Allentown hitting stride as Mercer County Tournament looms


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The Allentown High School girls soccer team is finding its stride and on Oct. 14 the Redbirds won their fourth match in their past five games.

For the sixth time in 2021, the Redbirds scored four or more goals as they rolled to a 4-0 victory over Hamilton West High School of Hamilton Township to improve to 7-5-1.

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“We have been gelling together and finding the right formation that works for us,” Coach Kim Maurer said. “All of it is working well for us.”

In their last four victories, the Redbirds have scored 21 goals.

Before defeating Hamilton West on Oct. 14, the Redbirds defeated Ewing High School, 6-0, on Oct. 12 and did so without their top scorer, sophomore Bella Conti, who is sidelined with an injury. Conti has scored 10 goals this season after netting 14 goals as a freshman.

In Conti’s absence, Maurer has seen many players step up on the offensive end, starting with senior Ari Bruno, who had a terrific second half in the victory over Hamilton West.

Against Hamilton West, freshman Isabella Knott gave the Redbirds a 1-0 lead when she scored in the 30th minute.

Early in the second half, Bruno scored her eighth goal of the season and gave Allentown a 2-0 lead in the 45th minute. Bruno’s goal came on a penalty kick.

Bruno delivered assists on the Redbirds’ final two goals of the match. She assisted on Norah Mosley’s goal in the 52nd minute and then dished a beautiful pass to senior Kaylie Repko, who scored her second goal of the season in the 76th minute to cap the 4-0 victory.

“It feels really good,” Bruno said. “I’m happy we were able to put the ball in the back of the net. We were able to work together as a team to get the win.”

Maurer said Bruno has picked up her play in the team’s last four matches, with six goals and two assists in that span, giving her eight goals and a team-high seven assists this season.

Senior Emme Maglione has played well during the last five contests, with two goals and four assists, including an assist on Knott’s goal against Hamilton West.

Knott has scored four goals for the Redbirds, while Mosley ranks third on the team with five goals during her junior year.

Junior goalkeeper Ryann Keefe has been solid in net with three shutouts in Allentown’s last four matches. Keefe made 16 saves in Allentown’s 2-0 loss to Middletown South on Oct. 11.

Freshman Amanda Hoglund and sophomores Lindsey Hines and Samantha Allen have played well during the recent five-game stretch, Maurer said.

“It’s next man up. We are trying not to lose a step with Bella out. Players are picking up the slack. We like what we see right now,” the coach said.

The team’s recent stretch of strong play is a good sign for the Redbirds with the Mercer County Tournament scheduled to begin on Oct. 21.

Maurer said Conti may be ready to go by the start of the tournament. She said that would be a huge boost for the Redbirds as they take aim at winning a county title.

“She’s the hardest working girl on the team,” the coach said of Conti. “She draws attention from other teams because she can score a lot of goals.”

Allentown will play Hightstown on Oct. 16 and host Manalapan on Oct. 19 prior to the county tournament.

The victory over Hamilton West was special for Maurer and the players because it came on Senior Night. Bruno, Maglione, Repko, Camryn Beltran, Haley Williams, Caroline Gensinger, Samantha DiMiceli and Christina Golden were honored before the game.

Even though Beltran and Golden are out with season-ending injuries, Maurer put both players on the field for the first few seconds of the match to honor them for their time in and contributions to the program.

Maurer said it meant a “ton” to Beltran and Golden to be on the field one last time with their teammates.

“It’s the one night of the year that is dedicated to them,” Maurer said about Senior Night. “It’s their night and you get to honor them. It’s fun winning on Senior Night, too.”

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