The women’s soccer team has begun their 2013 season with hope that they’ll exceed last years 12-5-1 record and return back to the Regional Finals, which they reached last year only to lose in a penalty shoot out to long-time rival Burlington.
Amongst the list of players that won’t be returning this year are defenders Alyssa Donahue, Camille Little and Chelsea Arnold, who were key to the team’s success in 2012. That was apparent in the team’s first game of this season, as they were defeated by Brookdale 6-0.
“We have a lot of players this year who are trying hard to learn how to become a college soccer player versus a high school player. Once that clicks we’ll be off and running,” said Coach Michelle Ogborn-Haywood, who’s in her third year as coach of the team. “We have a lot of talent but it just hasn’t quite come together yet.”
A few returning players that have already made the adjustment are the team captains: goalie Jackie Laurenti, and forwards Taylor Wright and Rachel Martinez.
Laurenti finished the season amongst the state leaders in saves and earned Second Team All-Garden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). Martinez earned First Team All-GSAC, First Team All-Region, and most importantly, she led the team in goals, despite being injured for about a month of the season.
Martinez expressed her confidence in this year’s team saying, “we haven’t been playing together very long, but we’ve been working so well together. So as the games progress so will we. We look forward to getting back to the finals and finishing what we didn’t finish last year.”
One game that the team has circled on the schedule is its September 28th match-up versus Burlington. This will be the first meeting between the two teams since last year’s championship game.