Coach: Rick Szeles, 22nd season
Last year’s record: 12-5-2
Top lettermen lost: Pat Masur (Mid.); Kevin Horan (Mid.); Ryan Pearce (D); Evan Cohen (D); Arron Klug (D); Rob Bonjoin (D).
Returners: Andrew Masur (Jr., Mid.); Amit Mohan (Sr., GK); Jake Nabbie (Jr., Mid); Josh Rich (Sr., F); Casey Lawrence (Sr., F); Gareth Williams (Sr., F); Jared Weiner (Sr., D); Robbie Tobia (Sr., D); Tyler Stevens (Sr., D); Alex Wahl (Jr., D); Ryan Baumbusch (Jr., D).
Newcomers: Marcus Raboy (So., Mid.); Patricio Medina (Jr., Mid); Eric Finn (Sr., D); Kolby Chuna (Sr., D).
Outlook: The Panthers will field a much less experienced squad than they have in recent years. In order to find their traditional success within the division and county, they’ll need to replace two mainstays in the midfield with the departures of Pat Masur and Horan. Szeles will go with a youth movement there by plugging in two newcomers alongside incumbent Andrew Masur. Junior Jake Nabbie appears to have a stronghold on one of the spots, while sophomore Marcus Raboy and junior transfer Patricio Medina will vie for time at the other position. They were completely decimated in the back, losing all four starters to graduation, forcing Szeles to shift around some personnel. Tobia and Stevens will shift to the back from midfield and help out first-year starters Alex Wahl and Ryan Baumbusch. Fortunately, they have two solid veterans returning at striker and in goal. Senior Josh Rich, who led the team in scoring a year ago, is back up front but this time will have a larger target on his back. Mohan, whose performance was sporadic at times last season, returns for his second year as the starting goalie. The combination of youth and players moving to new positions will likely create a bit of a learning curve early in the season. But don’t count out the Panthers as they always find a way to field a competitive squad.
Coach: Matt Roberts, first season
Last year’s record: 4-12-2
Top lettermen lost: Ryan Kaplan (F); Damari East (Mid); Chris Stevens (F); Eche Nwananjiri (D); Reese Buchan (GK).
Returners: Asad Dar (Sr., Mid.); Andrew Echevarria (Sr., D); Shubhkarman Oberoi (Sr., Mid.); Alexander Tang (Sr., D).
Newcomers: Joe Thigpen (Jr., GK); Patrick Auguste (So., Mid); Idrissa Kamara (So., Mid); Athur Davis (Jr., Utility).
Outlook: The Warriors haven’t had a winning season since 2005, so they’re turning the keys to the program over to someone in Matt Roberts who processes a winning pedigree with a familiarity of what it takes to enjoy success in Somerset County. Roberts, a standout midfielder for Hillsborough during the late ’90s and a member of the ’99 U.S. National under-17 team who landed at the University of Maryland, will draw in the reigns this season in an attempt to level the playing field for a squad that’s struggled mightily to compete in the Skyland Conference’s top division. He inherits a racially diverse roster comprised mostly of young players eager to learn how to play organized ball. Dar, Echevarria (Academy) and Tang are the only returners with decent competitive exposure, so year one of the rookie mentor’s plan to resurrect the program will be one of rebuilding. Instead of focusing on tactics and technique, Roberts is starting from the ground floor by getting his players on the same page and instilling within in them a sense of accountability. Although inexperienced, speed and athleticism are their strengths so they’ll try to play a fast-tempo, high-pressure style in predominantly a 4-4-2 set. But that could be difficult in the early going, according to the coach. “We have to learn to share the ball,” Roberts said. “Right now there is too much individual effort, and until they learn that it’s going to be a challenge for us to play as one unit.”
Coach: Eric Puma, 12th season
Last year’s record: 15-3-3
Top lettermen lost: Derek Styles (D); Nigel Herbet (D); Tyler Burd (Mid.); C.J. Patterson (Mid.); Evan Hawkes (Mid.); Yannis Christdouldes (Mid.); Joe Deluca (Mid.); Benji Seitz (Mid.); Sean Nemec (F).
Returners: Cam Dennis (Sr., D); Phil Rudio (Sr., D); Andrew Rolon (Sr., D); Jeremy Kot (Sr., Mid.); Brian McEnroe (Jr., Mid); Gareth Dennis (So., Mid); Eddie Michta (So., F); Danny Pankulics (Sr., F); Zeke Realmonte (Jr., F); Jimmy Mazich (Jr., GK); Brian Yaskowski (Sr., GK).
