UNION COUNTY CONFERENCE
Coach: Mike Roof, 13th season
Last year’s record: 16-6-1
Top letterwinners lost: Julia Stirpe (F), Isabella Bjorkeson (M), Sarah Dilly (D).
Returners: Sarah Pasquale (Sr., M), Alice Caballero (Sr., D), Lindsay DiStaso (Sr., F), Logan Boenning (Sr., F/M), Riley Jankowski (Jr., M), Jackie Goldbeck (Sr., D), Kristen Splaine (Sr., F), Caitlyn Splaine (Sr., D), Olivia Emanuel (Sr., GK), Rachel Siegel (Sr., M), Amanda Bostwick (Sr., M), Hannah Penington (Jr., M), Emily Kiernan (Jr., M), Meghan Place (Jr., M), Grace Tesoro (Sr., D), Vanessa Candeloro (Sr., D).
Newcomers: Catalina Abusada (Fr., F), Ashley Echeverry (So., M), Anna Pasquale (So., D), Maggie Zecca (So., F).
Outlook: Coming off their fourth straight winning season and fifth in six years, the Highlanders are looking to continue that excellence with an eye on a conference title, as well as another deep run in the county and state tournaments. While Governor Livingston did graduate some key players, with 12 seniors back, Roof said he expects them to lead by example, both with their play on the field and with their ability to communicate with their teammates in a positive manner. DiStaso (17 goals, 5 assists) returns as a force up top, where Kristen Splaine and Abusada will also have an impact on the attack. Bostwick, Jankowski and Sarah Pasquale (holding) handle the central midfield, with Echeverry, a newcomer, also expected to log meaningful minutes. Siegel, Boenning and Penington are projected to be the keys outside. Defensively, Caballero is the heart at center-back, Roof said, with Caitlyn Splaine, Goldbeck, Tesoro, Anna Pasquale, and Candeloro also expected to have a defensive impact in front of Emmanuel. Roof said he believes GL has talented kids who can create, but will have to make the most of chances in front of the net. The defense will also have to understand its responsibilities and not be careless with the ball in its own third.
Coach: Scott Murphy, 13th season
Last year’s record: 13-9
Top letterwinners lost: Lisa Caprara (F), Erin Fay (F), Paige Kovacs (D), Sarah Barquero (D), Jill Perini (D).
Returners: Maggie Roughley (Sr., M), Lexi Everton (Sr., D), Jen Maluso (Sr., GK), Megan Mahlstadt (Sr., D), Brielle Carleen (Jr., D), Riley Kinum (So., M), Rebecca Pappas (Jr., D), Kelly Sherman (Jr., D), Annie Petrosino (Jr., F), Laila Stedman (Sr., M), Nicole Dillon (Sr., M), Alex Zeto (Sr., D), Michelle Coon (Sr., F), Elise Minto (Sr., M/D).
Newcomers: Alana Ponte (Fr., D), Olivia Faucher (Fr., F), Nicole Fusco (Fr., D), Amanda Maurer (So., F), Jordan Detlet (Jr., F), Rachel Trackim (Jr., F), Jessica Trackim (Jr., D), Natalie Pereira (Jr., M), Chelsea Cabral (Sr., GK).
Outlook: The Pioneers graduated five starters, including their top two scorers in Caprera and Fay, and three of four defensive starters. Still, with the returning players working hard and ready to grow into their own, Murphy said, he is confident his club will continue to be a contender. The two-time Courier News Coach of the Year also feels he has some newcomers that are ready to have an impact. Returners Roughley and Everton will lead the offense, but Murphy said in order for New Providence to be successful it needs to find more scoring options and create better balance up top. The incoming freshman bring some much-needed speed all over the field, while the rest of the newcomers bring size and athleticism, he said. Trackim and Detlet could help supply some of the offensive scoring, while Ponte will help a defense that will be led by Mahlstadt and Maluso.
Coach: Carol Taffaro, 11th season
Last year’s record: 5-10
Returners: Angel Branch (So., GK), Ilse Ibarra (Jr., D), Vanessa Aguirre (Jr., D), Abigail Alvarez (Jr., D), Laura Orrego (Jr., D), Brittany Byrd (Jr., D), Johanna Saleima (Jr., D), Keyanna Bagley (Sr., M/F), Jazmin Lucero (Sr., M/F), Jackeline Pineda (Jr., M/F), Jennifer Ayala (Jr., M/F), Sheilah Sarpong (Jr., M/F), Gina Watkins (Jr., M/F), Jeanne Salguero (Jr., M/F).
Newcomers: Jeanne Salguero (Jr., F/GK), Laura Orrego (Jr., D), Abigail Alvarez (Jr., D), Jackeline Pineda (Jr., M/F), Brianna Bonilla (Fr., M/F).
