WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - Starting the season with two of your best players out of the lineup was not what Wood-Ridge boys soccer coach Alberico DePierro had envisioned coming into the season.
Starting goalkeeper Philip Iacovelli will miss the Weehawken game, while Jason Lopez will miss a minimum of three weeks due to injuries suffered during the summer. Both were All-NJIC Meadowlands First Team selections a season ago.
“Last year, we said was about redemption,” DePierro said. “And we were able to get redemption, getting the program back on track, being tough to play against every game. But you can’t have redemption two years in a row.
“Prior to the injuries, we had come up with the word for this season, ‘Elevate,’ and that is what we as a team will have to do,” DePierro stated. “I am confident in this group, working as a team, can do that.”
Goalkeeper: With Iacovelli missing Weehawken, but expected back for their game at St. Mary (Rutherford) a week on September 12, the Blue Devils coach will turn to sophomore Kyle Ramos to fill in. Ramos had been slated to spend the year developing at the junior varsity level, but will now, for at least one game, be asked to “elevate” his game and fill-in at varsity.
When Iacovelli returns, the Blue Devils will have a proven goalkeeper, who made First Team All-Meadowlands in his first year starting.
Defender/Backs: Jason Lopez (Senior) , Andrew Aziz (Senior), Nate Auslander (Junior), Phillip Forte (Junior) , Nick Mychalik (Sophomore), Chirstian Urguilla (Freshman)
WIth Lopez gone, the Blue Devils will need to rely on some players making the step up to the next level.
Aziz is a senior who needs to take over leadership of the backline with Lopez out. Auslander is trying to step in his for his brother, who started last year for the Blue Devils, while Forte is new to the program, but has shown skill. Mychalik will need to step up for Lopez early, but DePierro is hopeful he is up to the task.
Midfield: Domenico Petruzzella (Senior), Andy Quituizaca (Senior), Joey Rose (Senior), Nicholas Turi (Junior), Tommy Burniston (Freshman), Remy Ottavaer (Freshman), Jefferson Gonzalez (Freshman)
The strength of the Blue Devils team is in the midfield position with plenty of depth and experience leading the way. DePierro is confident in his depth, and notes that this is, for the first time since he has been coach, where most of the experienced players are.
In the center of the midfield will be Petruzzella, a Second Team All-Meadowlands midfielder a season ago. He is the Blue Devils go-to guy, a smart and tenacious player who will mark the other teams best offensive player as well as contribute on offense. A four year starter, De Pierro thinks he is the best technical player he has had at Wood-Ridge.
Quizuizaca is another “gritty, roll your sleeves up type of player” who DePierro is counting on for strength and leadership in the middle of the field. Turi, DePierro believes, is his most improved player from a season ago, and had a “great summer.” A defender/center midfielder, DePierro believes he will have an impact on games, even if it does not show on the score sheet.
DePierro is also excited by the fact that he adds three freshmen in Burniston, Ottavaere, and Gonzalez who are ready to play right now from the town's recreation program.
Forwards: Boubou Camara (Senior), Dillan Suelto (Senior), Marcus Benevides (Junior), Seydou Camara (Sophomore), Matt Notarmaso (Junior)
These five will be fighting it out up from front for starting positions and quality minutes for the Blue Devils this year. They will provide versatility and depth, with the ability to swing back to outside midfield positions when needed.
“This is the year, in my six years as coach, that I am comfortable with number of offensive weapons we have," said DePierro. "We are going to have a solid rotation.”
|Wood-Ridge Boys Soccer Schedule|
|09-05-19||4:00PM||Weehawken||Pomponio Field, Moonachie|
|09-12-19||4:00PM||St. Mary's - Rutherford||St. Mary's - Tamblyn Field (Rutherford)|
|09-14-19||10:00AM||Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology||Pennington Park|
|09-16-19||7:30PM||Becton||Pomponio Field, Moonachie|
|09-18-19||3:30PM||North Arlington||Pomponio Field, Moonachie|
|09-20-19||4:00PM||Hasbrouck Heights||Hasbrouck Heights High School|
|09-24-19||4:00PM||Saddle Brook||Saddle Brook High School|
|09-26-19||4:00PM||Wallington||Pomponio Field, Moonachie|
|09-28-19||4:00PM||Weehawken||Waterfront Park/Field, Weehawken|
|10-01-19||7:30PM||Leonia||Wood-Ridge High School|
|10-03-19||4:00PM||Saint Mary's||Pomponio Field, Moonachie|
|10-04-19||4:00PM||McNair Academic||Pomponio Field, Moonachie|
|10-10-19||7:30PM||Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology||Wood-Ridge High School|
|10-16-19||6:00PM||North Arlington||North Arlington:Rip Collins Field|
|10-18-19||4:00PM||Hasbrouck Heights||Pomponio Field, Moonachie|
|10-22-19||4:15PM||Saddle Brook||Pomponio Field, Moonachie|
|10-24-19||4:00PM||Wallington||Wallington High School|
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