Newcomers: Jordan Steiner (Sr., F); Ameer Metwally (Sr., F); Brandon Quiros (Jr., Mid); Dan Zminiski (Jr., Mid.); Phil Masaikowski (So., Mid); Andrew Patterson (So., Mid.); Tristan Gadson (Sr., D); Nick Theodore (Sr., D); Mike Zamora (Jr., D); Andrew Caruso (Jr., GK).
Outlook: Although the defending Somerset County Tournament co-champions graduated nine seniors, they were so deep all over the field a year ago that they should be able to reload rather than rebuild. The losses of Central Jersey All-State First and Second-Team selections Stiles and Burd will hurt, but look for Rudio to slide nicely into the back and Kot should solidify the midfield vacancy. Pankulics, one of their most viable scoring threats last season, is back for another go-round and leads a very balanced attacking unit along with Realmonte, Steiner and Metwally. Although a bit inexperienced in the midfield outside of Kot, they’ll bookend the central zone with a defensive core that’s as balanced as their front line. Cam Dennis and Rolon are experienced defenders who should compliment Rudio well, and a young but experienced Mazich is back in net for a team that surrendered less than a goal per game and notched 10 shutouts a year ago. “We have a good mix of experienced and young players,” said Puma, ” and we should compete once again for the division and county title.”
Coach: Anson Smith, fifth season
Last year’s record: 14-5-2
Top lettermen lost: Brendan Jaeger (D); Jeremy Levine (Mid); Jake Schenk (F/GK).
Returners: Nick Provenzano (Jr,. D); Austin Ciccarino (Sr., D); Steven Collins (Sr., Mid); Mike Simpson (Sr., Mid); Nick DellaFave (Sr., D).
Newcomers: Jake Dewan (Jr., Mid); Cameron Zell (Sr., GK); Brennen Cook (Jr., Mid); Jonathan Spearman (Jr., D).
Outlook: The Red Devils are coming off another typical successful season under Smith as they won a third Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex Tournament title in five years. They weren’t hit particularly hard by graduation in terms of numbers, but more by experience and talent. They’ve reloaded, however, with a number of talented players and should be the odds-on favorites for another county title, and should give a run at the Skyland Conference Delaware Division title. On paper, they appear to have particular experience and depth in the defensive end with Provenzano, Ciccarino and DellaFave returning. Provenzano, however, sustained an ankle injury during camp and won’t be ready for opening day. Then there is the unfortunate loss of aspiring junior forward Miguel Coelho who was diagnosed with Leukemia this past spring and will miss the entire 2013 campaign. The Red Devils were looking forward to utilizing his speed and nose for the goal. “We have an extremely difficult schedule and will need all of our players in top form to compete in the Skyland Conference,” said Smith.
Coach: Ricky Steeb, sixth season
Last year’s record: 0-17-2
Top lettermen lost: Patrick Smith (D); Vin Marna (Mid); Greg Tarco (GK).
Returners: Nick Marna (Jr., Mid.); Ross Lu (Jr., Mid.); Jack Rodgers (Jr., Mid); Kyle Ballinger (Sr., GK); Anid Laoui (Sr., D); Dan Stockburger (Sr., D); Aiden Dineen (Sr., D); Mateo Aparcio (Jr., Mid.); Billy Rodgers (Jr., Mid.); Zach Epstein (So., D); John Neri (Sr., D).
Newcomers: Christian Espana (Fr., Mid.); David Goldman (So., Mid.); Joey LaVake (So., Mid.); Conner Yurcisin (So., Mid.); Matt Bumstead (Jr., D); Adam Kantrowitz (Jr., F); Joe Morrissey (Jr., F); Adrian Vicente (Jr., Mid.); James Alleyne (Sr., GK); Eitan August (Sr., Mid.); Connor Bradley (Sr., D); Christian Lewandowski (Sr., F); Sanda Min (Sr., D); Ashish Reddy (Sr., D); Andre Tolentino (Sr., D).
Outlook: Things couldn’t have gone worse for the Cougars last season as they endured a gloom and doom winless campaign. After a five-year run of competitive play under Steeb, they were decimated by the graduation of two highly-talented Divsion I players and lost another to Academy ball, and things were never right from the get-go. The outlook for this season, however, couldn’t be much brighter. They return six starters, including three midfielders in Lu, Marna and Jack Rodgers. The strength of their club lurks in their backfield where they return starters Stockburger, Laoui and a superb keeper in Ballinger. Twenty-one of 26 players on their roster are upperclassman, including 13 seniors, so expect they’re overall savvy enough to have taken some valuable lessons from last year’s nightmare. Co-captains Ballinger and Laoui have been doing a fine job getting the team motivated to bounce back, according to Steeb. When you weigh everything else with the fact they played a challenging scrimmage schedule that included Hopewell Valley, Scotch Plains-Fanwood and Princeton, and all signs point to them making a run at .500.
