Red Bank Regional Looks to Replicate Opening-Day Success By James Smith


The Red Bank Regional field hockey season started with a bang.


The opening afternoon of this 2017 season proved to be a fruitful one for the Bucs, who took a 2-0 victory over Mater Dei Prep.

Red Bank Regional junior Penelope Buchanan opened the scoring in this non-divisional contest, before sophomore Mara Sankeleski found the back of the cage to cap the Bucs’ offensive output and stake her club to a two-goal lead at the half.

Bridget Kelly notched the lone assist of the game for the Bucs, helping to lift the program to its second straight opening-day win over the Seraphs.

“It was a great game for our girls,” said Red Bank Regional coach Maria Heininger. “Offensively they got the job done, and defensively they were able to hold Mater Dei down, limit their opportunities and get the shutout. It was an incredible effort, and we’ve been trying to build off of it.”

The foundation of the season was strong, but building up the win-loss record has been a work in progress for the Bucs.

Since game one, Red Bank Regional has weathered a treacherous slate of opponents, including the Shore Conference’s top program and juggernaut at the state level, Rumson-Fair Haven, ahead of meetings with divisional rivals like Raritan and Matawan.

The Bucs dropped all three of those meetings, but did see goals scored by senior Cece McCarthy (against Rumson) and junior Penny Hill.

Red Bank Regional has also received strong play by its goaltenders, as junior Tara Clark made 12 saves against the Bulldogs and five more against Raritan, while senior keeper Tessa Listro also registered double-digit saves against Matawan with 10.

“We definitely have the talent to turn our record around,” said Heininger. “We just have to continue to work hard and continue to come together as a team. I have no doubt that our girls will continue to give an incredible effort.”

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