Outlook: With only three players lost to graduation, the Cardinals are looking for another productive season with a young, dedicated group of girls who want to win. Bagley, a four-year starter, is joined by co-captain Lucero in leading the way. Bonilla should have an impact as a freshman, while Branch takes over as the starting keeper.
Coach: Kevin Ewing, 14th season
Last year’s record: 21-1-2
Top letterwinners lost: Tori Baliatico (F), Jodie Cornwell (M), Paige Heiden (M), Evelyn Logie (D).
Returners: Annie Pierce (Sr., M), Caroline Babis (Sr. D), Jillian Lapidus (Sr., M), Christina Rodgers (Jr., M), Sophie Brause (Jr., M), Alyssa Difrancesco (Jr., F), Andrea Leitner (Jr., GK), Taylor Diggs (So., D/M), Ashley Vincent (So., F), Jackie Fahrenholz (Sr., D).
Newcomers: Danielle Mrozek (So., M/F), Katie Mrozek (So., M/F), Kayla Krudis (So., M), Sabrina Dillolo (So., D).
Outlook: After a North 2 Group IV sectional championship, yet another conference crown, their fifth consecutive Union County title and a one-loss season, the Raiders graduated four key starters, including Courier News Girls Soccer Player of the Year Tori Baliatico and four-year starter Jodi Cornwell. And while nobody would blame SPF for a little bit of a step back this season, the Raiders do retain the pieces for another strong run if things come together. Twelve sophomore are expected to have a role, including several newcomers, but if those players acclimate well to the varsity game and the returning standouts can continue to be a force, expect the Raiders to be among the contenders again in the conference, county and state tournament. With Baliatico and her 21 goals gone to college, Ewing is looking for his goal scoring to come from a more balanced attack, with LaPidus, Difrancesco and Pierce expected to lead the way. Babis and Fahrenholz should lead the defense in front of Leitner, a third-year starter in goal. Ewing said the camaraderie and leadership is as good as last year, and if he can get his team on the same page playing the type of style the coaching staff is looking for, 2015 could be another memorable season.
Coach: Jim Revel, 28th season
Last year’s record: 17-5
Top letterwinners lost: Amanda Lynes (D), Meagan Beriont (M), Morgan Sosnowski (M).
Returners: Chynna Adorno (Jr., F), Olivia Yarem (So., F), Annie Hogarty (Sr., M), Gabi Martes (Sr., M), AJ Scheiderman (Jr., M), Ashley Ferrigno (So., M), Isabel Santiago (Jr., D), Cassie Lamadieu (Jr., D), Izzy DiDario (So., GK), Haleigh Rojek (Sr., GK).
Newcomers: Gabby Sluka (Sr., D), Julia Bonacorso (Jr., D).
Outlook: Coming off their winningest season since 2004, the Vikings get a ton of talent back, especially on offense, and should be primed for another outstanding campaign. Adorno, whose 26 goals and 17 assists led the area in scoring last season, returns to lead the attack, along with Yarem (22G, 12A), who finished sixth. Hogarty, who Revel called the “Heart and soul of this team,” joins Martes as UC’s leaders on and off the field, with Scheidermann also figuring to be key on offense. Santiago and Lamadieu lead the defense in front of keepers DidArio and Rojek, who should both see plenty of time in net.
Coach: Alex Schmidt, seventh season
Last year’s record: 13-5-2
Top letterwinners lost: Lil Scott (M).
Returners: Taylor Morgan (Jr., M/F), Lizzie Brucia (Jr., GK), Hannah Liddy (Jr., F), Natalie Bond (So., D), Carly Bechtloff (Jr., M), Olivia Luzzi (Sr., D), Sonya Peregrim (Jr., D), Haley Farella (Jr., F), Raffi Laitamaki (Jr., D), Hailey Reilly (Sr.. GK), Julie Frontero (Sr., F), Lauren Rigney (Sr., D), Hannah Hawkins (Sr., F).
Newcomers: Josie Greenwood (So., D), Elizabeth Skoletsky (So., M).
Outlook: The Blue Devils get the majority of the squad back and are looking to pick up where they left off, performance-wise, though hoping to turn around the close results that went against them last year. Injuries have plagued Westfield the past two years, and conditioning and training has certainly been a focus in the offseason. Morgan, a University of Alabama commit, returns to head the offense, with Liddy, who missed most of last season with an injury, returning to join her up top. Bechtloff, who has added size and muscle, will also be an offensive key from the central midfield. Bond, Luzzi and Peregrim project to lead the offense in front of Brucia, who Schmidt expects to be one of the top keepers in the area. Among the newcomers, look for Greenwood to have the biggest impact.
Coach: Jack O’Neill, sixth season
Last year’s record: 13-10
Top letterwinners lost: Julia Heller (F), Abby Manuel (F/M), Emily Wasik (M), Julianna Kosty (F/M), Hanna Krilov (F), Emily Molfetta (M), Victoria Shahinian (D), Karen Huang (D).
