CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Whether it's blocking a goal or helping to lead her team to a win, Carlene Topoleski has proven herself as a valuable player on the Cedar Grove girls soccer team. Now she's taking it one step further and proving herself as the deserving recipient of this week's Cedar Grove Athlete of the Week title, sponsored by Shelby Mobley Allstate Insurance.
"It feels like a big accomplishment," Topoleski said of the honor.
The freshman goalkeeper has been having a great season so far with 64 saves in 13 games and has helped the Panthers earn a record of 8-5.
"The season has been going well so far," Topoleski said. "And I think as a team we have improved from the start of the season."
The winning record has not come without some challenges, though, Topoleski said. The Panthers have been playing large and competitive high schools and Topoleski has been learning to adjust to her new team.
Still, Topoleski said she loves the environment and competitiveness that comes with soccer, and the Panthers sure have proven themselves as a worthy competitor. They even beat a team they've lost to in the past.
"A highlight has been winning against teams that we have lost to in the past, such as Golda Och, who we beat in overtime," Topoleski said.
Even though Topoleski is only a freshman, Coach Mike Moussab said she has become a trustworthy teammate and a leader on the field.
"Carlene has done a great job of earning the trust of her teammates. In her first 13 games of varsity soccer, she has record 64 saves," Moussab said. "She's been fearless coming off her line, she's always looking to get better in practice when she works with Coach Moogan, but what's more impressive is how she's becoming a leader on the field. She's always being vocal and I think the girls are starting to look to her as a leader of this team."