WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - The Wood-Ridge Mayor and Council honored the Wood-Ridge High School boys soccer team with for their 2019 season with a special focus on the Blue Devils capturing the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference Tournament in October. It is the first soccer title in the short history of Wood-Ridge soccer as a standalone program.
Also noted by Mayor Paul Sarlo were the players who were named All NJIC Meadowlands:
First Team: Forward Boubou Camara, midfielder Seydou Camara, back Domenico Petruzzulla and goal keeper Phil Iaocovelli. Mention was made that Iavocelli is graduating as the leader in wins and shutouts in Wood-Ridge school history.
Second Team selections included midfielder Dillan Suelta and back Marcus Benevides, while Andy Quituizaca was an honorable mention selection.
Head coach Alberico DePierro spoke about the team’s season.
“The 2019 season was truly a season of accomplishments,” De Pierro stated “When we lost Jason Lopez to an ACL tear, and having already known that we lost another key player who transferred out of district in addition to those who graduated in June, it was easy to feel that the 2019 season had become an insurmountable climb. Not many Group 1 schools can lose their All-Group 1 center back and figure out not only a way to survive, but to have the best season in program's history, win an in-season tournament and advance to the quarterfinals of what is arguably one of the best sections in the entire state. “
“This team faced adversity straight in the eye and did not back down,” the coach continued. “Even though there were moments in the season that were setbacks and letdowns, the accomplishments outweigh any of that. We went from 12 to 15 wins , a new program record. We finished in the top 3 in our hotly contested league, won the NJIC Tournament, and returned to the quarterfinals of the state sectional tournament. However, what I loved most about this season is the passion that these players played with down the stretch of the season as we really started to peak in the first week of October. The players absolutely elevated their play, elevated their preparation, and built a bond that unified the team at the right time.
“We also had unbelievable seasons from key players,” DePierro stated. “Phil Iacovelli as our returning captain and goalie kept us in every game allowing him to graduate as the all time wins and shutouts leader. His presence on the game and practice field has been truly priceless and his graduation leaves a gaping hole in net and in leadership. Alongside him defensively, Domenico Petruzzella stepped up for the team, as he was asked to replace Jason in a very difficult role and away from his usual position as central midfielder. Being the talented player he is, he filled the role with great performances and all-first team selection for him. Our attack was a huge part of our success this year as Dillan Suelto, Seydou Camara, and Boubou Camara were exceptional in generating the offense desperately needed for years. Between the three of them combined, they compiled 44 goals and 29 assists and many of those goals were in key games and in playoff games.
“This team was truly exceptional and in reality this team for the last two years has begun the foundation towards establishing this program as a mainstay and that was even tangible in the stands as our attendance numbers were their highest ever and the support from the community has been something that we have never seen before.“
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