In Front of Goal and Throughout Season Summit H.S. Girls Soccer Aims to 'Captitalize' on Its Chances

2017 team captains, from left, Anna Turk, Leila Esposito, Helen Louise Johnson, and Kaleigh Brennan. Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit

SUMMIT, NJ - After a season that, in retrospect, looked less than stellar on paper -- the Hilltoppers went 5-10-5 in 2016 -- the importance of a key goal here, there or -- better yet -- here and there was further reinforced to the coaches and players of the Summit High School Girls Varsity Soccer Team, who know that they have to improve relative to taking their chances if they are to achieve the success they desire.

Chances, in soccer parlance, are opportunities, as in chances to score goals, something that the team did not do with enough regularity last season. Not taking your chances is a way of messing with The Soccer Gods and, in addition to being bad soccer karma, the missed ops increase a team's margin for error and lessen their chances of collecting 'Ws,' especially in tight matches.

The season in their rearview mirror was full of those, as Summit Hilltopper Head Coach Gary Healey -- while wincing a bit -- recalls vividly.

Sign Up for E-News

"We were ahead in three of the matches we lost, had two goal leads twice and ended up with draws. We have to improve our game management and find a way to get results."

If one does the math, flipping a couple of losses or draws to wins and the record could have looked a lot better, but Healey and his team are focusing not on looking back in a manner to rue what could have been, but rather to learn from margins they need to better exploit to positive effect in order to maximize their 2017 potential.

Hence the team motto -- 'Capitalize.'

Before they can take their chances, creating more of them is the first task, and Healy feels he has a lineup that can do that, possessing the ball more and more efficiently, playing the ball from the defense through the midfield and onto the forwards -- "playing from the back" -- and putting more pressure on the opposition.

Defensively, the 2016 Hilltoppers were solid, and even though they lost team captain and central defender Stella Spotts to graduation, Healey has seen the continued rise of junior Claire Murdock which will ease the transition. Murdock and sophomore Fritzie diMayorca -- who has had a strong pre-season -- will anchor the center of the defense in front of senior goalkeeper Catherine Maloney. The outside back positions in Healey's 4-3-3 formation will feature a mix of players, including seniors Iria Diaz and Leila Esposito, with Healey noting that a starting spots and 'minutes' were still rooted in intense competition between myriad players just days before the season's start.

The center of the park will see seniors Kaleigh Brennan and Anna Turk joined by freshman Skye Gilbert, with Healey looking for "more movement, pulling the opposition and creating channels" to exploit.

Up top, senior Helen Louise Johnson and sophomore Keegan Mayer will partner along with a committee of potential third attackers, likely to include senior Katie Bronikowski, junior Kelsey Space, and the versatile Esposito.

Team captains are Brennan, Johnson, Turk and Esposito.

Winning their division, an achievement Healey believes the team has "a legitimate shot at," doing damage in the County tournament, and getting some state tourney success are on the docket of goals set by Healy and his Hilltoppers, with the season commencing September 5 v. Union on the Upper Turf Field.

2017 Summit High School Girls Varsity Soccer Team Roster

13 - Kaleigh Brennan, Midfield, Senior (C)
10 - Helen Louise Johnson, Forward, Senior (C)
23 - Anna Turk, Midfield, Senior (C)
20 - Leila Esposito, Defense / Midfield / Forward, Senior (C)
1 - Catherine Maloney, Goalkeeper, Senior
8 - Iria Diaz, Defense, Senior
11 - Julia McGrath, Midfield, Senior
3 - Mary Nelson, Defense, Senior
5 - Carly Space, Defense / Forward, Senior
16 - Katie Bronikowski, Forward, Senior
14 - Emma Cho, Defense, Senior
19 - Kerri Palphreyman, Defense, Senior
9 - Charlotte Harris, Forward, Senior
12 - Claire Murdock, Defense, Junior
2 - Anna Griffith, Defense, Junior
6 - Kelsey Space, Forward, Junior
15 - Keegan Mayer, Forward, Sophomore
01 - Sophie Zachara, Goalkeeper, Sophomore
4 - Renee Hayford, Defense, Sophomore
25 - Ariel Schultz, Midfield / Forward, Sophomore
22 - Fritzie diMayorca, Defense, Sophomore
7 - Skye Gilbert, Midfield, Freshman