Coach: John Simpson, 11th season.
Last year’s record: 5-10-2.
Top lettermen lost: Eric Norian (D); Brian Fokken (Mid.); Andrew Ottinger (F).
Returners: Ryan Linnen (Sr. D); Matt Paulo (Sr., Mid.); Andrew Seitz (Sr., F); Jon Scott (Sr., GK); Tommy Steizt (Sr., D).
Newcomers: Logan Ventura (Sr., Mid.).
Outlook: The Lions found themselves in uncharted territory during Simpson’s tenure last season as they finished under .500 for the first time in 11 years. To be fair, they never even had a chance to get out of the box. Their two best players, Charlie Reed and Logan Ventura, opted to play Academy ball, and that only compounded the toll that graduation took on them in loosing their two strikers and most veteran defender. To make matters even worse their three-year starting keeper, Alex Westlin, was lost for the season just 13 minutes into it after sustaining a violent collision with a Pingry player that required oral surgery. Yet despite all of the preseason adversity, the cast that remained in place fought harder than any team in the area even though their record certainly didn’t indicate it. Simpson’s club lost a whopping seven games by one goal, and Simpson indicated that for as frustrating as that was, his players were able to see how slim the the margin between victory and defeat could be. But for as unfortunate as they were last year, they might be even more fortunate this year to have Ventura transferred back from Academy. A starter since his freshman year, Ventura is one of the area’s top players and will be a huge force playing center midfield. They also have an all-league caliber player in three year starting defender Linen. They’ll field a veteran squad with a ton more depth than last season, and that should put them right back into the mix for another Tri-County title.
Coach: Miller Bugliari, 53rd season
Last year’s record: 18-2-3
Top lettermen lost: Brian Costa (Mid.); Henry Flugstad-Clarke (D); Cameron Kirdzik (F); Christian Fechter (Mid.); Spencer Bianco (F); Mac Hugan (D); Rahul Rakhit (D).
Returners: Matt Mangini (Sr., Mid); Jack Casey (So., Mid); Max Lurie (Jr., GK); Roberto DeAlmeida (Jr., F); Louis Monteagudo (Sr., D).
Newcomers: Jack Delaney (So., Mid); Chris Lucciola (Jr., F); Jamie Cook (Jr., D); Caleb Ho (Sr., F); Louis Zachary (Sr., Mid.); Sean Carver (Sr., F); Reeve Carver (Sr., F); Max Helfman (Sr., F); Akshay Rao (Sr., D); Charlie Moore-Gillan (Sr.., GK) Joey Padula (Jr., D); Jamie Smith (Jr., D); Clayton Wright (Jr., D).
Outlook: The Big Blue never rebuild; they reload. But this might not be your father’s Pingry we’ve become accustomed to over the years. Last year’s squad, which shared the Somerset County Tournament championship with Hillsborough, looked poised for a sixth state title as it pelleted shot after shot on Delbarton’s goal during the second half of the Non-Public A final. The Green Wave put two shots on goal in the closing moments though, and the second one was true shattering Pingry’s dreams with just 19 ticks remaining. This year’s team, although extremely talented as is always the case, lacks a few key components synonymous with its traditional success. The 2013 Big Blue are about as inexperienced a team you’ll ever see them field. With just three returning field starters plus the keeper, specific key roles are still up for grabs. They be more direct on offense than in the past with an extremely technical duo of Casey and Mangini in the center of the field where their strength lies. They’ll rotate on the outside and look to utilize a wealth of team speed to push the ball rather than play their traditional possession game. Lucciola and Helfman are the hard-working speedsters who should see most of the time there. It’s still a mystery as to who’ll become their finisher in the box, but Casey has the skill set to garner the inside track. Rao moves from the back up to the front where they’ll utilize his size and strength as a target player up top. The defense has undergone a complete overhaul after losing their entire core to graduation. They’ll lean sheer athleticism and play a much more simple man-marking system than in the past. At 6-4, 200 pounds, newcomer Smith should provide them with the psychical presence their looking for in the box. A key for their defensive success is to remain organized and disciplined since they lack the sheer talent and experience of most years. All told, Bugliari’s bunch will improve as the season rolls along and it would be an absolute shocker if they weren’t vying for their 19th county title on the final day of the tournament. With that said, it’s not as certain as usual that this club will run the gauntlet of the Non-Public A tournament and make a repeat trip to the final.
Coach: Ken Cherry, 10th season
Last year’s record: 7-10-3
Top lettermen lost: Kieran McCarthy (GK); Zach Lyons (F); Wade Hoffman (Mid.); Jake Mahon (D); Matt Rocco (D); Derek Lyons (Mid.); Alex Lopez (GK).
