East Brunswick (7) at South Brunswick (9), Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament, Final Round - Girls Lacrosse
Star-Ledger, May 14, 2013 9:50 p.m.
By Richard Greco
At the beginning of the season, senior captain Elle Hvozdovic made a pact with her South Brunswick teammates. Nobody was allowed to eat at Hoagie Haven in Princeton until they brought home the trophy from the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament.
A month and a half has passed since that promise, but Hvozdovic can finally lead her squad to its go-to restaurant after bringing top-seeded South Brunswick its fifth consecutive GMCT title with a 9-7 victory over second-seeded East Brunswick yesterday at East Brunswick.
The victory marked South Brunswick's 64th consecutive triumph over GMC opponents as well as its third time defeating East Brunswick this season.
"My senior year was the most important to me," said Hvozdovic, who finished with three assists. "As seniors it was our time to guide the team. We knew we needed to help this team get comfortable, relax and just play our game. It was nerve racking at first, but we knew what we needed to do and we're all going to Hoagie Haven tonight."
South Brunswick's seniors did not take long to set the tone. Within the first seven minutes, seniors Marissa Cavett and AnneMarie Rolwood and junior Kelly Ciabattone each found the back of the net off South Brunswick's first three shots of the game to jump to a 3-0 lead.
Cavett's goal meant a little bit more than just a two-goal lead. After spending three years on South Brunswick's varsity squad, it was the 100th career goal for Cavett.
"It makes winning this so much better," said Cavett, who finished with two goals and an assist.
East Brunswick went on a run of its own when Stephanie Chou scored a goal sandwiched between two from Courtney Donlon within a span of two minutes. The streak was created by three consecutive draw wins for East Brunswick and cut South Brunswick's lead to 5-4, which forced coach John Coppola to take South Brunsiwck's first timeout with six minutes remaining in the half.
"He just said to relax and get your heads back in the game," said Hvozdovic, who is set to play lacrosse for Elon University next spring. "He said we need to restart and pretend its 0-0. Each of their goals they got off the draw and just went. He really pushed the draw control, and for me I knew I had to step it up because we need the draws."
Hvozdovic kept working hard in the second half, and after a near even first half at the draw circle, South Brunswick won all but one draw in the second half. Hvozdovic's consistent play allowed South Brunswick to pull away after Rolwood netted her third goal of the game and Ryan scored her second within the half's first five minutes to give South Brunswick an 8-4 lead.
Goals from Donlon and Hunter Fecskovics helped East Brunswick cut into South Brunswick's lead, but East Brunswick could not pull to within two goals.
South Brunswick wins fifth straight GMCT girls lacrosse title
AST BRUNSWICK — John Coppola doesn’t like to talk about how dominant his South Brunswick High School girls lacrosse squad has been against their Greater Middlesex Conference opponents.
Since April of 2009, the Vikings have not lost a conference game, something that has been talked about ad nauseam within the league.
So, you can imagine where Coppola is coming from.
“It’s something that we don’t try to talk about internally,” Coppola said, referring to South Brunswick’s 63-game conference winning streak going into Tuesday’s GMC Tournament finals. “We’ve always taken it one game at a time.”
But it was business as usual for South Brunswick on Tuesday night as the top-seeded Vikings knocked off the second-seeded Bears of East Brunswick, 9-7, at East Brunswick’s Jay Doyle Field for their fifth consecutive GMCT crown and 64th straight conference victory.
“When you sit back and have a chance to think about it, these girls and the girls that have graduated the last couple of years have put together a really nice program for us, so we’re very happy and proud of our girls,” Coppola said, moments before he was doused in a celebratory Gatorade shower.
Unlike in years past, the Vikings (14-2) had their work cut out for them in their quest to extend the streak and take home another title, particularly against East Brunswick (11-7).
The Bears fought the Vikings tooth and nail this year, most notably dropping an 11-10 overtime affair back on April 16.
“We knew coming in here East Brunswick was going to give us everything they had because they had played us so tough throughout the year,” senior Elle Hvozdovic said. “Mental preparation played a huge part in the buildup to this game.”
