Success begins early for players on Monroe lacrosse team


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By Jimmy Allinder

It’s often said the seeds of success are planted at the grassroots level, and that’s certainly been the case with the Monroe Township High School girls lacrosse team.

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The Falcons are 12-6 and advanced to the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Tournament championship game May 14 — a program first — before being defeated by top-seeded North Brunswick Township High School, 21-12. The loss, however, hasn’t put a damper on a program that is definitely headed in the right direction.

“Our feeder program [sponsored by the township recreation department] has grown to be a great starting point for all prospective players in the younger elementary and middle school grades,” head coach Carly Welsh said. “Girls that were introduced to lacrosse then are now making their way to the high school with skills and game sense that are so much better than those without experience.”

Because of the wealth of talent, Welsh has utilized all 25 players on the roster in different combinations to determine the best starting lineup. That will continue to be the case as Monroe looks forward to the NJSIAA South Jersey, Group IV sectional May 18, when the eighth-seeded Falcons will host ninth-seeded Egg Harbor Township High School in the first round.

Welsh says there has been a nucleus of players to start each match. Senior midfielder Jenna Morelli is the team leader in goals with 55 (she has over 100 for her career), and junior attack Kara Turco has netted 54 goals (she has a school-record 202 career points). Junior Nicole Cardinali and seniors Bri Pasqua and Amy Patel (defenders) have been outstanding in front of senior goaltender Josie Pagano, who has over 500 career saves. Junior midfielder Courtney Frycz has deposited 17 goals.

Another pair of players who have contributed to the scoring are junior Lesley Lane (26 goals) and freshman midfielder Liz Skobelev (25 goals).

With Monroe’s unprecedented success this season, Welsh believes the future of the program can only get better.

“The next couple of years are going to show we have what it takes to make a name for ourselves,” Welsh said. “Not only is the number of girls coming out for the sport increasing, but they are investing in what it takes to become skilled before they reach the high school level.

“I used to have a full team of girls that had never held a lacrosse stick, let alone play the game. The more experienced players on the team, the better we will be.”

Monroe’s boys win GMC tourney

The Monroe boys lacrosse team (15-3) won the GMC Tournament title May 14 with an 8-3 victory over Saint Joseph High School of Metuchen. The victory avenges a regular-season defeat, 8-7, to the Falcons — Monroe’s only loss in conference play, which cost it the regular-season crown.

The Falcons earned the third seed in South Jersey, Group IV and hosted 14th-seeded Howell High School in the first round May 18.

Tenth-seeded East Brunswick High School (11-7) also qualified in South Jersey, Group IV and was on the road May 18 to take on seventh-seeded Freehold Township High School.

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