Returners: Harleen Singh (Sr., F), Kaycie Sconda (Sr., GK), Hannah Lukac (Sr., D), Jenna Molfetta (So., F), Kristen Fernandez (Jr., M/D), Marla Castillo (Jr., M/GK), Alejandra Cortes (Sr., D), Kate Kelly (So., M), Millie Doshi (Sr., D/GK), Madhavi Rana (Jr., D/M/F), Mackenzie Trotter (Sr., D/GK), Matali Shah (Sr., D), Jessica D’Agostino (So., D), Megan Hickson (So., D).
Newcomers: Molly Foster (Fr., M), Brianna Roper (Fr., M), Yessenia Martinez (So., F), Novena Petryk-Cordi (So., M), Emily Heathcote (Jr., F), Sarah Yagual (Fr., D/GK), Libby Atkins (So., D).
Outlook: After some early growing pains, the five-year-old program has enjoyed a great string of success the past three seasons, averaging more than 14 wins per campaign. Now, having lost eight of 11 starters to graduation, injury or transfer– including a trio of four-year starters in Heller, Krilov and Emily Molfetta – the challenge will be finding a new core as the Jags seek to keep up their winning ways. But it’s not all bad news for Somerset Tech, which does return the area’s most prolific scorer in Singh, a four-year starting senior who has posted 93 varsity goals and 23 assists, finishing top 2 in the area in scoring in each of her three previous seasons. Jenna Molfta is expected to step up into the role of Singh’s running mate up top, with newcomers Foster, Roper, Martinez and Petryk-Cordi also expected to have an offensive impact. Sconda, who also returns for her fourth varsity campaign, gives the Jags a veteran presence in net.
GREATER MIDDLESEX CONFERENCE
Coach: Brendan Tennant, first season
Last year’s record: 10-7
Returners: Jackie Vonitter (Sr, M), Alyssa Zarzuela (Jr., F), Casey Olsommer (Jr., D), Alex Reidy (Jr., D).
Newcomers: Evelyn Vargas (Fr., D).
Outlook: Tennant takes over head-coaching duties from Bernie Buniak as the Destroyers look to build on their first winning season of the century. The new coach said he is looking for his team to play a solid game from start to finish with an emphasis on keeping the ball on the field by passing and moving. Vonitter (24 goals) and Zarzuela (21 goals) accounted for all but three of Dunellen’s tallies a year ago and the pair will lead the offense once again. Defensively, the Destroyers will count on Olsommer and Vargas, a freshman sweeper who Tennant feels could be a breakout player.
Coach: Tim Morris, third season
Last year’s record: 13-4-4
Top letterwinners lost: Emily Walther (M), Corrine Jones (M), Nina Carbonaro (F/M), Gina Carbonaro (D), Angela Manfredo (M).
Returners: Katie Nicholson (Sr., F/M), Zakiya Beckles (Sr., F/M), Katie LaCapria (Sr., M), Maddie McCrone (Sr., D), Danielle Tomore (Sr., D), Marissa Guiducci (Sr., D), Nicole Fallon (Jr., GK), Mackenzie Meixner (Jr., D), Caleigh Jones (Jr., F/M), Caroline Walther (So., D).
Newcomers: Carly Santucci (Fr., M), Angele Garcia (Fr., F), Kara Krivanos (F/M), Bridget McCrone (Fr., D), Alexandra Carmona (Fr., M/F).
Outlook: The Blue Jays snapped a string of five straight losing seasons last year and will look to take another leap forward in 2015, especially against some of the tougher opponents they played well against, but fell short. The goal, Morris said, is to make a run at the Blue Division crown, as well as earn higher seeds in the county and state tournament, which, he hopes, will lead to a deeper run. Nicholson and Santucci, a freshman, should be the offensive leaders, with freshmen Garcia and Krivanos also having a big impact on the attack. Santucci and Meixner, who remains a key part of the defense, will be looked toward to have an impact on both sides of the ball. McCrone and Caroline Walther, along with Guiducci, Tomore, and McCrone will anchor the defense in front of Fallon, who is looking to build on a great year in net. The key, Morris said, will be the meshing of the youth – especially the five freshmen – with the more veteran group. As with most teams, staying healthy will be crucial, but with only 15 players on the varsity roster, it will be even more important for the Blue Jays, Morris said.
Coach: Jen Vroman, third season
Last year’s record: 7-9-2
Top letterwinners lost: Maia Williams (D/M), Kelsey Nugent (F), Asia Hurley (M), Kayla Evans (M).
