BASKING RIDGE, NJ -- The Ridge boys soccer team took its lumps last season in new head coach Enzo Minicozzi's first year at the helm.
Minicozzi hopes the learning experience gained by employing so many inexperienced players a year ago, plus the momentum that came from the team's improved play late in 2018, can propel the Red Devils to better things this fall.
Junior forward Chris Profaca, midfielders David Bartnik (jr.) and Danny Ruiz (senior), and junior defender Kevin Lopez are returning starters who gained valuable experience for Ridge last year, when the team was handled by more experienced opponents most of the way.
But Ridge closed out the campaign with a victory and a pair of ties, a manifestation of the team's upgraded performances late in the campaign.
"We are looking to build off of our three-game unbeaten streak at the end of last season," Minicozzi said. "We were a younger team that grew a lot in terms of our game and performance since the beginning of last season."
Although 2018 was his first season as the head coach, Minicozzi spent 14 previous years as an assistant at Ridge, so he is familiar with the program as well as with the challenges that come with doing battle in the Skyland Conference each fall.
Other seniors on this year's roster are Giovanni Amalfitano, Owen Brady, Michael Henderson, Nihal Kurki, Konstantine Kyros, John Lee, Robert Parisi, Alex Polansky, Vishal Rambaran, Rob Rutkowski and Matthew Stachowski.
The rest of the juniors on this Red Devils' roster are Brian Arrigan, David Bartnik, Nicholas Beckman, William Connors, Nicholas Fabbio, Colin James, Bryan Landadio and Matheson McCune. Sophomores who could see time include Ryan Poignant, Kevin Landadio and Juan Arcos.
"We have a strong work rate all throughout the lineup," Minicozzi said. "(It is) more of a 'by committee' type of team on both sides of ball."
Ridge opens its season on Wednesday, Sept. 4 at home against Watchung Hills.