The Red Bank Catholic girls lacrosse team will enter the season with a big target on its back.
Last season the Caseys walked away with a Class B North title, Shore Conference Tournament championship and the NJSIAA South Jersey Group II title.
The Caseys will be without graduates Kaitlyn Cunningham, Kathy Pignataro and Cat Luick, and according to head coach Lisa Caprioni they are going to be hard to replace.
“We lost two of our leading scorers as well as two of our best defenders to graduation,” said Caprioni. “We are still trying to find the right combo between our experienced players and our younger players, so it is going to be extremely difficult to defend all three of our titles.”
Despite graduating four key players from a squad that finished 20-2, the Caseys will rely on their core of returning starters Grace Fallon, Maeve Cowley, Amanda Casten, Victoria Brown and Alexis Whalen to help defend their titles.
Fallon, who is one of the most-recognizable players in the Shore Conference, will be a huge part of their offense and defense this season. She finished her sophomore season with 37 goals and 53 assists to classify herself as an all-around player.
Senior Brown and juniors Margaret Rooney and Cowley will mainly lead the charge, while newcomers Ariana Mancini, Julie Krasutsky, Emily Schlissler and Jackie Mauro will also be options for the Caseys on the frontline.
On defense, the Casey’s will rely on junior Casten and seniors Jessica Depinho and Whalen, who all have experience on the backline.
The Caseys will be without their goalie Rebecca Barille, who led them to their titles last season. They are hopeful newcomers Sabrina Arbes and Olivia Lipp help fill the void in goal left by Barille’s departure.
With the realignment in the Shore Conference, St. John Vianney and Red Bank will enter Class B North and compete for the division title and Caprioni says it will be one of the toughest divisions in the Shore Conference.
“Ocean and Long Branch should be tough in our division,” said Caprioni. “Ocean finished in great shape last season and their coach is now at Long Branch so I expect them to be very competitive along with a few of their softball players switching over to play lacrosse this season. Red Bank will also be tough and St. John Vianney always plays hard no matter what the sport is.”
Red Bank Catholic will play a nondivisional game at Shore today at 10 a.m. Last season the Caseys posted a 9-8 win over the Blue Devils in the season opener, and edged them, 10-8, in the semifinals of the Shore Conference Tournament.