Returners: Lela Allen (Jr., M), Ayana Garvin (Jr., M), Briana Chapman (Jr., D), Janiah Lambert (Jr., M), Erin Buchinski (Sr., D), Courtney Culp (Sr., M), Danielle Grant (Sr., F), Jackie McEvoy (Sr., GK), Isabella Caracta (So., GK/M).
Newcomers: Naytasha Spruiel (Jr., F), Zharria John (Fr., F), Sarah Ogilvie (Sr., D), Iyaniwura Olarewaju (Sr., F).
Outlook: Excitement is at a high as the Chiefs return seven of 11 starters and, Vroman feels, they’ve added some talented newcomers to the mix, as well. The former Piscataway superstar turned third-year head coach said her club is full of speed, strength and athleticism, and she fully expects them to be in the mix in the Red Division. Culp, Allen and Garvin are projected to lead the attack, with Spruiel, a newcomer, also expected to have an impact in front of the goal. Buchinski keeps things organized in the back in front of McEvoy, the veteran keeper, with Lambert also expected to be key on the backline.
Coach: Paul Correia, second season
Last year’s record: 9-10-2
Top letterwinners lost: Brianna Boyce (F), Amanda Harper (Sr., D), Caroline Ratti (D), Allison Tuyp (D).
Returners: Andrea Avelar (So., M), Justice Lipuma (Kr., M/GK), Claire Nagel (Jr., M), Grace Ochoa (Jr., D), Kaitlyn Gray (Sr., F), Sydni Surowiec (Sr., GK).
Newcomers: Briana Noriega (So., M), Megan Celentano (So., M), Courtney Smith (So., D), Alexis Curtis (Fr., M).
Outlook: With only two seniors and three juniors on the roster, the Tigers are a young team that will need to overcome heavy graduation losses, including, virtually, their entire backline. Ochoa, Nagel, Grey and Surowiec are all veterans who figure to lead the way.
Coach: Tim Nussbaumer, second season
Last year’s record: 17-5
Top letterwinners lost: Jenna Collier (F), Karen Barretto (D), Michaela Csorny (D), Elizabeth Babij (M).
Returners: Sarah Solorzano (So., M), Rebekah Aviles (Jr., GK), Grace Chang (Jr., D), Katelyn Dyer (Jr., D), Jolie Ruta (Jr,, M), Lyndsey St. Jean (So., M), Sydney St. Jean (So., M), Nicole Caruso (M), Kaylin Fleming (Jr., M), Sophia Tarantino (F).
Newcomers: Danielle Dyer, Desiree Twumasi-Askrah, Diane Tapia, Elizabeth Oduro, Hannah Stuhl, Rayza Michelen, Samantha Decker
Outlook: With four key starters lost to graduation, there will be a period of acclimation for a very young team, Nussbaumer said, though the Tigers do return some key players, including Sarah Solorzano, Aviles and Sydney St. Jean. Nussbaumer feels his team does have some good incoming talent among the freshman class, but there will be growing pains. The question, he said, will be how quickly the rookies can adapt to the speed of the varsity game. The defense will be a question with a couple of key graduation losses, and with top scorer Collier also gone to college, Sydney St. Jean along with some of the new players will look to pick up the slack.
Coach: Mike Romeo, second season
Last year’s record: 13-6-1
Top letterwinners lost: Neema Liverpool (F), Briana Crawley (D), Cynthia Liberal (M).
Returners: Fiorella Doglio (Sr., M), Alexandra Garces (Sr., F), Lauren Yates (Sr., D), Ciara Varley (Sr., D), Lacey Gress (Sr., GK), Laura Arriaza (Sr., D), Allie Haley (Jr., D/M), Carlin Schildge (Jr., M/F), Mia Reyes (So., M), Danielle Bacalhau (So., M), Priya Golding (So., F/M), Hannah Yates (So., GK/F), Audrey Cheng (So., F).
Newcomers: Antonella Doglio (Fr., M), Sofia Ambrossio (Fr., F), Alex DeSouza (Fr., D/M/F), Mia Sutton (Fr., D/M/F), Olivia Tobey (Fr., M/F).
Outlook: The Rams will use a nice mix of experienced players and newcomers as they look to defend their Blue Division title and ramp things up against non-conference opponents, including those in the county and state tournaments. Wardlaw will feature six seniors, including four on the backline, with as many as four freshmen projected to crack the starting squad. Yates and Varley are expected to be the team’s center backs, leading the defense in front of Gress, a four-year starter in net. Haley and Arriaza will also have a big impact, defensively. Garces (21 goals, 11 assists last year) projects as the Rams’ top attacking option, with Ambrosio, a freshman, also figuring to be a key offensive weapon. Fiorella Doglio, Reyes and Antonella Doglio should lead the midfield, with Schildge, Bacalhau, DeSouza and Sutton also in the mix on both sides of the ball.
Simeon Pincus can be reached at CNGirlsSoccer@aol.com and on Twitter @SimeonPincus