RANDOLPH, NJ- After graduating eight starters and ten total seniors from last season’s 13-3-5 team, things are going to look very different for the 2020 Randolph’s girls’ soccer team. Most of those eight were significant contributors since sophomore year, plus goalkeeper Ellie Sciancalepore was a four-year starter; so graduation certainly left big shoes to fill for this year’s roster.
“Losing Ellie brought more than the need to replace a goalkeeper as she was also a tremendous leader and force for our team,” said coach Colleen Suflay. “Right now, we have multiple goalkeepers who are working hard for us to have a successful season.”
Coach Suflay named senior Caitlyn Olive as one of those who is providing the Lady Rams with leadership and strength out of the back. She further stated, “the goalkeepers are all working extremely hard as they know this season will be a wonderful challenge.” Sophomore Ally Kuridza has also been working in net.
Randolph does return two strong players from last year who were a big part of the team’s success, in senior Midfielder Kiki Iannacconi, and senior Claire Doto at Striker. Both girls were named captain this season.
When asked about her captains, Suflay called Iannacconi “A compassionate -servant leader who always puts the team before her own needs. Kiki leads by example on and off the field, makes good decisions and allows her team to learn and understand through her consistent pursuit of being a great role model.”
Suflay then continued to describe Doto as “A passionate- direct leader who consistently demands the best from each of her teammates. Claire is a fierce competitor and is an excellent example to younger players who seek a strong, driven role model.”
Joining Iannacconi at Wide Midfield will be juniors Lauren Alley and Kaley O’meara. In between them at Center Midfield the Lady Rams return another strong player in Junior Audrey McConnell who earned herself All-County and All-Conference honors last year. Junior Maddie Donnelly and sophomores Alexa Krone and Jill Palazzo will also be working at Center Mid this season.
“Even though we have many new faces this year, our team Chemistry is a lot stronger than I thought it would be,” said Iannacconi. “In the past few months, we’ve all gone through so much together; from the uncertainty of not having a season, to having a completely different season, it connected us in a strong way. We all know how important this season is to each other, which has helped bond us.”
For scoring punch up top at Striker, the team will certainly look for Doto to put the ball in the net, along with fellow senior Olivia Mancuso. Juniors Erin Finley, Dani Arcaro and sophomores Vivian Barry and Elise Soto also hope to provide some minutes in relief.
The back line on defense was a strength last year and will see all new faces this season. Junior Ariana Krone logged a good number of minutes in 2019 and brings some experience. She will be joined by fellow junior Jenna Alfieri, and sophomores Emma Keaney, Kiera Davies, Megan Serwick, and Becca Hai.
“With having a very new team, the biggest thing is getting the new faces used to the play at the varsity level, the accountability at the Varsity level, and most importantly focusing on being a ‘Team’,” said Iannacconi. “It’s my job to emphasize that we still have a season, and nothing has changed from last year. We have to work just as hard - actually even harder - since we have less time to achieve our goals this year on the field.”
Suflay had nothing but praise for how Doto and Iannacconi have handled their roles as leaders of a team that is in transition after the above-mentioned turnover from last year.
“Our captains have worked tremendously hard over the past few months to organize, gather, and lead this new group,” said Suflay. “They have organized multiple ways for total team engagement and team bonding and have done an awesome job at creating a new path for our team - as no captain before them have faced these challenges.
Suflay went on to say that she is thrilled to have the girls on the field after six months of uncertainty due to Covid-19, and like all other Fall sports the girls will play an abbreviated schedule.
“We will continue to work hard and be a contender in the new conference,” said Suflay. Our biggest strength is the opportunity to build a strong foundation and develop new players into a system over the next two years.”