Hvozdovic played a huge part in this game, finishing with three assists in helping the Vikings take a 6-4 halftime advantage.
Coming out of intermission, South Brunswick scored a pair of quick goals courtesy of AnneMarie Rolwood and Emily Ryan. Marissa Cavett scored the final South Brunswick goal off a pass from Hvozdovic which gave South Brunswick a 9-5 lead with just under 20 minutes remaining in regulation.
East Brunswick, which trailed by scores of 3-0 and 5-1 respectively in the first half, scored three unanswered goals in the first half from Steph Chou and two goals from Courtney Donlon.
Donlon added another goal in the second half to give her three for the game and teammate Hunter Fecskovics scored twice, one in each half.
Rolwood led the Vikings with three goals while teammates Kelly Ciabattone, Ryan and Cavett scored two goals each.
Vikings advance to 5th straight GMC final
South Brunswick High School defeated Monroe 16-6 in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament semifinals to reach its fifth straight final.
Seniors Elle Hvozdovic (six goals and an assist) and Marissa Cavett (three goals and an assist) led the Vikings (13-2) to victory over the Falcons (7-8). Teammate Kelly Ciabattone added three goals, while sophomore goaltender Liz Ruedemann stopped 15 shots.
Amanda Salvadore and Brittany Ballack sparked Monroe’s losing effort with three goals apiece.
South Brunswick will square off with East Brunswick in the GMC championship at East Brunswick High School on Tuesday, May 14, at 6 p.m.
South Brunswick girls lacrosse beats Old Bridge
OLD BRIDGE — If you were looking for a girls lacrosse game that featured two of the top teams in a conference with great defenses, you had it Saturday morning.
South Brunswick’s goalkeeper Liz Ruedemann, and the defense in front of her, held rival Old Bridge to four goals on the Knights’ 17 shots en route to a 7-4 victory.
“Liz was outstanding in goal,” said South Brunswick head coach John Coppola. “She definitely shut down some of their opportunities but she definitely had good help up front too.”
The Vikings defense did an especially sound job on Old Bridge’s top scorer Caitlyn Nemeth. Nemeth scored one goal but every time she handled the ball, the defense would collapse on her forcing her outside. The agile junior had a tough day.
“We played very good team defense,” said Coppola. “The last two days of practice we really prepared and focused for that and we just executed today.”
Elle Hvozdovic led the Vikings offense in the win. Hvozdovic scored the first goal of the game. She continued her onslaught of scoring in the second half scoring the first goal of the second half through traffic and then adding another one right after that.
“We had a tough time putting the ball on their goalie,” said Coppola. “We had a lot of shot opportunities in the first half but just could not finish. The second half we were able to convert and I thought it was a well-played game by both teams.”
Hvozdovic used her height to her advantage in helping Vikings to the win. Teammate Emily Ryan scored two goals for South Brunswick and Marissa Cavett made a shifty move to the net through Knights traffic to put a goal in for her.
Old Bridge did not go down without a fight. Late in the second half Samantha Potts and Bri McCormack scored goals bringing the team to within one goal of tying the game up. However, the Knights’ defense broke down and allowed the Vikings to reel off three straight to ultimately seal the win.
The win for the Vikings (9-1) marks the season sweep against the Knights (6-3). South Brunswick now has an 11-game win streak against Old Bridge, with the last loss coming in April 2008 when the Knights won 12-8.
“We’re ecstatic (about the win),” Coppola said. “We knew they were going to be one of our tough opponents in the division. We have a very good chance of seeing them again in the GMC tournament.”
April 10, 2013
TEAM TO WATCH: South Brunswick is undefeated through three games this season. Led by seven goals from Elle Hvozdovic, South Brunswick defeated rival East Brunswick, 14-10, last Saturday. Hvozdovic leads the team with 15 goals and will need to continue her hot streak when South Brunswick travels to undefeated Old Bridge on Saturday at 10 a.m.
