ALLENTOWN – The 2021 season represents the start of a new era for the Allentown High School girls soccer program in the eyes of Coach Kim Maurer.
The Redbirds will have eight new faces in their starting lineup in 2021 after seven starters from the 2020 squad graduated in June.
“It’s a new start and it’s their time to shine and their time to win something,” Maurer said. “We are very young, but young provides a lot of spark and energy on the field.”
The last four years have been very successful for the Redbirds, who were 10-3-1 in 2020 during a season that was shortened by the coronavirus pandemic. From 2017-20, Allentown went 66-13-2 and won the 2017 NJSIAA Group III state championship.
The 2021 Redbirds want to continue the program’s successful run.
“I think we will have a good season,” senior Emme Maglione said. “I think if we practice hard and learn how to play together, we can be just as good.”
Maglione is one of three starters returning from 2020 and will line up as a center midfielder.
In 2020, Maglione scored four goals and added an assist. In 2021, she will focus on advancing the ball and playing it to the Redbirds’ forwards.
“I’m hoping to start a lot of plays and get the ball up the field to my forwards so they can score some goals and help the team win,” she said.
Allentown returns its top goal scorer from 2020 in sophomore Bella Conti, who scored 14 goals in her debut season.
Conti said her freshman campaign was “really fun” and said she learned a lot from last year’s seniors.
She hopes to pass that knowledge on to the underclassmen and the new players on the varsity squad to help the team have a great season.
Conti said she has her sights set on reaching the program’s single-season record of 20 goals.
“That’s a goal of mine,” she said.
Sophomore Lindsay Hines returns to the starting lineup in midfield. Hines scored three goals and added three assists in 2020.
Allentown sustained a tough loss during preseason when returning starter, senior Christina Golden, suffered a season-ending leg injury. Golden dished out five assists in 2020 and was expected to play a key role at center back.
Maurer said losing Golden, who would have started for a fourth year, is “huge” because of her experience and athleticism.
Samantha Allen is slated to move into Golden’s position on the back line. Allen scored two goals in 2020 and Maurer said she believes the sophomore will hold her own at the position.
Senior Ari Bruno, juniors Fallon Mazza and Norah Mosley, and freshmen Isabella Knott, Martha Olorunnisola and Jadelyn Sayraef are looking to earn their way into the starting lineup.
Maurer said she believes the 2021 Redbirds have the ability to be among the top teams in the Colonial Valley Conference and to make a run in the Central Jersey Group III state sectional tournament.
“We train wanting to be at the top of the CVC and I don’t expect anything less from these girls. They want to be up there. We have all the talent in the world to continue the tradition we have had in the past,” the coach said.
Allentown will host Hopewell Valley in its season opener on Sept. 8.