CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Heading into the 2019 season the Cedar Grove girls soccer team is looking to make their own mark on the program’s history.
“One of our goals is winning the first round of our State Tournament because it’s something that hasn’t been done and we’re looking to get over that hump,” said Head Coach Thomas Moogan.
Currently the squad is working on the strategic elements of the game that will ultimately make them successful.
“My biggest thing is controlling the ball, controlling the possession and moving the ball around. When we control the ball we control the game,” said Moogan.
The Panthers bring their most experience into the attack in 2019. Senior Jaime Dente and Junior Noelle Nicosia return to pressure opposing defenses. Last season the duo combined for 13 goals on the season.
“We’re looking for a lot of goal contribution from them. They’re both veterans and have the ability to score and it’s just a matter of getting their mindset correct,” said Moogan
In the midfield Cedar Grove will possess a number of players with key varsity experience. Kasey Dente returns following a four goal campaign in 2018 alongside fellow juniors Katherine Pachon and Lexys Caputo. The trio combined for a pair of assists in limited action as sophomores a year ago.
“We have a lot of speed in our midfield and up top,” said Moogan.
Rounding out the midfield will be newcomer and freshman Kaitlyn Wolfe. Wolfe has impressed thus far in the preseason to show she can play years above her age.
“[Wolfe] has shown us a lot of speed and skill on the ball in the preseason,” said Moogan.
Returning in net for Cedar Grove will be goaltender Carlene Topoleski. Last season the junior was solid collecting 212 saves and a pair of shutouts in her first full year of starting.
“[Topoleski] is one of our leaders out there, for us she’s the one who gives the most direction from the back and is a vocal leader out on the field,” said Moogan.
Topoleski will be viewed as the vocal leader of a defensive unit that is coming together as a whole. Veterans junior Olivia D’Amato and senior Gabriella Statile lead the way with the most experience for the group. Sophomore Erin Burke will be penciled in at the right back position, which is a new adjustment for her this season. Senior Katelyn Downs finishes out the unit for the squad.
“We’re in a slightly different formation than last year, but we’re in a better formation for the competition that we’re going to see this year,” said Moogan.
The Panthers will open their season on the road against Technology on September 4.
“It’s a team we’ve seen before that we’ve played well against…we’re going to continue to move the ball around in a fashion that’s going to get those good opportunities for us,” said Moogan.