Bishop Eustace Crusaders
Players to watch: With Eustace graduating its two leading scorers from a year ago, it will need a new No. 1 option to emerge on offense, and junior midfielder Sam Gray is the leading candidate. Gray has been a varsity contributor since his freshman season and had six goals and four assists last year to earn all-conference first-team honors. Senior midfielder Cameron Acito and sophomore midfielder Andrew Pietrangelo were all-conference second-teamers last year and are also key returners. Defensively, junior Jacob Ayoub is a returning all-conference first-teamer and senior captain Jonathan Cole joins him in leading the back line. Senior Matthew DiArenzo should be in line to take over as the starting goalie after serving as the backup in 2014. Other returners include seniors Max Iles, Mike Iles and Kevin Kopervas; juniors Brian Bernetich, Danny Gault, Chris Krawiec and Anthony Pinto; and sophomores John Kueny, Vincent Lamina and Matthew Pattison.
OUTLOOK: The Crusaders finished with an 11-8-1 record in 2014—winning six more games than the year before—and reached the South Jersey Non-Public A quarterfinals. They have some important players to replace but hope to keep improving.
Camden Catholic Fighting Irish
Players to watch: Senior Jay Lee earned all-conference first-team recognition last year and leads the list of returners for the Irish. He played in the midfield but is expected to move up to forward. Sophomore forward Christian Belz was all-conference second team in 2014 and is another important returner. The Irish also have high expectations for juniors Matt Viola, a center midfielder, and Kyle Cooney, a versatile player who will be used all over the field. Junior Jack Dragoni is another key returner who ended last season as the starting goalie.
OUTLOOK: Camden Catholic finished 3-14-1 in the first season under highly respected coach Larry Sullivan and should continue to show improvement this fall.
Players to watch: Cherokee graduated a lot of talent, including sensational offensive players Danny Hampton and Robert Gillin and solid defenders Joe Dikmak and Dotan Argano. But a solid core remains, including senior goalie Eamon McCarren, an all-South Jersey third-teamer last fall. Junior forward Jake Treiber, an all-conference second-teamer, is the leading returning scorer after registering nine goals and three assists as a sophomore. The midfield has experienced players in seniors Christian Ognibene (four goals, four assists) and Justin McCarthy (four, three) and junior Ryan Haines (two, four). All-conference second-teamer Zach Rowe leads a group of returning seniors on defense that also includes Mario LaMorte and Luke Gibson, and senior Rei Nozawa is back at forward.
OUTLOOK: The Chiefs have several returning starters from a 19-4-1 team that reached the sectional semifinals, as well as a lot of depth at every position. They are excited to see how the season progresses.
Cherry Hill East Cougars
Players to watch: The Cougars graduated 10 players from last year’s team, including midfielder Kyle Lochbihler, who scored nine of their 15 goals and assisted on two others. They will be counting on senior leadership from midfielder Harrison Faulseit (three assists in 2014), Olin McClendon (two goals, one assist) and Zach Fox (one goal, two assists), an all-conference second-team selection. Junior goalie Colin O’Donnell, who also earned all-conference second-team honors, is another key veteran. Two featured newcomers are seniors Josh Salkin and Antonio Romero, who was all-conference second team two years ago. Salkin and Romero both played academy soccer last year and are receiving college interest. Other returning seniors are midfielders Pierce Elliot, Ian Bernard and goalie Lee Rosen-Swell. Juniors include promising forward Tommaso Cavallo, midfielder Andrew Lochbihler and back Nick Reganata.
OUTLOOK: The Cougars went 6-14 and lost in the first round of the South Jersey Group IV playoffs. They’ll look to bounce back and contend for a winning record.
Cherry Hill West Lions
Players to watch: Senior forward Nick Krake netted 14 goals last fall—earning all-conference first-team recognition—and should be one of the top finishers in South Jersey this year. He’ll have help up front from forward Ishmael Boakai, a junior originally from Liberia who had four goals and three assists last season to earn all-conference second-team honors. Senior midfielder Joseph Poole (two goals, three assists) and junior midfielder Kevin Hoxha (three goals, four assists) are other talented offensive players and senior Danny Buckwalter is a key returner on defense who made the all-conference second team. Senior midfielder/forward Ahmed Saidi and junior defenders Max Bond and Chris Juan are returners expected to step into starting positions, and senior David Rochford will compete with junior Andrew Robertson for the starting keeper position.
OUTLOOK: The Lions went 11-9-1 and suffered a 1-0 loss to Ocean City in the South Jersey Group III semifinals—the third straight year they were eliminated by the eventual sectional champion. They seem to reach double digits in wins every year and this one should be no different.
Players to watch: Clearview was hit hard by graduation, losing 12 players from last year’s team, including all-South Jersey goalie Ricky Nelson and leading scorers Matt Hendrickson and Gavin Bright. The three starters who return are backs Drew Ryback and Shawn Moran, both seniors, and junior midfielder Gavin Hunter. Senior forward Andrew Norcross and junior midfielder Nick Scanzano are returning veterans and sophomore midfielder Justin Bilderback should be ready for a bigger role after seeing time as a freshman. Senior Jared Simmerman is in line to take over as the starting keeper. Other returners are seniors David Charles and Tommy Van Gemert and juniors Billy Zorzanello and Blake Logan.
