Recognize New Jersey

Updated: February 17, 2009, 1:57 PM ET
ESPNRISE.com

Girls' Lacrosse - Moorestown


It's been pretty easy to make lacrosse predictions for New Jersey over the past decade, as Moorestown has claimed the past nine Tournament of Champions crowns. Is there any real reason to go on a limb and anoint another team as a contender? Probably not. "The players have high expectations for themselves," says head coach Deanna Knobloch. "None of them want to be the team that lets down and stops the streak." The Quakers return five seniors from last year's 24-1 team, and the offense is set with Alyssa Ogle running the show. The senior midfielder was an All-America selection last year after scoring 58 goals and racking up 25 assists, and the three-year varsity starter is expected to take on more of a leadership role. "This is one of the youngest teams we've had during this run," says Knobloch, "so Alyssa is one of the players that will take the younger girls under her wing and show them how to win."Two of those younger players are junior attacks Kelsey Miller and Katrina Martinelli, both of whom are capable of scoring 30 goals this season. The only returning starting defender is junior Claire MacDougall, and Knobloch says the defensive game plan will revolve around her athletic ability. Junior Jenna Dougherty is a fast riser and should be a force by season's end, and the goalie tandem of senior Karli Tobin and sophomore Bridget Bianco is championship-caliber.



Baseball - Don Bosco Prep


The Ironmen enjoyed a banner year in 2008, going 33-0, winning the Non-Public A state title and finishing the season ranked as one of the top teams in the country. Some key players have graduated (Steven Proscia, Mike Dennhardt), but senior center fielder Brett Knief is a five-tool player with a scholarship to North Carolina, and senior shortstop Anthony Gomez might be the best two-way infielder in the state. Senior lefty Niko Spezial should step forward to be the ace of the rotation.



Softball - Mater Dei


The Seraphs won the Non-Public B state title last year, largely on the strength of Sara Cline's dominant pitching. With Cline graduated, other players will have to step up if Mater Dei is to contend again. Senior outfielder Danielle Murphy batted .407 last year and made a big impact as a table-setter in the postseason, and junior outfielder Jessie Sobko will be counted on to produce in the middle of the order.



Boys' Track - Egg Harbor


Tejay Johnson was on the verge of a double championship at the Meet of Champions last year, but he finished second in the 200 and was disqualified from the 100 after winning the preliminary heat. He's still just a junior, so this could be his year. In addition to Johnson's mission, senior Harold Lathan is another athlete to watch. He ran the anchor leg of Egg Harbor's 4x100 relay last year, and he and Johnson could make it a championship squad this season.



BREAKOUT TEAMS


SOFTBALL  ISELIN KENNEDY
Senior Heather Corica has to be in the "state's best pitcher" conversation.

BOYS' TRACK  W.W. PLAINSBORO SOUTH
Can junior Keith Griffith win the 800 at the M of C?

GIRLS' LACROSSE  RIDGEWOOD
Upset in postseason last year, senior Casey Bakker has the Maroons focused.

BASEBALL  ST. JOHN VIANNEY
Senior Ken Dietrich has to provide a big bat for the Lancers.