NOTEBOOK: Smooth start for Monroe’s season

For Leigh Vogtman and the Monroe High School girls basketball team, the first six games of the 2013-14 season have gone as smoothly as possible. Vogtman, who served as an assistant last year and was the junior varsity coach for the previous three seasons, credits having familiarity with her players for the Falcons jumping out to an unbeaten start.

“These girls have known me since they were in middle school when I was coaching the middle school team,” Vogtman said. “So they know me and how I like to coach and that’s helped us so far. It wasn’t as difficult for them to adjust to a new coach because I was with them all along.”

Monroe (6-0) needed overtime against Colonia on opening night, as Erica Junquet connected on a 3-pointer as time expired in regulation en route to a 21-point night and a 51-45 win. Junquet, a junior, is one of two Falcons averaging more than 10 points per game through the first weeks of the season. Classmate Cindy Foresta has been a dual-threat, averaging 10.8 points and 7.2 rebounds and sophomore Ashlyn Petersen has provided a spark, scoring 9.8 points per night.

“I knew what kind of talent and depth we had coming in, but I’m very excited about the success we’ve had so far,” Vogtman said. “My coaches and I knew early on that we liked to score; the girls aren’t shy to shoot. But we have to be careful because we rush the offense sometimes.”

Vogtman said that her squad is a “work in progress,” but she’s enjoyed the fact that it’s been through a multitude of games already. After winning in overtime against Colonia, the Falcons took care of Princeton (69-20), won both of their games in the Cougar Classic at Montgomery (47-46 and 53-35) before a 59-43 victory over North Brunswick last Saturday. Monroe defeated J.P. Stevens 56-36 Tuesday night to run its divisional record to 3-0. With a plus-110 point differential in their first six contests, Vogtman has been more proud of her defense than the offense.

“I told the girls from the start that we’re focusing more on defense than offense. I told them that they want to be known for their defense,” she said. “We want to cause turnovers and we want to play in transition off of the work we do on defense.”

Flaherty set for Friday debut

Katelynn Flaherty, who transferred to Metuchen Jan. 2, was nominated for the 2014 McDonald’s All-American Game. Flaherty, a 30-point per game scorer last season and a University of Michigan commit, was one of 13 New Jersey players nominated for the game which takes place April 2 at the United Center in Chicago. The rosters will be announced on ESPNU on Jan. 29.

Flaherty will be eligible to play for Metuchen Friday against Highland Park, after participating in six practices with the Bulldogs. Because she transferred to Metuchen with a “bonafide” reason according to the NJSIAA, Flaherty wasn’t required to sit for 30 days. Instead, she’ll team with the current GMC leader in points per game, Cassie Smith (31.3), to form a dangerous 1-2 punch.

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