Returners: Chris Doyle (Sr., Mid); Grant Hellings (Jr., F); Scott Hodges (Jr., Mid.); Tim Rocco (Jr., D); Brent Thomas (So., D); Chuck Regner (Sr., F).
Newcomers: Neil Farley (D); Alie Rabie (Mid.); Brandon Sahler (Mid./F); Kyle Brady (Mid.); Kieran Arrigan (Mid.); Joe Jara (F); Mike Schumacher (GK); Trisston Conway (GK); Kyle Saul (D).
Outlook: The Red Devils will look to parlay a strong finish in 2012 into a fast start this season. Cherry’s team was the prototypical Jekyll and Hyde team a year ago. They started the season with four losses to Courier News ranked teams and they ended it with a pair of playoff wins. This season, their goals include learning from that strong finish and taking their fortunes a step further. More specific, Cherry has marked Saturday, Oct. 19 down on his calendar as a day he hope this team will be playing in the semifinals of the Somerset County Tournament. They also will strive to finish among the top four in the extremely competitive nine-team Skyland Conference Delaware Division. To do do, they’ll need to improve their performance in tight contests as they were just 2-4-1 in one-goal games last season. Although they’re a rather young squad with 16 of the 21 roster members underclassmen, preseason indications are that this team has learned from its tribulations last season and will come together quickly to be competitive.
Coach: Greg Leonow, ninth season
Last year’s record: 11-6-1
Top lettermen lost: John Marques (GK); Athos Martins (F); Jaysen Bohrod (Mid.); Thomas Cagnetta (Mid.)
Returners: Abel Britez (Jr., F); Kevin Cagnetta (Jr., F); Kyle Cevallos (Jr., Mid.); Jason Geber (Jr., Mid.); Jake Karlsberg (Jr., Mid.); Ray Arnold (Sr., Mid.); Max Brown (Sr., Mid.); Daniel Fonseca (Sr., Mid.); Bryan Gerber (Sr., D); J.P. Gavin (Sr., GK); Filipe Goncalves (Sr., D); Luis Goncalves (Sr., Mid.); Peter Ring (Sr., D); Ben Roth (Sr., Mid); Ian Smith (Sr., GK); Spencer Taffet (Sr., F); Josh Voorhees (Sr., D).
Newcomers: Keith Garcia (So., Mid.); Hans Hoffman (So., Mid.); Matt Levin (So., D); Shaun Parimoo (So., Mid.); Tyler Pereira (So., Mid.); Tim Voorhees (So., F); Rico Blatazar (Jr., Mid.); Christpher Cunha (Jr., Mid.); Samuel Albous (Sr., D); Reed Arnold (Sr., D); Brendan Bento (Sr., D); Jesse Cole (Sr., Mid.); Jordan Cole (Sr., F); George Filippatos (Sr., D); Jason Giniger (Sr., Mid.); Chris Teixeira (Sr., GK); Nick Vernesse (Sr., D).
Outlook: The Warriors had a remarkable turnaround last season, increasing their win total by nine games. This season, it appears they’re poised to take things to and even higher level. They managed their way into the Somerset County Tournament semifinals last year where they dropped a heart-breaker to eventual co-champion Hillsborough, and they were ousted by a Westfield team which hadn’t lost in six weeks in the North 2 Group IV quarterfinals. They return seven starters this season who are all technically sound and very dynamic. Among them is Roth in the midfield who possesses skills good enough to put himself in the conversation with some of the best center field players in the state. He’s set to continue at St. John’s. But it’s not just about one player for this year’s Warriors’ squad. They’re average or above average at every position on the field. They have a trio of midfielders though — Fonseca and Luis Goncalves joining Roth — that will allow them to play a possession-laded style, and it’s no secret that the longer you possess the ball, the better chance you have at scoring. Likewise, Ringer, Gerber and Voorhees are a terrific trio in their own right and will make it extremely difficult for opponents to get good looks deep in the Warriors’ defensive zone. Cagnetta is moving from midfield to fill a need up front, and could be a very pleasant surprise as his upside is high. But regardless of what happens up front, the combination of having a wealth of experienced talent to control the pace and defend the goal will provide minimal opportunities for opponents to score. This team will seriously content for both the division and county titles, and has the capability of making things interesting in a stacked North 2 Group IV section.
Coach: C.J. Inglin, first season
Last year’s record: 7-9-2
Top lettermen lost: Ben Breines (GK); Jodan Fowlin (F); Mac Livermore (D); Matt Meahla (Mid.).
Returners: Chris Morgan (Sr., Mid.); Chris Fiaschetti (Sr., D).
