For those wondering about the future of soccer at Bordentown Regional High School, there is good news.
It looks to be on very solid ground.
This past fall, both the boys and girls teams at Bordentown Middle School enjoyed stellar seasons. The boys checked in at 9-3-3 after starting the year 0-2, while the girls rolled to a 12-2-1 campaign.
“We had a very solid eighth-grade core that made up the majority of the team, so obviously experience and leadership helped,” said Bill Lloyd, who took over the girls after two seasons as boys’ coach. “There’s some leaders you’re gonna be hearing about at the high school level coming up. Dom (Castaldo, varsity coach) knows they’re coming.”
Boys coach Chris Glenn, who returned to the position after a two-year absence, feels Scotties coach Jason Zablow also has some talent coming.
“Our eighth grade kids are a pretty small group,” Glenn said. “Eventually they’ll grow in size. Jay might have to wait a little longer than he’s had to for some of the freshmen to get that playing time. The last couple years, he’s gotten one or two kids that stepped right in. I told him that might happen next year. In the nine months between now and then you never know about a kid’s growth potential. Either way, this eighth grade group is going to help at some point.”
The girls’ team was paced offensively by 8th-grade midfielder Julie Wojcik, who led the team with over 10 goals.
“She controlled the midfield for us and was our most dominant player,” Lloyd said. “She is a competitor. I’ve coached a lot of girls, she’s just got that edge to her. A lot of girls want to play soccer, and then there’s girls that want to play soccer and win, or girls that want to win at whatever they’re doing. She’s that kind of girl, she’s got that mentality. It’s not good enough just to be out there, it’s like ‘I want to win, I want my team to win.’ The other girls see that and it rubs off.”
Another productive goal scorer was 8th-grader Natalie Tuccillo, while defensively 8th-grader Alycen Saitta and 7th-grader Anna Stalnaker “really cemented us back there.” Another key figure in the back was 8th-grade goalie Brynn Fitzpatrick, who “was really legit. She brings a lot of leadership and experience. She’s really athletic back there and has great hands.”
Rounding out the squad were 8th-graders Sarah Santoro, Isabella Basile, Hannah Neville, Isabella Martucci, Saumya Khurana, Haley Parevesse and Julia Byard, 7th-graders Ella Garofalo, Kendall Lampman and Kylie Harrison, and 6th-graders Allie Glenn, Alexis Thiel, Olivia Husseini, Jacklyn Katz, Haley Crowell, Kara Parker and Emma Zhao.
As varsity girls basketball coach for the high school, Lloyd understands what his athletes will need to deal with at the next level, and is able to provide tips on what’s to come.
“You can start to see the process they have to go through as athletes,” he said. “I talk to them a lot about my experiences with the high school basketball team and I’ll tell them ‘Girls, this is what it’s gonna be like in the next few years. You may be having success but you’ll also have times where things aren’t always going your way. You have to have that mentality to battle through it.’ There’s a lot of teaching moments and these girls wanted to learn.”
Glenn also knows about both levels of coaching, as he is the Scotties varsity baseball coach. He took the last two autumns off to watch his son’s travel soccer teams play, and from those games he was familiar with a few of the boys he would be guiding this year.
“But the other kids I really didn’t know,” Glenn said. “I didn’t know what to expect other than we had some pretty good returning players. In middle school you kind of don’t know year to year what each team is gonna have. But as the season went on they got used to playing with each other. One of the tough things about middle school is you’re only together for about six weeks. A lot of the kids are playing for different travel teams, different age groups. Just the way they were able to come together and gel and play together as a team really made a difference.”
How much of a difference? In its opener, Bordentown lost to Palmyra, 6-2. In the season finale, it defeated the same team, 2-1.
“I just thought that was nice,” Glenn said. “Looking back at the season it was a nice turnaround from how far we had come from when we stepped on the field that first day of the season.”
Bordentown’s leading offensive player was 8th-grade forward Austin Thiel, a defender in travel ball who led the team with seven goals.
“He fit in nicely with our offense,” Glenn said. “I saw him play on my son’s team a couple years ago. I knew around the net he could shoot. He’s got a good idea of what he’s doing inside of the 18, he’s got an overall good sense of the game. So I could see where if we would get a lead I could also pull him back to a defensive mid spot to play him there as well. He’s just got a lot of knowledge and sense about the game.”
Leading the midfield were 8th-graders Anthony Grilletto and Addison Kennedy.
“They kind of just controlled the middle of the field,” Glenn said. “Addison is just super quick and super athletic. Anthony only scored one goal for us this season but he’s a kid I know is gonna play tough defensively and he can distribute the ball well and help us control the midfield.”
After muddling through the season’s first two games, 8th-grade goalie Ethan Beauchemin came on strong and helped Bordentown go 9-1-3 over its final 13 contests.
The remaining players were 8th-graders Tyler Edmiston, Connor Fresco, Matthew Hutman, Brady Moran and Aidan Wall, 7th-graders Joseph Bookholdt, Nicholas Carlini, Luke Guire, Riley Hagen, Joey Klama and Ian Paulick, and 6th-graders Landon Hoenisch, Tyler Javick, Tyler Kunkel, Christian Matamoros and Jayce Palumbo.
“All of our sixth-graders made an impact,” Glenn said. “They combined for 12 goals, which was about one-third of our total.”
It was a group that Glenn watched form a cohesive unit from early September to mid-October.
“It’s tough at first,” he said. “You’re trying to get a feel of the game flow and where kids fit with each other. Sometimes that takes a couple games to kind of get a fit. Once we got that going and kids knew what their role was gonna be and who was gonna be getting our substitute minutes, they really wound up gelling together.”