By Josh Lashley
Not only was the Hanover Park High School girls’ soccer team competitive this year, more importantly they were able to compete with a high standard of focus, dedication, spirit, determination and honor on a consistent basis.
As a result of their strong overall effort, the Hornets finished this recently concluded season with a winning record of 10-9-3 and they were 6-6 in the challenging Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference Liberty Division.
Erin Shane, the Hanover Park head coach, vividly recalls some of the most memorable contests for the Hornets this fall.
“The games that stand out the most are the ones in which our team played as a team, controlling and possessing the ball,” Shane said. “In the second half of our season, we beat teams that we had previously lost to by working to improve our game, style of play and aggressive defense. Beating a team the second time around is difficult but the girls proved it possible many times.
“Our win over Montville [5-0 on Oct.19] was memorable because they are a good Group 3 program. In addition defeating Mountain Lakes 2-0 [Oct. 24] was big for us. During that game I had two subs as the result of injury, so it was amazing to watch our younger players come out strong against a team they had lost to twice previously.
“Lastly, our two [NJSIAA North 2 Group 2 Sectional] state games, Caldwell [a 2-1 win on Nov. 1] and Lyndhurst [a 2-1 victory on Nov. 4,] were full team efforts. Caldwell was amazing, we came from behind to win and pulled together to hold a great team at bay. Out of our nine losses, eight were by one goal and three were in overtime. It is the Hornets third year in a row playing in the section semifinals, fourth time in five years.”
The Hornets were able to play well in both the regular season and post-season in large part because of the solid leadership displayed by veteran student-athletes on the roster.
“Gabriella Barquin stepped up as an amazing captain and leader, leading by motivating the girls but also by example,” