It’s one of the best times of the year for high school athletics, as county and conference tournaments are being completed, and state tournament action is quickly approaching.

With that in mind, here’s a look at what teams in the Diocese of Trenton are up to in the grand scheme of things.


One champion and one near-champion.

That was the story on Oct. 28, as top-seeded Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, defeated third-seeded Toms River North, 3-0, in the championship game of the Shore Conference Tournament at Toms River North High School. It was the first SCT title since 2016 for the Colts, who improved their record to 17-1.

The news wasn’t quite as good for second-seeded Notre Dame, Lawrenceville, which lost the Mercer County Tournament final to Pennington Prep in agonizing fashion. The contest was scoreless through regulation and overtime before top-seeded Pennington won a shootout, 4-2, on penalty kicks at Hopewell Valley Central High School.

CBA got two goals from Will Thygeson – an unexpected source – in the win over TRN. Thygeson entered the game with just one goal this year and doubled his output in one game when it counted most. Dylan Cupo added a goal and an assist to cap an impressive SCT performance. Cupo now has 18 goals on the season. Goalies Joe Grossman and Ryan Hayes needed just three saves for the shutout.

The Colts rolled to the finals by defeating Pinelands, 5-0, Wall, 3-0 and Manalapan, 1-0. Cupo had three goals and two assists in the first two wins, while Tiarnan King scored the first goal of his career to decide the Manalapan game.

Notre Dame (17-2 record) gave Pennington – which is ranked No. 7 nationally by – all it could handle in the MCT final but could not find the back of the net through 100 minutes of soccer. After each team made their first two penalty kicks, Pennington nailed its final two while ND came up empty in two straight. It was the sixth straight MCT championship for Pennington.  

Second-seeded Notre Dame got to the MCT championship game by beating Trenton, 9-1, West Windsor-Plainsboro South, 3-1, and Princeton in a shootout when the game was tied 1-1 after regulation and two overtimes. Kyle Allen, Aiden Hoenisch and Danny Bensch aided the scoring attack through the three games and goalie Ethan Bazydola made nine saves to get the Princeton game into OT.

CBA and Notre Dame both have high seeds in the upcoming NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public A Tournament, and each received byes in the first round, which begins Nov. 1. Both open state play in the second round on Nov. 4.

CBA is the top seed and will play the winner of the first-round game between 9th-seeded St. John Vianney, Holmdel, and 8th-seeded Union Catholic. SJV has been led by senior Johnny Troiano, who has 21 goals and four assists. Junior Luke Molloy leads the team with nine assists.

The third-seeded Irish will open against the winner of the match between 11th-seeded Red Bank Catholic and sixth-seeded St. Peter’s Prep, Jersey City. The Caseys have been powered by Nico Gonzalez, who tallied four goals in RBC’s recent three-game winning streak. Gonzalez has seven goals in the Caseys five victories.

In the South Jersey Non-Public B Tournament, eighth-seeded St. Rose, Belmar, hosts ninth-seeded Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy, Hamilton, in a first-round contest. Colin Westhoven and Kyle Corrigan lead a balanced Purple Roses’ attack with eight goals apiece.


It was an “all dioceses” final in the Shore Conference Tournament championship game, as second-seeded St. John Vianney of Holmdel came from behind to defeat top-seeded Donovan Catholic of Toms River, 23-25, 25-20, 25-17, at Georgian Court University, Lakewood, Oct. 25.

In winning its 15th straight match, improving to 21-2 and avenging an opening-day loss to the Griffins, SJV got a huge game from Mackenzie Bloss, who had 23 assists, 11 digs, seven kills and two blocks. Erin Gretsky added 10 kills, six digs and three aces; Kennedy Mayo tallied eight kills and four blocks; Marina Millett notched 12 digs, five assists and four aces; and Jessica Simmons collected three kills, four blocks and two digs.

Donovan Catholic was led by Dana Welch with 12 kills and four digs; while Laine Kulpinski added 18 assists and six digs; Madelyn Oehme notched six kills and four blocks; and Sydney Wacha had seven digs.

SJV is seeded fifth in the NJSIAA Non-Public Group A Tournament, and will host its 12th-seeded Dioceses rival, Notre Dame of Lawrenceville, in a first-round game Nov. 4. Donovan Catholic earned a No. 2 seed and hosts 15th-seeded Our Lady of Mercy Academy, Newfield.

Notre Dame has been led by two freshmen this season, as Maia Cinca has produced 115 kills, 37-½ blocks, 30 digs; and 38 aces; and Cassady Smith has 93 kills, 81 digs and 29 aces. Junior Christina Lenzo has also been big with 305 assists.

