Experienced Barnegat Girls Soccer Ready to Make History
Last fall, the Barnegat girls soccer team earned a spot in the Shore Conference Tournament for the first time in the program’s short history, and the premise for this season was to build on the successes of last year and continue to make history. With the Bengals off to a 3-0 start, it appears coach Mary Cammarata’s crew is primed for such success.
“We have a great senior class,” said Cammarata, whose squad last season went 9-10-1. “Not only are our seniors good soccer players, but they’ve played multiple sports for the past three years and have a lot of great athletic experience we can use to help build up our younger kids. When you have that kind of leadership, good things can happen.”
This fall, the Bengals will be led by senior defenders Kaitlyn Siciliano and Caitlyn Moran, midfielders Ashley Toner and Brooke VanDeventer, forwards Madison Musico and Alexis Quinn, and goalkeeper Aurora Knutsen. Siciliano, who’s headed to Rider University next year, has been welcomed back to the club after missing last season with a knee injury.
“Musico has great scoring ability up front, while Toner is just a tough, gritty player who’s a great communicator and excellent in the defensive midfield,” Cammarata said. “And Siciliano is just somebody we missed a lot on defense last year. She’s our sweeper, and she does a great job of moving the ball from the back.”
But besides the returning seniors, Barnegat has some strong players among its younger ranks, including returning starters and juniors Alexis Kirk, Shannon McCoy and Alexis Furrule. McCoy is one of the main cogs in the midfield, while Kirk and Furrule will help fortify the defensive unit. Sophomore Gabriella Pachaty also should make an impact in the midfield, while sophomore Jamie Landron is expected to play a big part in the midfield coming off the bench.
“Kirk and McCoy are good at winning 50-50 balls, and they have good field vision and distribute the ball very well,” Cammarata said. “And Furrule is just a consistent backfield player. We definitely have more of a complete team than we’ve had in past years. And because we have such great seniors who can, by example, show the younger players what it takes to win, I believe we’re going to have a good season.”
Of course, wins over Manchester (2-1), Keyport (6-0) and Lakewood (5-0) in its first week of play doesn’t guarantee Barnegat anything. Many tougher games are yet to come, especially with Shore Conference B South foes Point Pleasant Borough, the reigning division champ, and Pinelands waiting in the wings.
“Point Borough is a good team, and they’re going to be tough,” Cammarata said. “But if there’s going to be a year we can beat them, I believe this is the team that can do it. I believe we’re ready to take on anybody in B South.”
The Bengals also seem ready to rise to a new level in their history.
“I could be wrong, but I think the most wins we’ve had in a season is 11,” Cammarata said. “This might be the year we break that mark. We’re not a team that just kicks and runs anymore. This is a good, feisty, blue-collar kind of team with a lot of balance.”
— David Biggy