CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Joel Botros started off his first varsity season right.  With three goals and four assists in his first three games, he leads the team in points making him the Allstate Cedar Grove Athlete of the Week.  The Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Shelby Mobley, Allstate Insurance Agent, 471 Pompton Ave., Cedar Grove. 

“Joel scored in two out of the three opening games and has had at least one assist in every game,” said coach Mike Konopka.  “He has developed into one of the best attacking young players for the boys varsity soccer team this season.”

With a 3-1 record, Cedar Grove has started off strong with shutouts in their first two outings and a 4-1 win in their first conference game against Payne Tech on Wednesday.  The Panthers only loss was at the hands of a strong Glen Ridge team.

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“We started off with two high scoring games -- we won 8-0 and 9-0 but they weren’t really challenges,” Botros said.  “Then we played Glen Ridge who is one of the better teams in the county. We had a rough start and let up three goals, but we came together in the second half and played as a team.  Though we didn’t win, we showed the kind of team we are, the potential we have and we really outplayed them in the second half.”

Though proud of his contributions, Botros downplayed his role a bit, noting that the first two games were probably not as challenging as the ones they will face later this season.  

“Even though I’ve been scoring and assisting in the first two games, they weren’t really tough games so we haven’t really had an opportunity to show our potential until Glen Ridge, but this is my first year playing varsity and it’s definitely been nice to play with the big boys,” Botros laughed.

With one conference win under their belt, the Panthers have high hopes for a successful season.

“Our biggest strength right now is motivation.  We’re all really excited and motivated for the season and we want to win as many games as possible,” Botros said.  “We just need to remember what matters most -- the game. We need to stay focused and keep our heads in the game no matter what happens.”  

With the season just beginning, Botros seems to be taking it one game at a time and not looking too far ahead.  

“Ultimately, we just want to win as many games as we can, go as far as we can in states, and just play our best and have no regrets,” Botros said.  “I’m really thankful to have the opportunity to play and I’m glad my coach saw my potential.”

The Cedar Grove Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Shelby Mobley Allstate, 471 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove. 

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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