Girls Soccer – 2023 Season Preview: Class A Central
Class A Central has a slightly different look for the 2023 season. Enter Red Bank Regional, which moved from Class B North, while Monmouth Regional moved to Class B Central and Trinity Hall headed to Class B North.
The division also sees three coaches who will be making their coaching debuts this season. All three of those coaches take over teams that can compete for the division title, including last year’s division winners, Red Bank Catholic, as former assistant coach George Black takes over.
Rumson-Fair Haven and Wall Township, who both also have first-time head coaches and met on another in the 2022 Central Jersey Group 2 Finals, will be looking to knock RBC off in the A Central race.
For the first time in over a decade Shore Regional did not win Central Jersey Group 1 and finished below .500 on the season. They bring back a good part of their roster from last year and will look to improve on their two division wins.
Holmdel saw a roster overhaul from their Group 2 championship team in 2021 and the players gained a lot of experience last season and will aim to be above .500. Newcomer Red Bank Regional will be facing harder competition and will use that challenge to make themselves tougher in Central Jersey Group 3 this season.
Raritan qualified for the Shore Conference Tournament last season and, with the majority of the roster returning, will look to use that experience to surprise some teams.
In predicted order of finish
Red Bank Catholic Caseys
Head Coach: George Black, first season
Assistant Coaches: Annie Flego and Alexis Borrino
Record Last Year: 14-5
Returning Players: Jyvanna Harris (SR. Def; 5 A (2021)), Molly Sheehan (SR. Def; 1 A), Riley Egan (SR. Def), Ashley Inacio (SR. Mid; 4 G, 2 A), Emily Beyer (SR. Mid; 2 A), Mia Gonzales (SR. Mid; 1 G, 3 A), Mya King (SR. Fwd; 13 G, 7 A), Iva Carton (SR. Fwd; 7 G, 5 A), Isabelle Akunwafor (SR. Def), Alivia Kuliwak (SR. Fwd; 1 A), Tess Beams (JR. Def; 3 A), Izzy Melilli (JR. Def; 1 G), Cailin Naughton (JR. Mid), Paige Foye (SO. Fwd/ Def; 1 G, 4 A), Ava Phillips (SO. Def/Mid), Olivia Racioppi (SO. Mid/Fwd), Kylie Gallagher (SO. Mid/Fwd; 5 G, 1 A)
Key Newcomers: Payton Cox (FR. Fwd), Heidi Wiermanand (FR. GK). Cailin Naughton (JR. GK), Brelin Menezes (SO. Mid), Mia Cupo (FR. Fwd), Tina Morojes (FR. Def), Sam Mierzwiak (FR. Def)
Team Outlook: RBC went undefeated last season in Class A Central on its way to the division title, but they had an uncharacteristic early exit in the Shore Conference Tournament. The Caseys were upset in the quarterfinals by Point Boro, 3-1, but rebounded by making it to the final of the South Jersey Non-Public A Sectional, where they were defeated, 2-1, by Paul VI. RBC brings back last year's leading scorer, senior Mya King, who scored 13 goals and has 33 in her career. The biggest question for first-year head coach George Black is who will start in goal with Peyton Auriemma graduating? The Caseys do receive a boost with senior All-Shore defender, Jyvanna Harris returning from injury that caused her to miss last season.