SBHS beats North Brunswick
North Brunswick (7) at South Brunswick (13) - Girls Lacrosse
Star-Ledger, April 04, 2013 9:52 p.m.
By Richard Greco
When North Brunswick took the field playing a zone defense, South Brunswick's attackers knew they would have space to operate behind the net.
South Brunswick would not take that space for granted, as attackers Marissa Cavett and Emily Ryan dictated play from below the goal line.
Playing behind the net gave Cavett and Ryan options. The attackers could play catch as their teammates set up in an arc formation along the outside of the attacking zone, or they could roll off the net, split North Brunswick's zone and take a shot point blank in the wide open middle of the field.
The second route seemed the most ideal for the duo, and behind seven combined goals from Ryan (four) and Cavett (three), South Brunswick earned a 13-7 triumph over North Brunswick yesterday in Monmouth Junction.
"We were reading the defenders and seeing if they were pressuring high or low and if they were going up with me or staying behind with Emily," said Cavett, a senior who added an assist. "It's a lot of just reading people, and that's how you score goals from behind the net."
Center midfielder Elle Hvozdovic also did not have trouble reading North Brunswick's defenders. The co-captain was the focal point of the offense when the ball was in front of the net. Hvozdovic quarterbacked South Brunswick's swing play and broke North Brunswick's zone with backdoor passes. By the game's final buzzer, the Elon University-bound senior had set up three goals while finding the back of the net herself twice in the process.
"At the beginning of the game I was being face guarded, so I tried to pull out and create space," Hvozdovic said. "I was pulling out, drawing the double team and feeding the middle. When they're in the zone, they create the space in the middle, so we just use that."
Defensively, South Brunswick played a backer-defense that relies on communication to stay in position and trap attacking players. The aggressive defense clogged the middle of the attacking zone and created loose balls any time North Brunswick attempted to penetrate.
Despite having to fight off double and even triple coverage every time she had the ball, Samantha Mehalick of North Brunswick created scoring chances and found the back of the net four times.
outh Brunswick girls look to extend lacrosse winning streak
Written by Ryan Gaydos Editorial Intern
By the numbers
Last time the Vikings lost a GMC game. Amount of wins South Brunswick has since 2009. Amount of seniors the Vikings lost this season. Consecutive GMC titles.
After winning the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament title for the fourth consecutive time last season, the South Brunswick High School girls lacrosse team is looking to build upon the dominance that it has established over last few years.
The Vikings have not lost a GMC game since April 8, 2009, when they fell, 9-8, to East Brunswick, with a record of 63-10 since 2009.
“What makes us unique is that we focus a lot on the defense,” South Brunswick coach John Coppola said. “We take a lot of pride in our defense and we try to create a lot of turnovers and when that happens it creates fastbreak opportunities to score points.”
However, after losing 10 seniors from last season and coming off another loss in the state tournament, Coppola senses that this year is not going to be the easiest one.
“We graduated 10 seniors and they played at the varsity level for three, four years,” he said. “It gave us a lot of continuity.”
The rainy weather that has plagued March is not helping the Vikings either.
“We have a young team and things have been slow,” Coppola said. “The weather has been inconsistent, but I’m sure we’ll get better as the season goes on.”
Two players are returning to help the high-powered offense.
Senior Elle Hvozdozic is bringing 60 goals and 45 assists back to the field, and senior teammate Marissa Cavett is back wiith 27 goals and eight assists.
On the defensive side, the Vikings had to bring in a new crop of defenders from the junior varsity level. Eileen Rolwood, Sarah Shaffer and Anya Singh-Verma are in front of goalie Lizzie Ruedemann.
The Vikings begin their season with back-to-back home games, hosting Monroe and North Brunswick.
The Vikings are also looking forward to games with Old Bridge, whoich boasts a veteran team.
“Old Bridge is definitely going to be a strong team,” said Coppola. “They have a similar style as we do — athletic and scrappy. Monroe and East Brunswick are also some of the teams we are focusing on.
“I definitely think we have the potential if we play to our ability,” Coppola said. “It is our goal to win a fifth GMC championship.”