Newcomers: Nash Hughes (F); Ian Hogan (F); Kurt Heeren (F); Robert Fitzsimmons (F); MAtt Geissler (Mid); Scott Moran (Mid.); Matt Lauck (Mid.); Kyle Lauck (Mid.); Sam Carlson (Mid.); aaron Gover (Mid.); Ian Bydalek (D); Jack Gallagher (D); Ardian Djombolic (D); Dan Marsan (D); Mike Krewsun (D).
Outlook: After 13 years, one appearance in a sectional final and the program’s first county title (2011), Dave Kirschenmann stepped down as the Terriers’ coach to make way for one of his former players, 2006 graduate C.J. Inglin’s tenure to begin. Inglin inherits a squad devoid of many returners. Just senior midfielders Morgan and Fiaschetti have substantial varsity experience, and will be leaned on heavily. Byladek will be a study force in the center back. Although inexperienced, they have a large core group of seniors that could possibly take them back to .500.
Coach: Dominic Rice, fifth season
Last year’s record: 6-10-1
Top lettermen lost: Danny Reilly (Mid.).
Returners: Mark Swintek (Sr., F); Chris Cella (Sr., F); Max Cortina (Jr., Mid.); Robert Ortega (Sr., D); Jonathan Cercione (Sr., Mid); Ryan Papp (Sr., GK); Johnny Madaras (Jr., Mid.); Joe Natale (Jr., D); Danny Hage (Jr., D); Jonathan Roberts (So., Mid.); Danney Reyes (So., D).
Newcomers: Aron Acloque (Fr., F).
Outlook: The Spartans have never won a division title, but this could be as good a chance as they’ve had in quite a some time. They return 10 of 11 starters, and should be pretty solid throughout. Although posting a sub-par 6-10-1 record last season, they did show some life late with a victory over Gloucester Catholic in first round of the Non-Publc A tournament. Swintek, Cella and Ortega, each of whom earned All-Somerset County Honorable Mention selections a year ago, will take the lead and try and push the team to the promised land. While Somerville is likely the favorite on paper, the Spartans are a trendy pick to finally hoist a division crown.
Coach: Bryan Smith, third season
Last year’s record: 7-6-4
Top lettermen lost: Dan Drill (GK); Brandon Bellina (Mid.); Drew Brenn (Mid.); Jason Zuloeta (Mid.).
Returners: Alex Alarcon (Jr., F); Justin Heins (Jr., Mid.); Pablo Benegas (Jr., Mid.); Evan Brown (Jr., D); Alex Noriega (Sr., Mid.).
Newcomers: Chris DiCostansa (So., F); Josh Wiener (So., F); Reilly Brenn (So., Mid.); Akhil Agarwal (So., Mid.); Kunal Agarwal (So., D); Brandon Apisa (So., D).
Outlook: The Pioneers lost four experienced and valuable players to graduation, but they have a slew of sophomore newcomers that have put a charge into the program. Back from last year’s team are a few very serviceable players in juniors Alarcon, Heins, Benegas and Brown. The biggest piece to Somervile’s 2013 puzzle in the return of midfielder Alex Noriega from academy ball. Noriega’s sheer presence alone should add a few wins in the Pioneers’ ledger, and that’s porbably enough to capture the program’s first Raritan division title since 2007.
Coach: Chase Barbieri, second season
Last year’s record: 10-7-3
Top lettermen lost: Chris Bonavito (M); Sam Caffrey (M); Gus Ortega (M).
Returners: Ethan Ziemba (D); Quinn Furnald (D); Matt Nanna (D); Brendan Baker (D); Will Passera (GK); Riley Parnham (F); Justin Crail (F); Trevor Spatz (F); Brian Bigdelle (D); Victor Nunes (M).
Newcomers: Justin Critelli (So.); Dan Hinson (So.); Freddy Durant (Sr.); Nick Frost (Sr.); Matt Spencer (Sr); Dylan Raposo (Sr.); Henry Sickels (Jr.); Mike Sneellen (Jr.); Scott Mure (Sr.); Will Palmer (Sr.).
Outlook: The Vikings became stagnant for a half decade since winning a school-high 16 games in 2007. Barbieri provided a new voice last season and the players responded to capture the program’s first Skyland Conference Division title. Barbieri’s year two might not be so cut and dry. Gone are three solid midfielder, including their backbone Sam Caffrey. Caffrey, a four-year letterwinner and three-year varsity starter, provided most the the Vikes’ offense a year ago wiht a team-high 13 goals to go with five assists. This year, Voorhees will need to rely on the strength of its defense where it particularly deep. Ziemba, Furnald, Nanna, Baker and Bigdelle all can lock it down in their defensive end. This club coudl very well struggle to score goals this season so it should go as far as the defense will take it.
