South girls playing like an elite team early on
BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer The Middletown High School South field hockey team is off to a fine 5-2-1 start under new coach Sarah Boyce. The Eagles have used a ball control attack and solid defense, led by goalie Kelly Harris, to stymie opponents. “Our girls move the ball very well and our fast break has been outstanding,” Boyce said. “We’ve dominated just about every game from a shots-on-goal perspective; we’re not scoring quite as much as I’d like, but the girls are getting the chances.” Thus far, Melanie Oliveri is Middletown South’s top scorer with seven goals, while Carly Dempsey has a pair of goals to go along with four assists. Midfielders Amy Knudsen, Brittany Murray and Laura Boudreau, a junior, are solid two-way performers who augment the offense. Defensively, the Eagles have been solid in front of Harris, who has recorded five shutouts. Samantha Levinson, Samantha Rohlander and junior Rachel Clabby are the backs, with sophomore Beth McLaughlin playing sweeper. Boyce also noted that her team has plenty of depth. Alyssa Guderian, juniors Lisa Bennett and Brianna Marzigliano and sophomore Carroll Lindsey provide support up front, with Renee Yuen and junior Renee D’Amore backing up the middle. Junior Melanie Miller and sophomore Sara Howard are the reserve fullbacks. While Boyce noted that her team is in good shape (so far) to qualify for the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III playoffs, several games remain, including the possibility of make-up games, before the Oct. 22 cut-off. Teams must be at .500 or above at the end of play that day to qualify for the tourney. “I think our team is a bit underrated,” she said. “We really have a lot of talent here. I think we’ll surprise some people in the tournaments.” Boyce, who served as junior varsity mentor last season, assumed the helm after former coach Bill LaFalce left to accept an administrative post at Middletown High School North. A Seton Hall grad, Boyce played field hockey under the tutelage of Sal Principe in Keyport. She teaches science at Middletown South.