Girls Soccer – 2023 Season Preview: Class A North
By Nick Lowe
Shore Sports Network Girls Soccer Contributor
Class A North is the hardest division in the Shore Conference and maybe the state this season. With the arrival of St. John Vianney, the division now has three out of the four Shore Conference Tournament semifinal teams from last year and five teams that cracked the final Top 10.
A common theme in this division is every team brings back the majority of their impact players from last season. Freehold Township will once again be the favorites to win the division and the SCT, but they will have challengers. Manalapan gave the Patriots a scare in the Central Jersey Group 4 finals last season, losing 2-1 in overtime. Howell lost to the Patriots, 1-0, in the SCT finals and both teams will aim to dethrone Freehold Township.
Middletown South won Central Jersey Group 3 last season and will also challenge in A North. Every loss last season by the Eagles was by one goal and they picked up two Top 10 wins during the regular season.
One of the biggest questions will be how SJV will match up with the teams in A North. SJV went 0-2 last season against A North opponents, losing to Middletown South 3-0 during the regular season and Freehold Township 3-0 in the SCT semifinals. Marlboro finished below .500 last season, but they defeated CJG3 champions Middletown South and Central Jersey Group 2 finalists Rumson-Fair Haven during the regular season, showing they can be a dangerous opponent. Middletown North will look to improve on last season’s promising finish after making it to the finals of the Shore Conference Coaches Tournament.
In predicted order of finish
Freehold Township Patriots
Head Coach: Dave Patterson, 14th season
Assistant Coaches: Brian Whitford, Erin Gaeta
Record Last Year: 22-1
Key Returners: Cassidy Corcione (SR. Fwd/Mid; 23 G, 15 A in 2021), Hailey Santiago (SR. Fwd; 23 G, 9 A), Gaby Parker (JR. Fwd; 15 G, 10 A), Ainsley Moy (SR. Mid; 13 G, 13 A), Danielle Howard (JR. Mid; 4 G, 8 A), Sophia Tonino (JR. Mid; 3 G, 4 A), Shea Jackson (SR. Fwd; 1 G, 2 A), Courtney Speck (JR. Fwd; 1 A), Grace Sciarra (SR. Mid), Grace Miraglia (SR. Def; 2 A), Chloe Walters (JR. Def; 1 G, 1 A), Sophia Santorelli (JR. Def; 1 G, 1 A), Taryn Conover (SR. Def), Mylie West (JR. Def; 1 G), Kayla Sciortino (JR. Def), Alexa Stein (SR. Def), Ashley Moore (JR. GK), Danielle Forlenza (JR. GK)
Newcomers: Reese Metcalfe (SO. Fwd), Bella Rosen (SO. Def), Gianna Neron (SO. Mid), Christina Celano (SO. Def/Fwd), Albana Gjonbalaj (JR.)
Team Outlook: Once again, the Patriots will be the favorites to finish the season No. 1 in the Shore after graduating only two starters from last year. Senior Cassidy Corcione, who was the 2021 Shore Conference Player Of the Year, returns from injury and will help add to the Freehold Township attack. Junior goalkeeper Ashley Moore has started since day one and has stepped up on the biggest stages. Senior Hailey Sanitago will look to continue to dominate the scoreboard after her 23-goal season last year and senior Ainsley Moy will control the midfield like she has the past two seasons.
Head Coach: John Rogers, second season
Assistant Coaches: Carrie Lynch and James Somma
Record Last Year: 15-4-1
Key Returners: Julia DiStefano (SR. Def; 1 G), Sydney Spilsbury (SR. Mid; 7 G, 7 A), Vanessa Sarf (SR. Fwd; 23 G, 1 A), Emma Guidotti (SR. GK), Kasey Rasker (SR. Def; 1 G, 4 A), Daniella Butash (SO. Fwd; 8 G, 12 A), Lelia Shaw (SO. GK), Callie Butash (SO. Def; 1 G), Sonya Hofmann (SO. Def), Brooke-Lynn Galimidi (SR. Def), Gianna Petriello (SR. Def), Lyla Ottenheimer (SO. Def/Mid; 5 A), Savannah DiSabto (JR. Mid; 1 A), Guilianna Natellic (SO. Mid), Daniella Falletta (SR. Mid), Morgan Nyers (SR. Def; 1 A), Zina Hammarstrom (SO. Fwd; 2 G 2 A)
Team Outlook: The Braves had Freehold Township on the ropes in the CJG4 finals, leading 1-0, but the Patriots were able to find a way to come back and win. Returning for Manalapan is senior goalie Emma Guidotti, who missed last season due to injury. Freshman goalie Lelia Shaw stepped in and helped lead the Braves deep into the postseason last year. The combination of seniors Vanessa Sarf and Sydney Spilsbury have caused problems for opposing teams since they were freshman and will lead the Braves on the offensive end this season. Sarf scored a career high 23 goals last season. Manalapan always has a strong defense, this season it will be led by All-Shore defender Kasey Rasker.
Head Coach: A. Miguel Arroyo, eighth season
Assistant Coaches: Jason Antunes and Sara Huguenin
Record Last Year: 14-4-1
Key Returners: Jade Vieira (SR. Mid; 3 G, 4 A), Leila Oshiro (SR. Mid/Fwd; 4 G, 5 A), Madison Smith (SR. GK), Alexandra Donnellan (SR. Mid), Emily Rosati (SR. Def), Morgan Wilkes (SR. Def), (Samantha Gold (JR. Def; 4 G), Allison Nase (JR. Def/Mid; 3 A), Madelyn Roberto (JR. Mid; 4 G, 7 A G:4), Ashley Smith (JR. Fwd; 10 G, 4 A), Gabrielle Snowden (JR. Def)
Newcomers: Makenzie Memmolo (FR. Fwd), Emily Hassmiller (SR. Def) Layla Barbosa (SO. Mid)
Team Outlook: The Rebels surprised the Shore Conference last season, improving from a 5-14-1 record in 2021 to 14-4-1 record in 2022. They made it to the SCT finals for the first time in the school's history. Colgate commit Jade Vieira is a player to watch as she helps lead Howell from the midfield. Senior goalkeeper Madison Smith has been starting since sophomore year and has made big plays in big games. The Rebels will have their eyes set on returning to the SCT finals this season and a deeper run in CJG4.
Middletown South Eagles
Head Coach: Megan Barry, ninth season
Assistant Coaches: Thomas (Jody) Smith and Rebecca Stevens
Record Last Year: 14-5-1
Key Returners: Maria DeGregorio (SO. Def; 3 G, 2 A), Bea Tinoco (SO. Fwd; 21 G, 4 A), Riley Bent (JR. Fwd; 1 G, 2 A), Giavanna Botti (JR. Mid; 2 A), Grace Gironda (JR. Mid; 1 G, 3 A), Skylar Miller (JR. Def; 1 A), Natalie Percello (JR. Mid/Fwd; 1 A), Riley Benbrook (SR. Fwd), Lauren Ceurvels (SR. Fwd; 5 G. 2 A), Allie Greco (SR. GK), Jennifer Schuster (SR. Def; 1 G, 2 A), Camryn Szotak (SR. Mid; 4 G, 3 A)
Newcomers: Kaleigh Kapler (SO. Fwd), Nicolette Prince (SO. Def/Mid) (2022 Injury), Izzy Dyas (JR. Mid)
Team Outlook: The Eagles bring back the majority of their roster that won the sectional last season and are aiming to win back-to-back CJG3 titles for the first time since 1999-2000. Sophomore Bea Tinoco won Freshman of the Year and tied a school record with 21 goals last season and has her eyes set on breaking that mark in 2023. Senior goalie Allie Greco put up eight shutouts last season and will be one of the leaders this season. South Carolina commit Camryn Szotak can play all over the field for the Eagles and will be the leader in the midfield.
St. John Vianney Lancers
Head Coach: Heather Bailey, fourth season
Assistant Coaches: Bob Klatt
Record Last Year: 9-7-1
Key Returners: Hailey Brennan (SR. Def; 2 G, 1 A), Hayley Jaeger (SR. Mid), Olivia Baczor (SR. Fwd; 1 G, 4 A), Lindsay Chapman (SR. Mid), Kam Javier (SR. Mid), Bella Merrifield (SR. Mid/Fwd; 3 G), Meghan Dorr (SR. Def), Gia D’Ambrosio (SR. Mid; 1 G), Marlie McGonigle (SR. Fwd/Mid), Emma Albano (JR. Mid), Madeline Marretta (JR. Fwd/Mid; 4 G, 1 A), Madison Pieloch (JR. Mid; 3 G, 1 A), Avery Ouano (JR. Mid), Milani Thompson (JR. Def/Mid; 2 G, 4 A), Erin Dorr (JR. Fwd/Mid; 3 G), Sofia Donello (SO. GK), Katie Buffalino (SO. GK)
Newcomers: Gabrielle Parker (FR. Mid/Fwd)
Team Outlook: The Lancers are new to A North, playing in Class B North last season. They return a good portion of their roster that made the SCT semifinals last season. The biggest question for SJV is who will be replacing goalie Katie Webb in net. Returning All-Shore player Milani Thompson can be used all over the field and that will provide SJV with different options against opponents. With the experience returning for SJV, they will be looking for a deep run in the sectionals for the 2023 season.
Head Coach: Marc Strumwasser, ninth season
Assistant Coaches: Matt Levi and Nick Scalzo
Record Last Year: 5-8-2
Key Returners: Jessica Reilly (SR. Def; 1 G), Samantha Schmid (SR. Mid), Juliette Tzitzis (SR. Mid; 1 A), Samantha Silverstein (SR. Mid), Carly Guzzardo (JR. Def/Fwd; 7 G, 1 A), Brooke Gordon (JR. Fwd; 5 G, 1 A), Sarah Gold (JR. Mid; 2 G), Anna Haeusser (JR. GK), Morgan Hilts (SR. GK)
Newcomers: Jordyn Bauer (FR. GK), Jada Padmore (JR. Fwd), Vanessa Martino (SO. Def), Samantha Arntz (SO. Fwd), Isabella Huettner (SO. Mid), Brianna Depinto (JR. Def), Kammi Haeusser (JR. Def), Morgan Hilts (SR. GK)
Team Outlook: The Mustangs bring back the majority of their team from 2022 that advanced into the second round of the SCT last season. Junior Carly Guzzardo led the team with seven goals last season and can play all over the field for Marlboro. Playing in the hardest division in the Shore can make Marlboro a dangerous team come state playoff time.
Middletown North Lions
Head Coach: Fred Napoli, second season
Assistant Coaches: Sal Ligori and Molly Arnette
Record Last Year: 8-8
Key Returners: Bri Cudjoe (SR. Mid; 4 G, 2 A), Kaitlyn McNamara (SR. Mid/Def), Kelly Malanda (SR. Fwd; 2 G, 3 A), Kylie Croce (SR. Mid,) Jayme Malanda (JR. Mid; 10 G, 1 A), Ally Beekman (JR. Fwd; 2 G), Daisy Imbriale (JR Def), Abby McCauley (JR. Fwd; 4 G) Maddy Kulka (SO. Def), Piper Brink (SO. Mid), Loralie Daviis (SO. GK)
Newcomers: Jayden Yerves (Jr Def), Sofia Chaknis (FR. Fwd/Def), Gianna Dato (JR. Def), Emily McCarthy (JR. Mid/Def)
Team Outlook: The Lions bring back a good part of their team from 2022, but two key players in seniors Madison Marcotte and Ella Gigante are out with injuries. Middletown North will look to build on the success they had towards the end of last season. They made it to the Shore Conference Coaches Tournament and won their first round game in the CJG3. The biggest roster spot that needs to be replaced is goalkeeper with All-Shore Maura Chawner graduating.