EAST HANOVER, N.J.- East Hanover Middle School Girls Soccer have a lot to be grateful for this off-season. TAPinto got an inside chat with the team over cake.
Coach Colleen Malzahn took the lead coach position this season, but is not new to East Hanover Middle School, "this has been an exciting time for these girls, a lot of them have played together for a long time," she said.
Sixth grade team members sat at two tables near the back and welcomed questions with great answers. Sophia Duarte, Faith Gibbons, Abby Liebhauser, Nicolette Peluso, Isabella Prestia, Savannah Tenore and Julia Wisniewski agreed unanimously agreed the eighth grade team members were welcoming and very helpful. For Tenore, this had great impact as she began playing soccer in Texas before her family moved to East Hanover. She said the programs in Texas were not as competitive as in New Jersey, but she had no problem adjusting. Peluso has played since she was five years old, and she loves the game. "We are friends, and we work well together," she continued, "the eighth graders welcomed us on the team and made us feel a part of the team."
When asked what was the hardest thing to learn, Prestia said "learning how everyone plays." Gibbons said learning to use her left foot was really hard. Liebhauser said she was stronger on defense, but helped out where ever she was needed. Wisniewski was deemed aggressive, in the best possible way, but did lead the team in fouls.
The eighth grade girls were excited and spoke about the team they will miss as they move on. Isabella Algieri attributed the team's success to the level of skill and how well everyone on the team connected. Alexandra Tate shared, " we hadn't had a county title in 48 years, and then we win back- to-back titles." Samantha Bogash and Victoria Cesaro were the backbone of the defense and both prefer defense, over offense. Bogash's advice to the team, " always listen to the goalie." Alyssa Alfano, team captain, was the leading goal scorer, with over 20 goals this season. Her advice, "shoot in the corner." Jadyn Mapura, also team captain said " the glue that keeps the game together is staying calm and never getting down." Isabella Algieri, Victoria Cesaro, and Arianna Alonardo were present.
Seventh grade team members, Isabella Califano, Nadia Castaneda and Mikayla Newell could not stay for the interview portion, but were an integral contribution to the team success.