Allentown High School is 8-4 in boys’ lacrosse this spring.
It is also in position to qualify for the NJSIAA South Jersey, Group 2 sectional tournament.
Both things sound nice. But when you consider the recent history of this program, those accomplishments mean a lot more. In the past three seasons, the Redbirds finished below .500, never winning more than seven games.
And this season, it’s not like the program received an infusion of young talent. Its senior class just kept working and getting better. Sometimes in high school sports, it all comes together for a senior class that never lit the world on fire before.
That seems to be what’s happening with this Allentown boys’ lacrosse team.
“We got a big, solid senior team this year,” said Allentown coach Carl Schubauer.
The Redbirds are solid on both sides of the field, having outscored opponents 135-86 so far. Five seniors have been at the core of that effort.
The senior trio of Peter Pinto, Jared Jordan and Clayton Moench is sparking the offense. Pinto and Jordan have recorded 37 and 32 goals, respectively. Moench is the offense’s best creator, with 28 goals and 29 assists in 2019.
All three players are committed to play collegiate lacrosse, too, with Pinto committed to Mercer County Community College, Jordan to Dickinson College and Moench to Florida Southern College.
Another senior, Carson Capone, complements that trio on the attack. Capone has notched 12 goals and 14 assists this year.
Jordan, Moench and Capone also ensure that Allentown maintains possession of the ball, with 44, 30 and 28 ground ball pick ups, respectively.
This offensive group serves the dual role that builds a successful lacrosse team. It creates possessions and then it finishes them.
“Clayton and Jared bounce off of each other,” Schubauer said. “If they manage to get locked out, you’ve got Peter Pinto coming up, which turns it all around.”
“It doesn’t matter which side you think you’re shutting down on us, we got another side to go right at you,” Schubauer added.
This offensive versatility takes the pressure off Allentown’s fifth key senior, goaltender Rajiv Mehta. But when the opponent takes possession and Mehta needs to step up, he usually does.
The senior has 166 saves in 12 games, an average of more than 13 per contest. He is occasionally withstanding barrages of shots for extended stretches. Having a goalie who can stand on his head will help Allentown against talented teams in the postseason, which are capable, just like the Redbirds are, of taking control at any moment.
“We play good offense and good defense this year. We got both sides going,” Schubauer said. “It’s just a matter of getting everything to bind together, and get going on it.”
For the Redbirds’ senior class, this season will be their last chance to make a run together, so they will certainly be motivated. Allentown is on track to be one of the top eight seeds in the state sectional tournament, so it may even earn a first round home game.
The Redbirds have a very real chance to make some noise.
“We can potentially get far,” Schubauer said.