By Kate Hegel, Assistant Sports Editor, and Grace Child, Assistant News Editor
As the fall teams headed into the home stretch of an unprecedented season, the community gathered in person and virtually for a pep rally on Nov. 13, which culminated with a celebration of the school’s second consecutive ShopRite Cup award. The Monarchs won the coveted award, given jointly by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) and the Wakefern Corporation, for outstanding state tournament performance and sportsmanship throughout the 2019-20 school year.
Just two days earlier, on Nov. 11 the senior class gathered to congratulate Jessica Zebrowski’s commitment to continue her swimming career as an NCAA Division I scholarship athlete at Fordham University in New York. Zebrowski signed her NCAA National Letter of Intent with her parents on the first official Signing Day of the school year.
The soccer team finished their first-ever undefeated regular season with a 6-0-1 record. Two shutouts, one over Ranney on Oct. 26 and Keyport on Oct. 14, as well as a memorable overtime win against St. Rose on Oct. 22 contributed to the impressive team record.
“[The St. Rose game] was so intense and exciting the entire time. We just had a lot of fun…but it was also really hard,” freshman Kaylin McCarthy said.
The winning streak continued into the NJSIAA tournament when the Monarchs, led by head coach Fausto Klinger, assistant coach Amy White and captains senior Gabby Sorrentino, senior Anna Torres and junior Cameryn Keane, won their first round game against Donovan Catholic with a score of 3-2 on Nov. 18. The team continued on to second round play on Nov. 20, competing against No. 3 ranked Red Bank Catholic at Count Basie Park, but lost 8-0.
The cross country team also completed another successful season. Led by head coach Tony Avallone alongside assistant coach Chelsea Bollerman and captains senior Ally Lawson, senior Anna Ferrigine, senior Lucy Retterer and junior Madeline Barber, the team won all of their dual meets, continuing the school’s undefeated streak.
The team finished as the Central B Champions and went on to win the Non Public B State Championship on Nov. 15 in Clark. All seven of the runners who competed in the race (Lawson, Ferrigine, Retterer, Barber, junior Haven Dora, junior Kate Hegel and freshman Hayla Dora) finished in the top 25 with two top five performances by Barber who finished second and freshman Dora who finished fourth.
The team also celebrated the final season with Avallone, who has dedicated countless hours to the success of the Monarch cross country and track programs throughout his time as head coach.
“Coach Avallone was the best coach, and he is definitely going to be missed. I’m happy that we ended the season on a good note, and I’m also happy to have been able to be a part of such a fun season with this great team,” junior Liz Page said.
The tennis team had a historic season this year, finishing the regular season with an undefeated 10-0 record and making it to the semi-finals of the NJSIAA Tournament in the Non-Public Central East E division. In eight of their ten regular season matches, the Monarchs did not lose a game, finishing each match with a final score of 5-0.
After achieving the first undefeated regular season in program history, the team moved on to the first round of the NJSIAA tournament on Oct. 27, where they defeated Wardlaw-Hartridge with a score of 5-0. In the semi-finals on Nov. 3, the Monarchs faced Oak Knoll, where their impressive season came to a close when they lost with a final score of 1-4.
Overall it was the uplifting environment of the team that cultivated their success this year. “Everyone was just so happy all the time, and I just think our positivity just really helped us,” returning sophomore Catharine Little said .
Led by coaches Marion Richardson, Amanda Boccardi and Alexa Carini, and captains senior Hannah McCarthy, junior Sarah Nejame and junior Ellery Benedict, the field hockey team finished with an overall 3-4-1 record, going 3-3-1 in the Shore Conference. The young program is only in its third year of competition and has continued to improve every season.
“It’s just been really crazy to see how far we’ve come, especially since last year we lost a lot of players [to graduation], but the way that our team has stepped up when we play teams of better skill than us…is really amazing,” junior Melina Conhegan said.
During the team’s Oct. 28 game against Keyport, sophomore goalkeeper Fiona Corrigan led the team to a shutout, blocking two shots on goal to secure a win for the Monarchs. Two days later on Oct. 30, a game against Henry Hudson signaled the bright future that could lie ahead for the field hockey program. Henry Hudson has historically proven to be tough competition, beating the Monarchs for the past two seasons. This year, junior Abby Stevens scored a tying goal for a 1-1 game, demonstrating how far the team has come in just three years.
“For being only in our third year, the development of both our new players and our seasoned players is extremely impressive. I can’t wait to see what’s to come for the team,” Nejame said.
The sailing team also enjoyed success this season with the most girls participating in the program since the school’s start. Led by coaches Keith and Brian Taboata and junior captains Ella Bilow and Sydney Gussmer, the team competed in a number of regattas, including the NJISA Fall 2020 Series 2 Regatta on Oct. 21, where they finished in sixth place.
“I’m really proud of all the freshmen and the new girls on the team for learning how to sail, especially during these hard times,” Bilow said. The team is now looking forward to an exciting spring season.