SUMMIT, NJ - They won matches against their toughest foes last season and reached the Union County Tournament semis before falling in Extra Time, but the growth experienced by the 2018 Summit High School Girls Varsity Soccer Team -- satisfying as it was -- has but served to create a hunger within the program to take the next step.
"We proved that we can play with anyone," said Hilltopper Head Coach Gary Healey, "now the girls need to believe that -- if we play to our potential -- we should win those matches."
In sports, where wins and losses dictate the dominant part of a season's narrative, woulda coulda shoulda normally has no place, but the 'could win' v. 'should win' dynamic that Healey details might be the difference between a good and great season for the girls from the 07901. Talent goes a long way to winning hardware, but hard work, dedication, team esprit de corps and, yes, confidence are big parts of the success stew.
The Maroon and White appears to have a cupboard full of all of those elements.
Coach Healey will employ a 3-5-2 formation and -- as has become en vogue professionally in the beautiful game these days -- he will look for his squad to play out of the back, meaning senior goalkeeper Sophie Zachara will not only be asked to keep the ball out of her net, but also to eschew the long punts on restarts, instead pushing the ball out to her defenders who will then link with the midfield as Summit moves forward up the pitch.
In front of Zachara will be a defense anchored by senior Fritzie diMayorca, who will be joined by classmate Arden Dooley and junior Rileigh Meyer.
In the midfield, the keys to the car have been handed to junior Skye Gilbert, who will start the engine on the Summit march goalward. Gilbert will partner with senior Ariel Shultz, sophomores Virginia Lustenberger and Ashley Thomas.
Up top, senior Keegan Mayer is the talisman, buoyed by sophomore Natasha Kim. Feshman Isis Ovares will like sit just behind the strike tandem, although the talented triumvirate will likely prove interchangeable.
Team captains are diMayorca, Mayer and Gilbert.
Healey has more 'soccer players' -- student-athletes with a primary passion and skill set aligned with the sport -- than in recent memory and says he and his team are "quietly excited" for the campaign ahead, referencing a recent scrimmage match in which his team zipped together a string of "15-20 passes" as they matriculated up the pitch.
Summit High School Girls Varsity Soccer
2019 Team Roster
13 - Fritzie diMayorca, senior - Defender (C)
15 - Keegan Mayer, senior - Midfield / Forward (C)
7 - Skye Gilbert, junior - Midfield (C)
01 - Sophie Zachara, senior - Goalkeeper
25 - Ariel Shultz, senior - Midfield / Defender
2- Arden Dooley, senior - DefenderSr
12 - Emily Sharpe, senior - Midfield
00 - Grace Weinberg, senior - Goalkeeper
20 - Emily Trimino, senior - Midfield
6 - Isabelle Sullivan, senior - Defender
24 - Sara Peñuela, senior - Midfield / Forward
4 - Mariana Peñuela, senior - Midfield / Forward
17 - Hannah Sheaffer, senior - Forward
5 - Kylie Levin, senior - Defender
9 - Victoria Dadourian, senior - Midfield
10 - Avery Johnson, junior - Midfield
18 - Rileigh Meyer, juniore - Defender
11- Natasha Kim, sophomore - Midfield / Forward
16 - Virginia Lustenberger, sophomore - Midfield / Defender
14 - Ashley Thomas, sophomore - Midfield
8 - Peyton Shallcross, sophomore - Forward
19 - Isis Ovares, freshman - Midfield / Forward
(C) - denotes team captain
Gary Healey - Head Coach
Matt Carder - Assistant Coach
Russell Burke - JV Head Coach
Anthony Ferrante - Freshman Head Coach
Summit High School Girls Varsity Soccer
All home games at Summit High School Upper Turf Field
Sept. 4 v. Westfield - 4p.m.
Sept. 7 @ Governor Livingston - 9:30 a.m.
Sept. 10 @ Scotch Plains-Fanwood 4 p.m.
Sept. 12 v. Union - 4 p.m.
Sept. 14 v. Union City - 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 17 v. Cranford - 4 p.m./
Sept. 19 @ Oak Knoll (Chatham Fields) - 4 p.m.
Sept. 24 @ Westfield - 4 p.m.
Sept. 26 v. Scotch Plains-Fanwood - 4 p.m.
Sept. 28 - Union County Tournament (prelim)
Oct. 2 - Union County Tournament (first round)
Oct. 3 v. Blair Academy - 4:45 p.m.
Oct. 5 - Union County Tournament (second round)
Oct. 7 - @ Union (Volunteer Park) - 4 p.m.
Oct. 10 @ Cranford (Memorial Field) - 4 p.m.
Oct. 12 - Union County Tournament (quarterfinals)
Oct. 14 @ Columbia (Underhill Field) - 4 p.m.
Oct. 16 v. Oak Knoll - 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 @ Ridge - 6 p.m.
Oct. 19 - Union County Tournament (semifinals)
Oct. 22 v. Hillsborough - 7 p.m.
Oct. 24 @ Villa Walsh - 4 p.m.
Oct. 25 or 26 - Union County Tournament (final)
Oct. 26 or 28 - NJSIAA Sectional Tournament begins