OUTLOOK: The Pioneers are clearly in transition after losing so many key pieces from last year’s 13-7-1 team, which lost in the South Jersey Group IV quarterfinals. But this is a program that has qualified for the Coaches Tournament for seven straight years and it will remain competitive.
Players to watch: All-South Jersey first-team defender Logan Edwards and second-team midfielder John Salicandro have graduated, so Eastern will be looking for new leaders. The Vikings have experience in goal with seniors Gabe Sable and Dan Khariton, and junior midfielder Irfan Jamil (four goals) is the leading returning scorer. Senior forward Vivek Trivedy, senior midfielder Sam Beluch and junior forward Diego Valle are other key veterans. Other players who could have an impact are seniors Aiden O’Malley, Zach Goldberg, Louis Hark, Tommy Katsaros, Daniel Lim and Dominic Moore.
OUTLOOK: Last year was a successful one for the Vikings, who went 13-6-3 and reached the semifinals of the Coaches Tournament and the sectional quarterfinals. They also were the only team to defeat Group IV state champion Washington Township. It will be difficult to duplicate that success, but they hope to remain competitive.
Gloucester Catholic Rams
Players to watch: The Rams bring back a formidable pair of forwards in senior Nick Testa, who had 13 goals and three assists in 2014, and sophomore Justin Phy, who shined in his rookie season with five goals and 10 assists. The midfield is also solid with seniors Chris Kain (seven goals) and Ray Anzola (five goals) and junior Nick Myers (three goals). Senior Brandon Buckland returns as the starting keeper and junior DJ Matsinger is also an experienced goalie. Other important returners are senior James Breen and juniors Colby Hogan and Greg Williams.
OUTLOOK: The Rams went 13-4-1, won the Tri-County Conference Classic Division and reached the South Jersey Non-Public A quarterfinals. With a lot of talent returning, expect them to be in the mix for the division title again.
Players to watch: Haddonfield returns many of its key players from last season, including brothers Wyatt and Jack Dugan, who played on the same team for the first time last year and had terrific results. Wyatt, a senior midfielder, has scored six goals each of the last two years and also had five assists in 2014. Jack, a sophomore, led the Bulldawgs with 10 goals as a rookie and also dished out five assists. He was the only freshman in South Jersey to receive all-conference first-team recognition. Sam DeCencio joins him as one of the top sophomores in the area after recording six goals and seven assists as a rookie. Another huge piece of the offense is senior forward Matt Fell, who scored five goals last year despite missing three-quarters of the season with a hip injury. Senior Jonathan Baxter is back as the starting goalie after earning all-conference second-team honors for the second straight year, while senior Cole Fabbri, a four-year starter and all-conference first-teamer, anchors the defense. Senior Cole Pollack emerged as the Bulldawgs’ shutdown defender on the opposition’s best player last year, and other key returners on defense are seniors Richie Bond and Sam Bealor and junior Noah Huenergarth. Junior Jon Skibba (four goals) is one of the team’s most creative players, and junior Albert Pera will also battle for a spot in the midfield after missing last season with an injury. Senior Jack Roberts, junior Adam Goodman and sophomore Finn Miller will all push Baxter for playing time in Haddonfield’s deep goalkeeping rotation.
OUTLOOK: The Bulldawgs had a down year—by Haddonfield standards—finishing with an 11-9 record in 2014 after losing in the sectional quarterfinals. Look for them to bounce back in a big way this fall.
Players to watch: Senior midfielder Matt Blaszczyk, who scored four goals and was named to the all-South Jersey team by the S.J. Soccer Coaches Association last fall, leads the list of returners for Kingsway along with senior Dan Rival, who coach John Green calls the backbone of the team. Blaszczyk and Rival have both been named captains. Fellow seniors Jeremiah Lugo (three goals, three assists) and Tyler Mirra (two goals) are also key contributors. The Dragons also had five freshmen on varsity last season, including Austin Ogren, who scored twice, and Brady Hochman, who saw time in net and will battle for the starting keeper position with junior Ben Komadina and sophomore Noah Turner. Steve Licciardello and Jared Kreps are other returning seniors, while juniors include Carl Vicere and Nick Zanhiser.
OUTLOOK: The Dragons finished with a 10-7-2 record in 2014 but fell short in their bid for a third straight Tri-County Royal Division title. They’ll look to remain competitive in the division this fall and reach double digits in wins for the fifth straight year.
Players to watch: Lenape graduated 16 players from last year’s squad, including all-conference first-team goalie Chris Solecki, so this team will certainly have a new look. Senior midfielder Jack Barlow, who scored five goals and was named to the all-conference second team, highlights the group of returners. Senior Peter Monti (four goals) and junior Sean Donnelly are also key contributors. Other returners are seniors Aaron Blood and Josh Dawicki; junior Jack Guerrieri; and sophomore Billy Bruno.
