RED BANK - Danielle Borrino was a sophomore starter two years ago when Red Bank Catholic shared the NJSIAA Non-Public A championship with Oak Knoll in a 3-3 draw.

Two years later, it is almost unfathomable that Borrino and the Caseys defense could allow more than one goal in a game, let alone three. That dominance in the back coupled by an attack that has picked up the pace over the past two games has the Caseys confident in winning the program's first outright overall Non-Public A title in 15 years.

Borrino and the back line once again aided a shutout Wednesday for senior goalkeeper Anthi Panayides and freshman Morgan Cupo got a dangerous attack started early with a goal in the sixth minute as RBC steamrolled Mount St. Mary, 3-0, to advance to the South Jersey Non-Public A championship game Thursday at Washington Township High School.

Red Bank Catholic freshman Morgan Cupo elevates for a headball. (Photo by Matt Manley)

"A lot of us were there for (the tie vs. Oak Knoll) and this is sort of like our second chance at it," senior Casey Pavlick said. "We tied two years ago and it was good to be co-champs, but we want to win it this time, so that's been our focus."

Red Bank Catholic's opponent in the sectional final will be sixth-seeded Pingry - a team the top-seeded Caseys crushed, 5-1, during a regular-season meeting.

"I think everyone's confidence should be high right now - we know we can do it," said Borrino, the lone current defensive started who also started in 2016. "We beat Pingry last time but we know they are going to come after us and try to get revenge, so we just need to keep playing the way we are playing."

Cupo tapped in the first goal off a through-ball from sophomore Aubrey Silverman and also picked up the assist on the second RBC goal, which Pavlick finished in the 54th. Cupo turned and ripped a shot off the left cross bar and it carried to the opposite side of the box, where Pavlick darted in for the rebound and finish.

"I think whoever scored early was definitely going to have the upper hand in the game and that's the way it is most games for us," Pavlick said. "It's important for us to keep coming out hard and setting the tone early."

Senior Sofia Giamanco capped the scoring with 35 seconds left by pulling up at the top of the 18-yard box and slamming a shot to the upper 90.

The final tally almost did not do justice to how thoroughly RBC controlled Wednesday's game against a team that entered with only two losses. The Caseys outshot Mount St. Mary 15-1 and did not allow a corner kick while forcing six on the other end.

Red Bank Catholic has allowed two goals in a game just twice this season, including during a 4-2 win over Paul VI in the quarterfinal round on Friday. That marked the first time RBC allowed two goals since a 2-1 loss to Middletown South on Sept. 15 but it was also the first time the Caseys scored three goals since Oct. 4. RBC has now converted three goals in each of its first two NJSIAA Tournament games, a strong response to getting shut out, 1-0, in the Shore Conference Tournament final by Toms River North.

RBC is one win shy of reaching the Non-Public A final for the eighth time since last winning the group championship outright in 2003. In the previous seven games, the Caseys are 0-4-3, but this time around, the Caseys are the highest-ranked team in the group, according to NJ.com, and are likely looking at their best chance to win it in any of the past 15 years.

"We had a really good combination of players when I was a sophomore but I really think we have even more talent this year," Borrino said. "I feel like we can do it."

 

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