior).
"When you look at her ability to play offense and defense, Kelly O'Brien might be our best overall player," Coppolla said.
Liz Ruedemann, just a freshman, has earned the starting spot in goal.
"She's really come on and is playing with a lot more confidence," Coppolla said.
The same could be said of the entire team. It shook off a slow start in South Carolina and had grown into something special by the time it returned to the Garden State.
South Brunswick will be trying to stay perfect in the state when it hosts JP Stevens on Senior Night on May 1 at Rowland Park at 6 p.m.
"The season is starting to wind down, but we still have some big games left," Coppolla said. "The county tournament starts the second week of May. We are shooting for our fourth title in a row."