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Maurer challenges Redbirds to soar to greatness

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Coming into her fifth season, Kim Maurer, the Allentown High School head girls’ soccer coach, is setting the bar high for her team this year.

The Redbirds finished 12-7 last year and advanced to the semifinals of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Central Jersey, Group 3 tournament, where they fell to the eventual Group 3 co-champion, Wall High School, 5-0.

Maurer expects her team to improve this year and issued the challenge to her girls to pursue greatness.

“Last year’s 12-7 record would be a disappointment this year,” Maurer said. “We want to improve on what we did last year, and that includes being a game better in the state tournament and making the finals.”

Maurer believes her team is up for the challenge.

“We’ve got such a great group of girls this year,” Maurer said. “We’ve got a lot of experience. We have nine starters returning this year. These girls are so talented and smart. We can really do some things this year.”

Maurer thinks the one thing that could hold the team back is a tough start to the season. Last year, the team started slow and received a low seed in the state tournament. Maurer believes that in order for the team to be successful, it must start the season strong.

“Our first three games of the season will set the tone for the year,” Maurer said. “We play Notre Dame, Hopewell Valley and Steinert to begin the season. Those are all very tough games.”

Maurer will have to work with a talented, but very inexperienced, front line this year.

“We have a lot of young talent at forward,” Maurer said. “We have two freshmen starting up top, so I look to the veterans to guide them and show them the ropes. But I’m confident that they are going to be successful. They are going to be good.”

Allentown’s freshman class is a very talented group — one that Maurer is excited about right now and for the future.

“I’ve had 12 freshmen up for all of our scrimmages,” Maurer said. “Obviously, we have two of them starting. Unfortunately, I can’t keep all of them right now. They are all going to be up here in two years. This class is amazing.”

Before they can get to the varsity team, the majority of the freshman class will play for Maurer’s father, Bob, on the freshman team. Maurer believes that the pipeline from her father to her helps keep the team in contention every year.

“Just to have my dad as part of the program is great,” Maurer said. “He teaches the freshmen what I do. So when they come to me, they’re ready, instead of me teaching them all over again, teaching them something brand new and taking that time away. When they come up here, they are ready, technical-wise and skill-wise. So I’m very grateful.”

Maurer hopes the team will develop leadership early on.

“I have a small senior class. There’s only five of them. They have to lead a young group,” Maurer said. “So even with the freshmen, just make them feel welcome and a part of the program. So leadership will be very important.”

Maurer will count on the leadership of Emma Pascarella, a junior forward; Alex Searing, a junior midfielder; Vanessa Rodriguez, a sophomore midfielder; and Abby Howell, a junior goalkeeper.

The Redbirds will start their season at home against Notre Dame High School on Sept. 7 at 4 p.m.

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