CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Last week the Cedar Grove boys soccer team made history winning their first-ever division title.  Leading the way for the Panthers all season has been senior Massimo Saletta. Last week alone, he scored three goals and had two assists in wins over Veritas and Newark Tech.  Saletta is 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. 

“Massimo is leading the team in scoring this year with 14 goals and 6 assists. His production this season has moved him into the #2 spot on the all-time points list for the boys' soccer program with 29 goals and 15 assists for a total of 73 points,” said Head Coach Mike Konopka.  “He has improved significantly from last year when he was selected to the All-State Team, as well as the All-County Team, and First Team All-Colonial Division and his performance has played a major role in the team’s success this season.”

Standing at 11-3 on the season, the Cedar Grove boys soccer team is having a historic season, the reward for years of hard work.

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“I think we’ve really come out of our shell this year.  All the hard work and dedication that we’ve put in has allowed us to take a new step and accomplish new things,” Saletta said.  “I think my brother [Simone Saletta] and I do a good job in the middle. We’ve really improved together and in turn have helped the people around us improve and I think our defense has been very strong this year.  We’re scoring and winning against teams that we never thought we could. It’s been an interesting journey.”

Not only did the Panthers win their first division title, they also went undefeated in division play.  Saletta said team chemistry has played a big part in the team’s success.   

“Working as a team has always been a challenge.  We don’t have a big team like some other schools do.  We don’t have a lot of kids in Cedar Grove so there are new kids every year,” Saletta explained.  “So we lose the chemistry that we built the year before and need to start over, but this year I think we developed chemistry quickly and that gave us confidence to take on better teams.”

With the state tournament on the horizon, Saletta wants to finish his senior season and high school career strong.  

“Winning the division was definitely the best part of the season so far.  It was really emotional and to be able to do it as a senior and be part of Cedar Grove history -- doing something that no one else has done -- it feels good,” Saletta said.  “Going into states we just need to keep our heads up and keep working hard. We hope to win a few games, but if we don’t, we’re still a team. But I think we can keep up our energy and keep it going and be successful until our season ultimately ends.”

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

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