Colts Neck (N.J.) ended its 2015 girls soccer season by slaying the giants, snapping Northern Highlands’ run of four consecutive state titles. Now, Colts Neck is the giant.
Led by 2015-16 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Girls Soccer Player of the Year Frankie Tagliaferri, Colts Neck is ranked No. 1 in the USA TODAY High School Sports/National Soccer Coaches Association Preseason Super 25 for fall girls soccer.
Colts Neck finished last season at No. 6 after a 24-0-1 season and won its first Group III state title in school history 1-0 on Tagliaferri’s penalty kick in the 55th minute. The win came after Colts Neck lost to Northern Highlands (Allendale, N.J.) in the state final the previous year.
“Northern Highlands had been very dominant,” Tagliaferri said. “We had nothing to lose. It was a very different feelings for us in the state final than the year before.”
The big question is what’s next. Much of that will depend on how many games Tagliaferri will play. If she is selected to the U.S. Under-17 team for the World Cup, she could miss as much as four weeks.
Colts Neck also features Kayla Lee, who had five goals and 15 assists, and a defense backed by Lauren Feaster, who made 70 saves. Among the key departures is Amanda Visco, now at Rutgers, who was named ALL-USA first team and helped Colts Neck post 19 shutouts.
Defending Super 25 champion Davis (Kaysville, Utah) checks in at No. 2 in the preseason after winning the state 5A title with nine Division I players.
Northern Highlands has not fallen far and is No. 3 in the preseason. The team has graduated a potent senior class but returns Notre Dame commit Eva Hurm, who had 14 goals and 15 assists.
Massapequa, which finished No. 3 at 19-1-1, is ranked No. 4 after becoming just the fourth girls soccer program in Long Island history to win three consecutive state titles. But the team loses five players who were members of all three title teams.
Walsh Jesuit (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) rounds at the Top 5 and is coming off a fourth consecutive Division I state title.
In all, 15 states are represented, led by Massachusetts. Hingham is No. 10, followed by Whitman-Hanson at No. 11, Central Catholic (Lawrence) at No. 24 and Lincoln-Sudbury at No. 25. None reached the final Super 25 last season.
New Jersey has three teams, all in the Top 10. Immaculate Heart (Washington Township) is No. 9 and should get a boost from the return of Virginia commit Rebecca Jarrett, who missed most of last season with a concussion.
The first Super 25 of the regular season is scheduled for Sept. 13. Regional rankings also begin Sept. 13.