WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - Wood-Ridge girls soccer coach Jerry Cala came into the season excited by the strides his Lady Blue Devils program was making. Getting ready for Monday afternoon’s opening round game at Dayton High School (Springfield, NJ) in the North 2 Group 1 tournament, he is still excited.
The Lady Blue Devils finished 6-11-2, and are the 11th seed in North 2. Dayton, the fifth seed, finished 7-11-1.
“We are very excited to be in the post-season,” Cala stated. “Making the state playoffs is something we do not take for granted. The girls have earned the right to be in this position.(While) our regular season did not play out the way we had hoped.
“We had four divisional losses by one goal and all four of these matches were decided late in the second half or in golden goal (overtime),” Cala continued. “However, overall, we have been in just about every game. This is a testament to our character and 'never say die' attitude. My girls have shown that they are a resilient and unified group.
“With that being said, we have put the regular season behind us, “ Cala continued. “The state playoffs offer everyone a clean slate. We are looking forward to facing Dayton on Monday night. It will be a difficult matchup. As usual, we have played a lot of good schools within our division (Meadowlands.)
“In addition, we also played a very diverse, independent schedule which included several schools from the Big North,” Cala stated. "This season we decided to enter the Bergen County tournament and we were awarded the 31st seed. We faced Dwight Englewood who is ranked in the top 20 in North Jersey. For these reasons, we are prepared and ready for Monday's challenge."
But it is not only the varsity team that has Cala excited.
Not only did the junior varsity season end the season with a 2-1 victory over Lodi behind goals from Gabriela Vazquez and Ava Picheo to finish at 4-5-2, it is the first time the JV has played a full season in Wood-Ridge girls short soccer history.
"I am very excited that we were able to play a full JV schedule this season,“ Cala stated. “It shows just how far we have come as a program. This is another indication that we are headed in the right direction. This year we have a roster of 31 girls in the program which is the largest in our 7 year history. This is a credit to all current and past players as well as the Wood Ridge recreation and travel soccer programs. We look forward to the continued growth of the program."
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