Tuckerton Leader

Pinelands Girls Soccer Could Lead Division This Fall

By DAVID BIGGY | Sep 07, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy With a slew of players returning to the roster this fall, the Pinelands Regional girls soccer team hopes to celebrate a lot of victories and make a run at the Shore Conference Class B South title.

Following a 3-1 loss to Manasquan in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group II tournament, which ended the Pinelands Regional girls soccer team’s last season with an 11-8 record, head coach Dawn Paget already was looking forward to this year.

“We’re young and have most of the girls coming back,” she said last autumn. “At times, we’ve lacked the consistency from one game to the next, as well as confidence. I think that will turn around for next year. The girls will get a year older and more experienced, and hopefully they’ll take care of business during the offseason and work on getting stronger and becoming more technical in their skills.”

With 13 players who either started or played significant minutes per game as substitutes back in action this fall, the Wildcats absolutely have the tools to contend in the Shore Conference Class B South division. The question that needs to be answered is: Will they have the confidence and stamina to knock off defending division champ Point Pleasant Borough?

“Point Borough is the team to beat,” Paget said.

No doubt, the Panthers are going to be a strong squad again, and after cruising to the 2017 B South title, they are the target. But the Wildcats not only have the scoring capability to keep up with any team in the division, this season they may have enough defensive prowess to oust the Panthers from their prominent perch.

While junior striker Aileen Cahill (23 goals last season), sophomore forward Sunni DiElmo (13 goals), and senior forward Savannah Beaulieu (9 nine goals) are likely to lead the attack up front, senior Alex Hanna will be at the forefront in the midfield. The defense will be led by senior Emily Staino.

Back for another season in goal is junior Brenna DeVoe, who kept Pinelands in plenty of tight games last fall.

Seniors Sierra Mecca, Alyssa Vitello, Sam Volak, Calyn Conway and Jewel Szwed also return to the roster and should be solid contributors, while junior Cathy Hanna and sophomores Marlee Tharp and Abby Hart comprise the remainder of the returning group.

Juniors Destiny and Erin Pomponio, sophomore Margaret Creevy, and freshmen Bridget Dudas and Karli Pomponio are expected to make an impact in new varsity roles.

The Wildcats opened the season at home with a 1-0 loss to Class A South powerhouse Jackson Memorial, which last season reached the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals. DeVoe managed five saves, but the Jaguars scored just over a minute into the second half and held on from there.

After a road contest against Toms River East on Sept. 6, the Wildcats will visit division foe Lacey on Sept. 11 before taking on Jackson Liberty at home on Sept. 14.

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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