(C) - denotes team captain

Head Coach - Gary Healey
Assistant Coach - Matt Carder
JV Head Coach - Laura Cataldi
Freshman Head Coach - Anthony Ferrante

2017 Summit High School Girls Varsity Soccer Team Schedule

All home matches played on the Summit High School Upper Turf Field

Sept. 5, 4 p.m. v Union
Sept. 7, 4 p.m.@ New Providence
Sept. 9, 2:30 p.m. @ Rahway
Sept. 12, 4 p.m. v. Governor Livingston
Sept. 14, 4 p.m @ Cranford
Sept. 16, 2 p.m. v. Oak Knoll
Sept. 20, 4 p.m. @ Villa Walsh Academy
Sept. 28, 4 p.m. Scotch Plains-Fanwood
Sept. 30, Time TBD v. TBD @ TBD - Union County Tournament
Oct. 2, 4 p.m. v. Rahway
Oct. 5, 4 p.m. v. Westfield
Oct. 7, 4 p.m. v. TBD @ TBD - Union County Tournament
Oct. 10 , 4 p.m. v. Bernards
Oct. 12, 4 p.m. v. Union Catholic
Oct. 14, 4 p.m. v. TBD @ TBD - Union County Tournament - Quarterfinals
Oct. 17, 4 p.m. @ Oak Knoll
Oct. 19, 4 p.m. v. Governor Livingston
Oct. 20, 4 p.m. @ Chatham
Oct. 21, 4 p.m. v. TBD @ TBD - Union County Tournament - Semifinals
Oct. 25, 4 p.m. v. New Providence
Oct. 27, 4 p.m. @ Morristown
Oct. 28, 2 p.m.  v. Ridge
Oct. 30, 4 p.m. @ Union Catholic

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Sun, June 24, 8:00 AM

Summit Summer Farmers Market, Summit

Summit Farmers Market

Community Calendar Food & Drink Green Health & Wellness


Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM


MakerFest 2018

Summit Police Blotter

June 19, 2018

5/29 - Mark L. Howard, 21, of Nutley was arrested and charged with burglary, theft by unlawful taking and credit card fraud. Mr. Howard was processed and released with a pending court date.

5/29 - At 1143 hours a report was taken for a theft of stolen license plate from a River Road business. The victim reported the last time the license plate was seen on the property was within the ...

Video: Point View's Petrides Talks U.S.-China Tariff Tussle's Market Impact

June 19, 2018

Point View Wealth Management's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live on discussing the market impact resulting from tariffs between the United States and China:

​​​​​For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio ...

Pet Supply Drive at the Summit YMCA Through June 30 Benefits St. Huberts

Please help St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center by donating canned/dry food and edible treats for dogs, puppies, cats and kittens at the Summit YMCA Lobby through June 30. For more information about our Pet Supply Drive, please contact : Lisa Meyers 908-273-3330 ext.1186 or Patty Facchinei 908-273-3330 ...

Maximizing Your Portfolio’s Returns -- Beware the Taxman

The old adage in the investment world is that it is not what you make, but what you keep that counts.  Investors often overlook the ultimate deflator of portfolio returns – the taxman. An astute global asset allocation should be the number one priority for investors.  However, there are preferred ways to distribute this asset allocation over the spectrum of taxable and ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

Video: In The Zone with Christa Anderson

A must watch for anyone considering renovations, here is a recent interview that I conducted -- on my HomeTowne TV Show called “Are You Ready for Life?” -- with Christa Anderson, City of Summit Zoning Officer, to discuss the nuances within the variance process.

I asked Christa to shed some insight into the approval process, explain why it’s necessary, and ...

Hello, Neighbors

Hi, Summit families!

My name is Betsy Stoeber and I’ve been the owner and director at the specialized learning center Brain Balance of Summit since 2011. I first encountered Brain Balance the year before we opened as a parent. My own son participated in our innovative program at the center in Norwalk, CT, to address a number of learning challenges.

Traveling there three times per week ...