Rumson-Fair Haven Bulldogs
Head Coach: Jeff Herkimer, first season
Assistant Coaches: Rachel Marino, Missy Maguire, Alyssa Trocchia
Record Last Year: 11-8-2
Returning Players: Kate Hennen (SR. Def; 3 G, 1 A), Addison Duffy (JR. Def), Anna Marshall (SR. GK), Sydney Garfunkle (JR. Def), Ella Mason (SR. Mid/Fwd; 2 G, 3 A), Natalie Gauss (JR. Mid), Ellie Mee (SR. Def), Brooke Lucci (JR. Fwd/Mid), Arielle Morris (SR. Mid), Stella Saad (JR. Fwd/Mid; 3 G, 3 A), Katriana Walls (SR. GK), Avery Stoever (JR. Fwd), Paige West (SR. Mid; 8 G, 4 A), Reagan Haley (SO. Def), Mia Carey (JR. Mid/Fwd , G:1), Lauren McBarron SO. Fwd/Def), Chloe Dengler (JR. Mid; 1 G, 4 A), Erin Reid (SO. Fwd)
Newcomers: Aubrey Scoble (JR. Mid; 14 G, 4 A) - Transfer from Trinity Hall
Team Outlook: Rumson brings back a good portion of the team that made it to the Central Jersey Group 2 sectional final last season. The biggest question first-year head coach Jeff Herkimer will have is who will step up and be the team's leading scorer with Janey Sypeck graduating? One option is junior Aubrey Scoble, who transferred from Trinity Hall. She scored 14 goals last season, which would have led the Bulldogs. Rumson should be hard to score on with senior goalkeeper Katie Walls and All-Shore defender senior Kate Hennen both returning.
Wall Crimson Knights
Head Coach: Annie Menafra, first season
Assistant Coaches: Kyra La Ferlita, Jenna Karabin, Shelby Mogavero
Record Last Year: 13-8
Key Returners: Aileen Carr (SR. Def; 2 G), Ellie Hartz (SR. Fwd; 3 G, 4 A), Erin Farrell (JR. Fwd; 5 G, 4 A), Madison Miller (SO. Fwd; 3 G), Saige Santa Cruz (SR. GK), Nelly Bianchi (SR. GK), Alexa Ker (SR. Def), Ava Murano (SR. Mid; 1 G), Erynn Ritchey (JR. Def; 1 A), Sophia Burnell (JR. Mid; 1 A), Grace Holobinko (SO. Def), Cali Buxbaum (SO. Mid; 2 G, 3 A), Hannah Leete (SO. Def; 1 A), Madalyn Peterson (SO. GK),
Newcomers: Samantha Brett (JR. Mid/Fwd; 1 G, 4 A) - Transfer from St. Rose; Megan Farrell (FR. Fwd), Kelsey Hallock (FR. Fwd), Bridget Petillo (FR. Mid)
Team Outlook: Wall had a rollercoaster 2022 season, starting the off by winning six out of their first seven matches. Then they lost six out of the next seven games, which resulted in a first-round exit in the Shore Conference Tournament. The Knights then got hot when it mattered the most by defeating Rumson in the Central Jersey Group 2 Finals and advancing to the Group 2 championship, which they lost to West Morris, 1-0. Wall brings back the majority of its team that saw important minutes last year, but will need someone to fill the hole left by Kiersten Brown, who led the team with 10 goals last season. The Knights bring back one of the Shore's toughest defenses, led by Aileen Carr and two seniors who rotate in goal -- Saige Santa Cruz and Nelly Bianchi.
Shore Regional Blue Devils
Head Coach: George Moutis, 17th season
Assistant Coaches: Darren Spadavecchia
Record Last Year: 5-11-2
Returning Players: Amelia Agresti (SR. Def; 4 A), Ava Agresti (SR. Mid; 4 G, 3 A), Kasey Bazydlo (SR. Fwd; 6 G, 4 A), Valerie Hayes (SR. Mid,) Olivia Masica (SR. Def), Ellysa Herschenfeld (SR. Def), Shea Vezina (SR. Fwd), Mary Creighton (JR. Fwd; 2 G, 2 A), Sofia Merten (JR. GK), Hayden Neuhaus (JR. GK), Ava Caputo (JR/ Mid), Jenna Eichenbaum (SO. Fwd; 8 G), Megan Kelly (SO. Mid), Kiera Green (SO. Fwd; 1 G), Devan Schiavo (SO. Mid; 2 A)
Newcomers: Tori Spadavecchia (SO. Mid), Alex Klein (FR. Mid), Gabby Garofalo (FR. Def)
Team Outlook: For the first time since the 2011 season, Shore Regional did not win Central Jersey Group 1, falling to Point Pleasant Beach, 3-2. The Blue Devils bring back a large portion of their roster from last season and they have their eyes set on returning to the CJG1 finals. Even with a poor season, Shore Regional had some highlights including handing Point Pleasant Boro their first loss of the season. The Blue Devils also bring back their leading scorers from last season: sophomore Jenna Eichenbaum finished with eight goals and senior Kasey Bazydio had six. The Agresti sisters, Amelia and Ava, will also use their experience to help the team compete in Class A Central.
