The Ocean Township High School girls lacrosse team finished with a 13-9 overall record.
“We had a strong senior class that led the team with its dedication, hard work and togetherness,” said Heather Krueger, the Spartans’ fourth-year coach. “Our team was able to work together and create opportunities for each other. The team set a school record for one season with 190 assists.”
Krueger said the Spartans played each game hard.
“Our team was aggressive this year,” she said. “It hustled to every ground ball. It caused turnovers. We really focused on not giving up second or third attempts on defense. In some of our close games, this was key.”
One of the team’s top players was senior Lila Rice. She scored 29 goals and handed out 15 assists for 44 points. She caused 36 turnovers and added 62 ground balls and 46 draw controls. Headed for the University of Hawaii, she was third on the team in ground balls.
“Lila was an unexpected star this season,” Krueger said. “In only her second year on our varsity team, she had a huge impact. Her speed in the midfield helped the team tremendously both on the offensive and defensive end.”
First-year varsity player Allison Stuppi competed with the poise of a veteran. The junior midfielder put home 14 goals and added 15 assists for 29 points. She added 57 ground balls and six forced turnovers. She was fourth on the club in ground balls.
“Allison was another unexpected star this season,” Krueger said. “She started in every game and had an impact in every game. She was confident with the ball and held onto the ball in some tight games when we needed possession. She also had the ability to pick up 50-50 ground balls.”
Maggie Mulvaney enjoyed a productive season. The sophomore attack netted 41 goals and handed out 16 assists for 57 points. She hustled to 36 ground balls, forced 14 turnovers and added two draw controls. She spiced her season with a career-high five goals in a win over Wall Township in the quarterfinals of the Shore Conference Tournament.
“Maggie had a breakout year, Krueger said.
Senior Jamie Richter, bound for the University of Mississippi, played a large role in the team’s success. The midfielder scored three goals and handed out seven assists for 10 points. She added 43 ground balls, 30 forced turnovers and six draw controls.
“Jamie anchored our defense with her aggressive play and voice,” Krueger said. “She was a vocal defender who communicated superbly with her teammates, helping them to double and slide when needed.”
Another first-year varsity player who sparkled was Amber Kilroy. The sophomore notched her 100th career save and finished the season with 147 stops. She made 12 saves in close losses to St. John Vianney and Trinity Hall.
“Amber had a breakout year,” Krueger said.
The Spartans’ top players were senior midfielder Morgan Bartlett and junior midfielder Taylor Herr.
Bartlett, who has signed a National Letter of Intent to play for Monmouth University, led the team in goals (78), assists (52), points (130), draw controls (172), forced turnovers (49) and ground balls (92) this season. She finished her career with 223 goals, 109 assists, a school career-record 252 draw controls and added 300 ground balls. This year, she set the Spartans’ single-season records in draw controls and assists.
“Morgan had a stellar career,” Krueger said.
Bartlett scored more than 1,000 career points in girls basketball for the Spartans.
Herr, who has verbally committed to compete for Wagner College, was second on the Spartans in goals (78), assists (48), points (120), draw controls (77), forced turnovers (46) and ground balls (78).
“Tayor had a great junior season,” Krueger said. “She dominated the draw, being able to place the ball to Morgan wherever she wanted to. Her ability in the circle allowed Morgan to be able to win the draws so frequently.”
Other contributors to the team’s success were senior defender Carlie Baatz, Kelly Bartlett, Emily Brown, Cindy Cetoute, senior defender Isabella Downs, Isabella Enriquez, Reese Hoyle, freshman defender Liz Krenkel, Kenna McGovern, Sydney Stout, senior attack Hayley Wade and Elise Wanner.
Baatz,who will attend the University of Delaware, finished the season with one goal, 22 forced turnovers and 35 ground balls. Kelly Bartlett added one assist and five ground balls. Brown wound up with three goals, two assists, three draw controls, four caused turnovers and 23 ground balls. Cetoute handed out one assist. Headed for Elon University, Downs put one goal, three assists, one draw control, 16 caused turnovers and 27 ground balls into the book.
Enriquez finished with four forced turnovers and three ground balls. Hoyle finished with one goal, one assist and four ground balls. Krenkel added one assist, 20 caused turnovers and 29 ground balls. McGovern added 14 goals, 10 assists, one draw control, five caused turnovers and 31 ground balls.
Stout, who will attend James Madison University, added four forced turnovers and seven ground balls. The Monmouth-bound Wade finished the season with 17 goals, 10 assists, four forced turnovers and 34 ground balls. Wanner added four goals, five assists, four caused turnovers and 21 ground balls.
The owner of a 53-30 career record at Ocean, Krueger said she enjoyed coaching this year’s team.
“This group of girls was a pleasure to coach,” she said. “They really embody the idea of team. They supported one another and their coaches every day. They focused on winning and losing as a team and didn’t worry about anything else. They had great personalities and made coming to coach enjoyable each day.”