Coach: Joe Laspada, 32nd season
Last year’s record: 15-4-3
Top lettermen lost: Braden Canavan (F); Brian Cunningham (Mid); Sean Judd (D); Michael Gamara (D).
Returners: Zach Smith (Sr., D); Killian Hauser (Sr., D); Andrew Martin (Jr., D); Sammy Frazel (Jr., Mid.); Matt Paonessa (Sr., Mid.); Dylan Williams (So., GK); Eddy Solis (Sr., F).
Newcomers: Josh Neptune (Jr., F); Dan Schindler (So, Mid.); Declan Swartwood (Jr., Mid.).
Outlook: The Mountaineers return a boatload of talent from last year’s squad which pushed longtime nemesis Cliffside Park to double overtime in the North 2 Group II final. Their success will start right in goal as the 6-2 Dylan Kahn, who burst onto the scene as a freshman last year, and notched nine shutouts. Seniors Smith and Hauser will be shut-down forces for a team defense that figure to be as stingy as they get in the state. Frazel is a wonderful player as a defensive midfielder. Solis should be the guy that provides a scoring punch, team-wide they could have difficulty finding somebody else who can finish. Expect this team to lull their opponents to sleep with dominant possession in front of the aforementioned defense, which boats some speed. These guys are the odds-on favorites to win an always interesting race for the Skyland Conference Valley Division title. As far as the section is concerned, they’re likely the best team of paper in North 2 Group II, especially since Cliffside Park bumped up to Group III.
Coach: Stephen Nicholson, fourth season
Last year’s record: 6-10-2
Top lettermen lost: Alex Amaya (Mid.); Felipe Angulo (F); Reiner Delgado (Mid.); Willy Lopez (D); Juan Mendoza (F); Vincent Fittipaldi (D); Andy Owusu Sekyere (Mid.); Pedro Peixoto (D); Ivan Plascencia (Mid.); John Ramos (GK); Kevin Zapata (Mid).
Returners: Christopher Carrizosa (Mid.); Juan Alonso Cruz (Mid.); Robert Fittipaldi (F); Jean Carlo Gonzalez (D); Hever Lopex (D); Jesse Morales (Mid.); Bernal Salazar Soto (GK); Froylan Suarez (Mid.); Oscar Sapata (D); Allamar Moore (D).
Newcomers: Bebeto Howell (Jr., D); Omar Santiago (Sr., D); Nick Lujan (Fr., D); Jose Gregorio (Jr., Mid.).
Outlook: There are plenty of unknowns with this year’s Crusaders squad. They lost a ton of players to graduation from an time that won just six games. Time will tell, but don’t expect this team to compete for the division title with so much uncertainty.
GILL ST. BERNARD’S
Coach: Tony Bednarsky, 25th season
Last year’s record: 20-3-1
Top lettermen lost: Timmy DiBisceglie (Mid); Bijan Eizadkhah (F); Jae Wong (Mid./F); Mike Renna (GK); Ryan Ostermann (D); Stark Kirby (D); Theo Timohty (Mid); Matt Decker (D).
Returners: James Reiner (Sr., D); Justin Durcan (Sr., F); Craig Pilla (Sr., D); Killian O’Connor (Sr., F/Mid); Jordi Schreer (Jr., GK); Jack Lowe (Sr., Mid).
Newcomers: Nick Ricciardi (So., D); Tyler Kwaak (So., Mid.); Dan Sivolella (So., F/Mid.); Luke Fischer (So., D); Max Aunger (Fr., D); Stevo Bednarsky (Fr., D); Kevin Brito (Fr., F); Andres Gonzalez (Fr., D); Cameron Miller (Fr., D); Armeen Mosaffari (Fr., F); Richard Wolf (Fr., Mid).
Outlook: The Knights graduated a really special group of seniors this offseason. Collectively, they went 56-17-3 and appeared in three Non-Public B championship games, winning once (2009) and dropping the last two in heart-breaking fashion to Montclair Kimberly. Their two former catalysts — Timmy DiBisceglie and Bijan Eizadkhah — are currently continuing their careers at Scranton. This team has a lot of goals it needs to replace from a season ago, and they’ll field the youngest team in Bednarsky’s 25-year tenure, but there’s reason to be optimistic. Bednarsky says this is arguably the best freshman class he’s worked, and he’s going to throw them right into the fire. With eight new and young starters in the lineup, expect some rookie mistakes in the early going. It’s also a much smaller team than the mammoth crew Bednarsky has last season, but this is a much quicker team. Also departed is keeper Mike Renna, the school’s all-time leader in shutouts for a season and a career. Jordi Schreer is the man the Knights are turning to in net, and he’s a much different keeper than Renna. While Renna was a vocal leader who liked to direct traffic in the back and often defused threats before they came to fruition, Schreer is more a pure keeper. He’s got tremendous tactical skills and is a better shot stopper than was Renna so replacing the position shouldn’t be a major concern. Bednarsky sees similarities between this current group of freshmen and the guys who just left so he’s cautiously optimistic and feeling a sense of deja vu. Record-wise, they won’t match the 20 wins compiled last season but this is the type of team that will get better as the season rolls along. The plight for this division title is traditionally a dogfight between Bernards, North Plainfield and Gill, and this year shouldn’t be any different. Despite the enormity of the value they lost, there’s enough upside with this group to believe they can in fact win a third straight Valley title.