OUTLOOK: After posting a 9-6-4 record and losing in the sectional quarterfinals, the Indians will aim for another winning season despite the losses to graduation.
Players to watch: The Quakers return a talented finisher in senior forward Harry Inglis, who scored a team-high 16 goals in a breakout 2014 season. Fellow seniors Ross Lazarus (four goals), Will Stewart, Anthony Youseff and Noah Toro—who will look to take over as the starting keeper—are other key returners. Other players who could have an impact are seniors Andrew DeMalo, Kevin Calhoun and Walker Schwartz; and juniors Diego Arvelo and Noah Michaud.
OUTLOOK: The Quakers struggled down the stretch last year and finished with a 9-9-4 record after losing in the sectional quarterfinals. They’ll look to get back to a winning season under new head coach Mike Randall, as former coach Mike Sutcliffe retired after building the program into one of South Jersey’s best in 25 seasons on the job.
Moorestown Friends Foxes
Players to watch: Despite the graduation of all-South Jersey second-teamer and leading scorer David Howarth, the Foxes have a strong returning cast led by senior midfielder Matt Mullock, who was one of the team’s captains as a junior. He had four goals and eight assists in 2014 and made the all-Friends League first team. Seniors Chris Grahn, Andrew Karolidis, Mitchell Mullock and Kieran McMenamin are key pieces in the defense and midfield. Senior Josh Murdy returns as the starting goalie after a strong junior season.
OUTLOOK: The Foxes finished 11-7-1 in 2014, reaching the sectional quarterfinals and Friends League semifinals. Although the loss of Howarth is a big one, they have the potential to post their third straight season of double-digit wins.
Paul VI Eagles
Players to watch: Senior forward Ji Park led Paul VI with nine goals in 2014 and was named to the all-conference first team. He leads the way this year along with senior midfielder Jack Stewart, who was all-conference second team. Senior Tyler Foulke scored three goals and also saw time at keeper, and other experienced seniors are Brian Boligitz, Nick Locantore, Matthew Kapczynski and Treven Still. Other players who could contribute are seniors Dan Boucot and Nicholas Faichtyger and juniors Logan Fanrak and Paolo D’Alassandro.
OUTLOOK: The Eagles went 7-12-1 and lost a close game to rival Bishop Eustace in the first round of the South Jersey Non-Public A playoffs. With a senior-laden squad, expect bigger things in 2015 as they welcome in a new head coach, Tim Mullowney. He was a four-year varsity starter at Cherry Hill West and has been an assistant at Paul VI for the last five years, so the program appears to be in good hands.
Seneca Golden Eagles
Players to watch: The Golden Eagles have a strong senior foundation with four all-conference first-teamers as well as their leading scorer all returning. Midfielders Pierce Adams (five goals, four assists) and Sean Heins (four goals, six assists), defender Tyver Butler and goalie Gus Valeriano were all honored by the Olympic Conference, while forward Cody Cassise netted 10 goals. Midfielder Brendan Brown and goalie Michael Bresan are other returning seniors and junior midfielder Evan Cajigas is also back.
OUTLOOK: The Golden Eagles have a strong tradition of winning seasons, including last year’s 11-8-3 campaign that ended in the sectional semifinals. They have the strong senior class to keep the tradition going.
Players to watch: Shawnee graduated its two leading scorers and three all-conference players, but does bring back all-conference second-team goalie Dalton Wu, a three-year starter. Senior Luke Morgan is a key player in the midfield, and other returners include seniors Robby Burton, Tim Birney, Drew Ruble and Johnny Johnson; and juniors JT Mogan, Dan Unger and Caleb Longshaw.
OUTLOOK: The Renegades’ 7-9-4 final record in 2014—which included a first-round playoff loss to Cherokee—was a bit deceiving as they were competitive with some of the top teams in South Jersey. They’ll look to turn some of those close losses into wins this fall.
Washington Township Minutemen
Players to watch: Washington Township said goodbye to the most accomplished senior class in program history, one that included three all-state players and six all-South Jersey players. This year’s team will certainly have a new look, but there are several key players who remain, including senior forward Ryan Logar, an all-conference second-teamer who had five goals and two assists. The senior class also includes goalie Travis Yates, a starter since his sophomore year; forward Brent Keeley (three goals); midfielders George Charalabidis (four goals, three assists) and Collin Yeiter (three goals); and defenders Will Connolly (three assists), Marc Murgo (pictured), Mike Roscioli and Scott Graham. Juniors Zach Green, John Dalesandro and Ethan Mueller could also be ready for bigger roles.
OUTLOOK: The Minutemen have been on an incredible run the last two years, with consecutive one-loss seasons highlighted by the program’s first state championship in 2014. They will surely drift to the back to the pack with the departure of so many great players, but will remain competitive.
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Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family’s High School Fall Sports Preview, July, 2015.
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