Head Coach: Brianna Brennan, second season
Assistant Coaches: Eric Hinds, Katie Mulhern, Kelsey O’Brien
Record Last Year: 9-9
Key Returners: Moyosola Adeyeri (SR. GK), Abigail Hinds (SR. Mid; 2 A), Felicia Arena (SR. Mid; 1 G), Kayla Bielan (SR. Def; 2 G, 2 A), Sophia Laudi (SR. Fwd; 5 G, 3 A), Katie Naughton (SR. Mid; 1 A), Lily Reardon (JR. Mid; 10 G, 4 A), Brielle McClarnon (JR. Fwd; 5 G, 3 A)
Newcomers: Kaitlyn Ng (FR. Def)
Team Outlook: After graduating 20 players over the past two seasons, Holmdel has only two players left from their 2021 Group 2 Championship team: junior Lily Reardon and senior Sophia Laudi. Reardon had a breakout season, leading the Hornets with 10 goals last year. This squad saw a lot of minutes last year and is looking to improve on their .500 record with a deeper postseason run than last season's first-round exits in both the Shore Conference Tournament and Central Jersey Group 2 section.
Red Bank Regional Bucs
Head Coach: Ashley Rosenberg, sixth season
Assistant Coaches: Adam Merklinger, Kelly Booth
Record Last Year: 9-8
Key Returners: Harper Brechman (SO. GK), Kate Meulener (SO. Def), Riley Joyce (SO. Mid; 2 G), Rory Fleming (JR. Def), Abby Murphy (SR. Fwd; 5 G, 3 A), Aileen Monahan (SR. Mid; 2 G, 2 A), Carolyn McCallion (SR. Fwd; 5 G, 3 A), Jillian Doody (SR. Mid), Leila Castell (SR. Mid; 8 G, 7 A), Lauren Connelly (SR. Mid; 1 G, 1 A), Sophia Callano (SR. Def; 2 G), Samantha Henry (SR. Mid; 1 G, 3 A)
Newcomers: Rose Lynch (FR. Mid/Fwd), Kelsey Roseland (FR. Def), Katherine Doody (SO. Def), Kathleen Deverin (SO. Fwd)
Team Outlook: Newcomers to Class A Central, Red Bank Regional graduated a good portion of last season’s roster. One position that remains the same is goalkeeper, as sophomore Harper Brechman started every game as a freshman last year and posted four shutouts. The Bucs graduated a strong defensive line and will rely on the experience Brechman gained as a freshman until the new defenders can come together. Senior Leila Castell is the team's top returning scorer with eight goals in 2022.
Head Coach: Fran Florio, 10th Season
Assistant Coaches: Stephanie Pallone
Record Last Year: 4-9-3
Key Returners: Keira Johnson (SR. Fwd; 4 G, 1 A), Blake Cregg-Wedmore (SR. Def; 1 A), Julianna Thorn (SR. Fwd), Isa Geoghan (JR. Mid; 2 G, 1 A), Bella Ianello (JR. Fwd), Elizabeth Fogerty (JR. Fwd; 1 G, 1 A), Ashley Fogerty (JR. Def; 1 G, 3 A), Brigid Hatton (JR. GK), Natalie Dieppa (SO. Def), Morgan Rafferty (SO. Mid; 1 A), Brooke Shea (SO. Fwd; 4 G)
Newcomers: Ellianna Ferrao (JR. Def), Meghan Guiney (SO. Def), Gianna Manfredi (SO. Fwd), Bella Aquilone (SO. Def), Jenna Benoit (FR. Fwd)
Team Outlook: The Rockets look to build on last season after qualifying for the Shore Conference Tournament. Raritan brings back the majority of its lineup from last season, including leading scorers Keira Johnson and sophomore Brooke Shea -- both of whom finished with four goals. With a strong junior and sophomore class, the Rockets look to return to the SCT and compete in Central Jersey Group 2 section.