MONTVILLE, NJ - The Montville boys soccer team came up just short in 2018, as its impressive run to the sectional semifinals as the fifth seed came to an end with a 2-1 loss to top seed Paramus on the road.

But this year's squad has hopes of making an even deeper run in the state tournament, with a very talented cast of players returning. The vast majority of last year's lineup will be back on the field after gaining valuable experience during the 2018 campaign.

"It's extremely exciting knowing that we have a bunch of returning players and newcomers that can contribute right away as well," Montville coach Kevin Brown said. "The experience we have through building the program the past few years is going to play a key role in the team's success this year."

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The building process has certainly been a long one for this program, but is one that began to bear results during the 2018 season. Montville went five seasons without finishing with an above .500 record, but that changed last year as the team posted a 12-7-2 mark.

While nine seniors are gone from that squad, there is a ton of returning talent on the team, which includes senior midfielders Hunter Kolmodin and Brett Freeman, forward Giovanni LoGrasso and goalie Max Metz. The seniors will be counted on to lead the way, but there is also a strong junior class intact which has the likes of defenders Colin Hennigan, Alex Brynczka, and Ken Shimabuku. 

It figures to have a very strong starting lineup, but it also figures to have a deep team with newcomers Andres Lazo, Aaron Kurzer, Andrew Gordon, and Mats Kolmodin all expected to play key roles this season.

"Things are coming together nicely so far through preseason," Brown said. "We are fully prepared for what the season has in store for us. The guys look healthy and eager to make an even deeper run this year."

The team will open up the season on Wednesday as it travels to face an always-tough Roxbury program, one that handed Montville a season-opening loss last year. It will be the first divisional game for the team this year as well, as Roxbury is a part of the NJAC-National Division, which also includes the likes of Morris Hills, Parsippany Hills, Pope John, Sparta and West Morris.

But with an experienced lineup returning, Montville hopes to be in the conversation for the NJAC-National title, as well as the Morris County Tournament and the North 1, Group 3 state tournament.

"The team's goals for this year are to compete for conference, county and state championships," Brown said. "The keys to the programs success will be the depth of our bench and the experience we are returning from years past."

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