Girls Soccer – Top 10 and Players of the Week
By Eric Braun
With the new school year finally hitting full stride, the girls soccer landscape is struggling to take shape with one preseason favorite taking care of business on the pitch while the other favorites are struggling to find their way. With still three quarters of the season left there is still time for teams to find their legs and jockey for postseason positioning.
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1. Colts Neck (3-0) CJ III – Hungry for another run at the Central Jersey Group III title, the Cougars are off to a fast start, led by junior Frankie Tagliaferri’s nine goals.
2. Ocean Township (3-0) CJ III – With wins over Rumson, Red Bank Catholic and Point Boro, the Spartans are poised for another great season and another shot at Colts Neck, which beat Ocean in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III semifinal last season.
3. Toms River North (3-0) SJ IV – With only four seniors on the squad, Toms River North is one of several A South teams relying on underclassman. The Mariners have opened with three impressive wins over Wall, Lacey and Red Bank Catholic.
4. Freehold Township (3-0) CJ IV – Two early season wins over state playoff teams Shore and Toms River South have the Patriots set to make another run at double-digit wins season for the third year in a row.
5. Brick Memorial (2-0-1) CJ IV – After losing 11 players to graduation last season, the Mustangs were expected to rebuild this season. Inside the Green and Gold locker room, they believe they are as good as anyone on the pitch and showed that with an opening day tie against state power Hunterdon Central, which beat Brick Memorial in the Central Jersey Group IV playoffs last season, 6-0.
6. Middletown South (3-0) CJ III – Change in coaching staff has not changed the course of these Eagles. With wins over Holmdel and Old Bridge they are off to another good start and will need to continue their growth against a tough October schedule.
7. Holmdel (2-1) CJ II – Defending Group II champions started off slow against Middletown South but have rebounded nicely with back-to-back wins against Matawan and Raritan. Player of the year candidate Gabriella Bair has picked up where she left off last season with three goals.
8. Wall (2-2) CJ III – Defending Shore Conference Tournament champion opened with a pair of one-goal loses to Toms River North and Colts Neck, but has rebounded with two straight wins over St. Rose and Red Bank Regional. After losing four players to graduation, the Crimson Knights are starting to find their chemistry.
9. Point Pleasant Boro (3-1) SJ II – With a fast start, the Panthers have upended defending Group I champion Shore Regional, Barnegat and Central and took a tough one-goal loss to Ocean. The young squad has the chance to make some noise in South Jersey Group II with their continued growth.
10. Toms River East (3-0) SJ IV – After consecutive losing seasons the Raiders are off to a fast start with wins over Central, Jackson Memorial and Lacey. Along this stretch, they have outscored their opponents 11-2 with two shutouts.
Rumson Fair Haven (2-1)
Freehold Boro (1-0)
Jackson Liberty (2-0)
PLAYERS OF THE MONTH NOMINATIONS
Frankie Tagliaferri, Jr., Colts Neck – Model of consistency: three goals and an assist in each of Colts Neck’s first three games.
Noah Smith, So., Central – Goalkeeper ranks among the top 10 in the NJSIAA with 42 saves and also has one assist on the season as well.
Jillian Conklin, So., Toms River East – The second-year standout has 2 goals and 3 assists in three Raiders wins.
Gabriella Bair, Sr., Holmdel – The Bucknell recruit recorded a hat trick against Raritan and added one assist.
Amy Pasternoster, So., Wall – Scored a hat trick against Red Bank Regional for her first three goals of the season to go along with one assist.