BASKING RIDGE, NJ — The Ridge boys soccer team is schedule to open its season Saturday on the road against North Hunterdon in Annandale at 3 p.m.
The season is starting almost a full month later than usual because of the NJSIAA's delaying of the schedule to adjust to COVID-19 guidelines, and, because of same, the length of the season will be condensed into about six weeks.
Last season, Enzo Minicozzi's second as the head coach, might not have produced an impressive won-loss record for the Red Devils, but it represented measurable progress nonetheless for a program that had gone from one victory to five in Minicozzi's second season.
"We want to continue to build off of our success within the county and section last season," said Minicozzi, whose team upset Watchung Hills in the first round of the Somerset County Tournament and defeated Union in the opening round of the NJSIAA Section 2, Group 4 state tournament in overtime.
This season, however, will be one without a county tournament, an event which was a casualty of the abbreviated schedule.
Returning starters for the Red Devils include senior midfielder/defender Chris Profaca, junior M/D Ryan Poignant, senior back David Bartnik, senior swingman Brian Arrigan, senior back Kevin Lopez and junior back Kevin Landadio. Bryan Landadio figures to be the starting goalie after he backed up now-graduated Robbie Rutkowski in goal last year.
Profaca and Arrigan each scored five goals to tie for the team lead in 2019. Poignant was the team's top distributor with five assists.
"We will be a team that always is tough to play against, works hard on and off the ball, and plays at a high level," Minicozzi said. "We know we play in a very talented conference, so we want to be as competitive as we can. Our leadership group of Chris Profaca, Kevin Lopez , David Bartnik and Ryan Poignant demonstrated great poise last season and set great examples for our athletes."
According to their schedule, the Red Devils will be spending much of October on the road. After the home opener Saturday, Ridge isn't slated to be back at Lee Field again until Oct. 28.