The quarterfinals will be Nov. 9, the semifinals Nov. 11 and the championship round Nov. 13.      


In the Mercer County Tournament, Notre Dame used a stingy defense to reach the semifinals before losing a 1-0 decision to 11-time champion Pennington Prep. Five different players had goals in 3-1 and 2-0 wins over Lawrenceville and Steinert, while goalie Olivia Bodmer made seven saves.

Sixth-seeded Red Bank Catholic got to the semis of the Shore Conference Tournament before falling to second-seeded Toms River North, 2-0. The Caseys defeated Southern, 4-0, and Holmdel, 2-1, before being eliminated. Morgan Cupo had three goals and an assist in the victories.

RBC and Notre Dame both got byes in the first round of the South Jersey Non-Public A Tournament, which begins Nov. 2. The top-seeded Caseys meet the winner of Princeton Day School-Mount St. Mary, Watchung, on Nov. 5, while the second-seeded Irish take on the Camden Catholic-Trinity Hall, Tinton Falls, winner.

Third-seeded St. John Vianney hosts 14th-seeded Union Catholic in a first-round game. SJV has thrived with a stingy defense that recorded seven shutouts and allowed just eight goals in 14 games. Goalie Kelsea Nolen has made over 60 saves.

Fourth-seeded Donovan Catholic of Toms River hosts 13th-seeded Paul VI in another first-round match. The Griffins have gotten 15 goals and eight assists from Olivia Conroy, and 12 goals and nine assists from Cheyenne Payne.

In SJ Non-Public B, 11th-seeded Mater Dei Prep of Middletown visits sixth-seeded Wildwood Catholic in the first round. Kate Braun leads the Seraphs with 11 goals.

If Mater Dei survives, it travels to third-seeded St. Rose of Belmar, which has gotten 15 goals from Adriana Dalia and nine goals and 11 assists from Ava Gialanella.  

The sectional semifinals take place Nov. 9, with the finals on Nov. 12. The state final is Nov. 14 at Kean.


St. Rose and Notre Dame are the lone teams in the Diocese playing in the South Jersey Non-Public Tournament.

The fourth-seeded Irish, who have gotten 17 goals and nine assists from Sarah Ippolito and 13 goals and four assists from Nicole Villalta-Barrantes, got a first-round bye and will meet the winner of fifth-seeded St. Rose and No. 12 Trinity Hall. Colleen Ragan has 13 goals and 13 assists for the Purple Roses and Ashley Colombo has 10 goals and five assists.  


CBA continued its utter dominance of the Monmouth County Meet, defeating second-place Manalapan by 41 points.

The Colts, who set their sights on national success each year, were paced by second-place finisher Nicholas Sullivan, who ran a 16:18. He was followed by Jack Moran (fourth, 16:21), Joe Barrett (seventh, 16:38), Alex Kemp (13th, 16:55), Jack Falkowski (14th, 17:06), Zack Shroba (24th, 17:34) and Alex Mastroly (29th, 17:48).

Other Top 30 finishes included St. Rose’s Brian Theobald (18th, 17:21), Red Bank Catholic’s Patrick Coyle (27th, 17:40) and St. John Vianney’s Zachary Jersey (30th, 17:50).

In the girls’ meet, Red Bank Catholic’s Cate DeSousa (18:26) and St. Rose’s Tilly O’Connor (18:52) finished second and third. RBC finished third as a team, getting Top 30 finishes from Elena Dimitri (28th, 21:27) and Rhiannon Hill (29th, 21:28).

In the Ocean County girls meet, Donovan Catholic’s Emily Weigle finished 18th 20:57.  


Donovan Catholic enjoyed another stellar season, finishing 17-2 and winning the Shore Conference B South Division title with a 14-0 mark. The Griffins were bumped from the Shore Conference Tournament by Manalapan in the second round and from the Non-Public A Tournament semifinal by Princeton Day School.

The Toms River school was paced by their singles players, as Emma Conroy went 17-2 at first, Ludovica Trano was 18-1 at second and Sloane Nelson was 17-2 at third. Isabella Ayres teamed with Gianna Rao to go 15-2 at second doubles, while Jessica Placa combined with Caitlin Piazza to go 10-4 at second doubles.


The regular season comes to a close this weekend, and the playoff brackets will be decided on Oct. 31.

With an 8-0 record, Red Bank Catholic leads all Non-Public B teams in the United Power Rankings  a major tool in seeding teams  while in Non-Public B, Donovan Catholic is seventh, Notre Dame ninth and St. John Vianney 12th.