Red Bank Catholic girls’ soccer team wins one title and will focus on another

Red Bank Catholic girls soccer player Reagan Pauwels winds up for a kick during a game at Count Basie Park in Red Bank on Sept. 17.
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Red Bank Catholic girls soccer player Reagan Pauwels winds up for a kick during a game at Count Basie Park in Red Bank on Sept. 17.

Back in September, Red Bank Catholic High School girls’ soccer coach Frank Lawrence made a prophetic statement to his players.

He told them all the following.

“We should expect to be playing in title games at the end of the year,” Lawrence said. “As long as we stay focused on what we do well.”

“We’re a passing, moving and attacking team,” he added. “When we do those things, we’re really good.”

On Oct. 23 at Shore Regional High School in west Long Branch, Red Bank Catholic played in a title game, the Shore Conference Tournament title game against Toms River High School North.

And in that title game, the Caseys passed, they moved and they attacked, and they were really good, too.

Red Bank Catholic beat Toms River North, 2-0, outshooting the Mariners, 15-5.

Junior Emma Bruther and sophomore Morgan Cupo scored RBC’s goals in the first half, effectively putting the game away. Sophomore goalkeeper Cleo Grignard made the five saves she had to make to preserve the shutout.

By winning on Oct. 23, the Caseys earned their first Shore Conference title since 2013 and unseated the defending Shore Confernece champion in Toms River North.

Red Bank Catholic has really been great all year. The Caseys started 4-0 and are now 15-1-1.

But Lawrence, ever the perfectionist, wasn’t satisfied with his team’s play earlier in the season.

“We have a long way to go in terms of growth,” he said in September. “We’re not anywhere near our capability.”

“But that makes me feel great about our team,” the coach added. 

It was yet another prophetic statement. RBC has done nothing but get better since, going 10-0-1 and beating eight opponents by double digits.

Cupo and senior Reagan Pauwels have emerged into a dynamic offensive trio. Cupo has 20 goals and seven assists while Pauwels has 14 goals and 12 assists.

Senior Katelyn Bertoldo has also contributed a lot on the offensive side, with 10 goals and seven assists. But the offense doesn’t even stop with that trio.

Senior Madison Holloway has a goal and seven assists. Sophomore Abby Nadjzinowicz has four goals and five assists. Junior Aubrey Silverman has two goals and five assists. Senior Paige Theobald has two goals and 10 assists. And Bruther has three goals and four assists.

This dynamic, multi-faceted group will be tough to stop in the NJSIAA South Jersey, Non-Public A Tournament. The Caseys, as the No. 2 seed, will get a bye in the first round on Oct. 28.

Then they will play as the host to either Paul VI High School, the No. 7 seed, or St. Thomas Aquinas High School, the No. 10 seed, in the quarterfinals on Oct. 31. If RBC wins two state sectional playoff games, it will get to play in another title game on Nov. 7.

The state group final will be played on Nov. 10 at Kean University in Union. And RBC expects to be in that, too.

“We’re a pretty confident group,” Lawrence said.

The Caseys have every reason to be. They have outscored their opponents 66-14 this fall. Now they just have to make their coach’s original prophecy become even more true.

“I always believed we had a lot of talent coming back, plus some new players,” Lawrence said.