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Redbirds open 2022 lacrosse season with victory over Hopewell Valley

Allentown High School girls lacrosse player Chloe Conti wins the draw against Hopewell Valley's Peyton Branagh during a game played on March 30 in Allentown. Conti scored a game-high five goals to help Allentown win its season opener over Hopewell Valley 14-10.

ALLENTOWN — The spring of 2021 saw the Allentown High School girls lacrosse team rise back up to prominence as the Redbirds soared to a 16-1 record and reached the championship game of the NJSIAA state sectional tournament.

As the 2022 season gets underway, Coach Jen Garavente believes her players have what it takes to build on last season’s success and to make another run at winning a state sectional tournament championship.

“Last year’s team set a precedent and we are looking to build off that,” Garavente said. “We want to continue that legacy. I have seen all preseason that we are going to have a strong season.”

The Redbirds opened the 2022 season on March 30 when they hosted Colonial Valley Conference foe Hopewell Valley Central High School. Behind a five-goal performance by sophomore Chloe Conti, Allentown defeated the Bulldogs, 14-10.

“We really feel like we are picking up where we left off,” Garavente said. “It didn’t take long for us to gel together. From one end of the field to the other, I felt like we were really well rounded. It was nice to see the defense get a nice stop and then see the attack finish it on the other end.”

Conti, who scored 19 goals as a freshman, said she was “very excited” after scoring five goals in the 2022 season opener. She said the hard work she put in during the preseason paid off.

Conti scored three goals in the first half, including back-to-back goals in the final 3:00 of the half to help the Redbirds take a 7-3 lead at halftime.

When played resumed, Conti scored her fourth goal to put Allentown up 8-3. She scored her career-high fifth goal and Allentown’s final goal of the afternoon contest as the game neared its conclusion.

“I am very happy,” Conti said. “Everything worked out so well for us. All of our plays were working and we all worked really well together.”

Senior Jolee Roth scored four goals to help Allentown notch the victory.

Roth finished second on the team in goals scored in 2021 with 28. She said she believes the Redbirds can improve upon their performance of a year ago with this year’s mix of veterans and newcomers.

“I think we are going to do really great this season,” Roth said. “I think our team can be even better than last year’s team if we all step up.”

Senior Emily Ciccarone is another veteran on offense. Ciccarone led the team in assists in 2021 with 19, and she scored 14 goals.

Freshman midfielder/forward Delaney Nolan is a newcomer to the lineup. Garavente believes Nolan will have a successful first year and make an impact.

Nolan played well in her first varsity game, scoring two goals in the victory over Hopewell Valley.

Sophomore Miranda Ricciardi had a goal and an assist for the Redbirds against the Bulldogs. Emily Nolan and Abby Von Harten each scored a goal.

On defense, Allentown will be led by senior Megan Tanner and junior Lane Mintchwarner. Senior goalkeeper Reagan Stewart is ready to do her part to boost the team’s performance.

Garavente said she believed it was important to see her squad play a complete game in the season opener. She said playing each half “strong” helped the Redbirds secure the victory.

She is hopeful her squad can continue playing “Allentown Lacrosse” with contests against Shore Regional High School of West Long Branch and the Peddie School of Hightstown to finish out the first week of the season.

“I’m just looking for our team to continue to play together and to stay positive through any of the challenges we face this season,” Garavente said. “If we stay positive, all the rest will fall into place.”

Allentown High School girls lacrosse player Jolee Roth comes around a screen during the team's season opener against Hopewell Valley on March 30 in Allentown. Roth scored four goals to help Allentown defeat Hopewell Valley 14-10.
Allentown High School girls lacrosse player Delaney Nolan drives into the Hopewell Valley zone and makes a pass to a teammate during a game played on March 30 in Allentown. Nolan scored two goals in the contest.
Allentown High School girls lacrosse player Chloe Conti tries to drive past Hopewell Valley's Rory Danieluk to the net during a game played on March 30 in Allentown. Conti scored a game-high five goals in the contest.
Allentown High School girls lacrosse player Mya Lourenco controls the ball behind the Hopewell Valley net during a game played on March 30 in Allentown. Allentown won 14-10.
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