Coach: Rick McCarrick,
Last year’s record: 9-11
Top lettermen lost: Ariel Rodriquez; Jair Mailllard.
Returners: Jurgen Espinoza (F); Dominic Jimenez (D); Angelo Lochan (D); Arber Berisha (F).
Newcomers: Miguel Palacios (Mid.); Paul Cabrera (GK); Steven Bogantes (GK).
Outlook: Without question, the loss of leading scorer Maillard jeopardizes any chance that the Mustangs have at reaching the .500 mark. They do return a core group of players but lack organization and a true center midfielder. McCarrick describes what he anticipates this season to be a ” roller coaster ride.” That said, there is potential on the squad but the team chemistry lacks.
Coach: Chuck Henriques, 18th season
Last year’s record: 10-6-2
Top lettermen lost: Joey Almeida (Mid.); Bryan Carabali (F); Keith Jeffries (D); Luis Acosta (F); Jay Caluna (GK); Edwin Torres (D); Bryan Hernandex (D).
Returners: Christian Medina (Sr., F); Miguel :Londono (Sr., Mid.); Chigozie Atubi (Sr., F); Victor Navas (Jr., Mid); Roca Cesar (Sr., D); Mehdi Ismaili (Sr., D); Kayode Falowo (Jr., D); Oliver Bautista (Sr., Mid.); Alec Santana (Sr., GK); Juan Tuz (Jr., D); Devin Gamboa (Jr., Mid.).
Newcomers: Freddy Amaya (Jr., D); Anthony Barrios (Sr., Mid.); Dennis Espinel (Jr., F); Samuel Hernandez (Jr., Mid.); Leonel Londono (Jr., D); Kevin Morales (Jr., Mid.); Jorge Olivares (Sr., F); Adan Ramirez (Sr., F); Wilnyet Ruiz (Sr., GK); Visut Sayaves (Sr., Mid.); Brian Soler (Sr., F); Christian Sevilla (Sr., Mid.).
Outlook: Internally, The Canucks believe they can be a better team than last year’s 10-6-2 squad. Leading scorer Medina (11 goals, 4 assists) is back for his senior year and his relationship with fellow senior Atubi has become special. Atubi has the potential to become the most explosive and creative player in Central Jersey. Atubi has an incredible knack for creating scoring chances for Medina and others. “If we defend well as we should we will have a brilliant year,” said Henriques.
Coach: Craig Roth, third season
Last year’s record: 3-15
Top lettermen lost: Jonathan Wendeborne (GK); Zach Mastrich (Mid.); Andrew Nini (D); Rolondo Huesca (D); Patrick Ferry (Mid.); Paul Cally (Mid.); Noe Cabalero (D); Lloyd Seiter (D); Alex Singleton (D); Lliam Piscetteli (Mid.); Kyle Tillet (Mid.).
Returners: Danny McGuckin (Mid.); Dario Sabidussi (D); Jacob Von Gieble (Mid.); Antonio Gasparro (F); Robert Tomenchok (GK); Thomas Maris (D); Chase Horner (Mid.); Ernie Luster (D); Gerardo Serrabo (D).
Newcomers: Jess Cally (Mid.); Austin Catanzareti (Mid.); Bayron Declid (F); Marshall Kinney (D); Evan MacGregor (D); Victor MAzariegos (Mid.); Luis Zamora (D); Cole Zurmoski (GK).
Outlook: This will be a complete rebuilding year for the Eagles as they lost 12 players, including nine starters to graduation. There are a lot of new faces on the field that need to learn how to play together. Communication is one of the sterngths of the team as it has begun to gel and will contrbute to its success.
UNION COUNTY CONFERENCE
Coach: Bruno Somma, 19th season
Last year’s record: 16-5-1
Top lettermen lost: Mike Bamundo; Anthony Oliviera; Julian Light; Dylan Weitz,; Max Dooley.
Returners: Jacob Topor; Chris Marzo; Mike McKenna; Trever Beckert; Chris Moran.
