CALDWELL – The Mount St. Dominic softball team is seeking to not only repeat its success of last year but also to exceed it.

The Lions finished 26-6, won the Essex County Tournament, won the Super Essex Conference American Division, and advanced to the championship game of the NJSIAA North Jersey, Non-Public A tournament for the second straight year.

“We would like to defend our league and county championships as well as return to the Non-Public A North championship game and win the state title,” said head coach Lorenzo Sozio, who has been coaching the Lions since 1996.

The Lions won their third ECT title in four years and seventh overall by defeating county rival West Essex in last year’s championship game. They won the conference title for the fourth consecutive year.

Mount St. Dominic opens up its season against Cedar Grove on Monday, April 2.

The Lions lost three seniors to graduation, Emma Carr, Marisa Jenkins, and Kelsey Oh. There are six returning starters, including the team’s only seniors, Jules Kocenski and Sarah Taffet.

“Both players have started since their freshman year,” Sozio said. “Jules will take over as our No. 1 pitcher in the circle, and Sarah will continue to play at shortstop. Both players have a tremendous work ethic and desire to compete. Jules will continue to play at Hartford University and Sarah at Fordham.”

Last season, Kocenski batted .379 with seven home runs, eight doubles, one triple, and 40 RBI while going 12-0 as a pitcher. She made no errors at first base. She was named to the first team–all-state, all-non-public, and all-county.

Taffet batted .429 with 40 runs, 20 RBI, five home runs, five doubles, and six triples. She was named to the first team, all-county, and second team, all-non-public.

The team also includes juniors Dani Dabroski, Emily Kilkeary, Johanna Rivera, and Amber Matthews; sophomores Breanna Munoz, Kasey Sekula, Julie Schramm, Madeline Sullivan, and Allison Winters; and freshmen Kaylee D’Argenio, Alexandra Cruz, Kayla Oh, and Alexa Raphael.

“We expect all our team members to contribute in some way this season,” Sozio said.

The Lions will face West Essex on Wednesday, April 4; Red Bank Catholic on Saturday, April 7; Nutley on Monday, April 9; Livingston on Wednesday, April 11; Bloomfield on Friday, April 13; Caravel Academy on Saturday, April 14; Montclair on Monday, April 16; Verona on Wednesday, April 18; Wendy’s Invitational on Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21; West Essex on Monday, April 23; Cedar Grove on Friday, April 27; Donovan Catholic on Saturday, April 28; Nutley on Monday, April 30; Bridgewater-Raritan on Tuesday, May 1; Immaculate Conception on Thursday, May 3; Livingston on Monday, May 7; Bloomfield on Wednesday, May 9; Verona on Monday, May 14; Northern Burlington on Tuesday, May 15; and Morris Knolls on Saturday, May 26.

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