Outlook: This will be a rebuilding season after graduating seven senior starters. the Highlanders’ goal is to win the conference and advance in the Union County and state tournaments. This wil be the first season Somma’s team will play a flatback four, and it’s going to take time to master. They have an outstanding keeper in Jacob Topor and a solid center back in Chris Marzo. Mike McKenna is the center midfielder and up front Trevor Beckert and Chris Moran lead the offense.
Coach: Ted Niedzielski, 5th season
Last year’s record: 3-13-4
Top lettermen lost: Connor Pellas; Kyle Kroeger; Dan Smith; Brett Langstaff.
Returners: Zain Stedman; Mike Zamora; James Burke; John Vetter; Aage Vetter.
Newcomers: Sean Regan; Jimmy Evangelos; Nathan Dounel.
Outlook: Four-year starting goalkeeper Mike Zamora leads a new but senior-laden defense with Aage Vetter and James Burke anchoring the middle. They’ll play a 4-2-3-1 hybrid turning into a classic 4-4-2. A trio of sophomores (Regan, Evangelos, Dounel) are making not only a push for starting positions, but looking to make a huge impact on the team after a very impressive preseason. forward John Vetter will be tough to defend because of his tremendous speed, but he will need to step up with his finishing. Look out for Zain Stedman, John Vetter, Sean Regan and James Marriot to be the Pioneers’ main offensive threats.
Coach: Ronald Umana, second season
Last year’s record: 10-5-4
Top lettermen lost: Brian DeLeon (D); Juan Carlos Guardado (Mid.); Jonathan Rivera (Mid.).
Returners: Oliver Korngor (Sr. F); Miguel Hernadnez (Sr. F); Marlon Duarte (Mid.); Axel Flores (D); Kevin Arias (D).
Newcomers: Kelvin Rivera (Jr., F); William Guzman (Mid.).
Outlook: Umana’s rededicating the program to organization and discipline has already paid dividends, and the Cards only look to improve from here. Kornor led the team with 16 goals and 6 assists a year ago and Umana is expecting bigger numbers out of his main threat Korngor played club ball for the first time this offseason and really honed his skills. As a unit, they’re very speedy from the midfield moving forward so expect them to push the tempo and try to light up the scoreboard.
Coach: Tom Breznitsky, 39th season
Last year’s record: 19-2-3
Top lettermen lost: Colin Stripling (Mid.); Andrew Leischner (Mid.); Morgan Elman (D); Vinnie Bianco (D).
Returners: Christian Zazzali (Sr.); Dan Korduba (Sr.); Justin Rodriques (Jr.); James Murphy (So.); Joey Bianco (So.); Jasiem Wahtuse (Jr.).
Outlook: According to coach Breznitzy, who tends to play it tight to the vest, this year’s squad will be almost as good as last year’s team and it’s very close. It could finally be Wahtuse’s time to shine after riding behind talents such as Stripling and Leischner. Wahtuse, who’s built 6-0, 175 pounds, should only add too his totals of nine goals and five assists from last season. Korduba, who notched an astounding 12 shutouts last season, she be right in the same ballpark. Zazzali, a three-year starter, will also add to his seven goals from last year. Breznitsky says the Raiders are the team to beat in Union County, and are among the five best squads in the state.
Coach: John Pompeo, first season
Last year’s record: 9-12
Top lettermen lost: Ryan Dennis (F); Ellan Azelbank (D); Paul Nemergut (Mid.).
Returners: Zach Perez (Jr., Mid.); Ezer Browne (So., Mid); Mitch Hagan (St., D).
Newcomers: Alec Aloia (Fr., Mid.); Sean Lau (Fr., D); Jake Needleman (Fr., Mid/F).
Outlook: Although they’re trying to replace six starter from last year’s team, the Argonauts team goal for the season is to win more than 10 games.
Coach: John Heinbach, third season
Last year’s record: 10-10
Top lettermen lost: Brandon Malebranche (F); Tom Bucek (F); Ankur Pranjal (Mid.).
Returners: Chris Geissler (Sr., GK); Soham Shah (Sr., Mid.); Bodhi Jhamb (Sr., F); Micah Johnson (Sr., Mid;); Ashish Murthy (Sr., D); Carlos Cabral (Jr., D); Brandon Leal (So., Mid.); David Sosidko (So., Mid.); Masood Karimi (So., D).
Newcomers: Christian Wiecaorek (Fr., Mid.); Sam Bucek (So., Mid.),
Outlook: The Jags should have a strong defensive unit, but they’ll need to find somebody to step up and be a top goal scorer. Their goals for the seaosn include winning 10 games and winning a state playoff game.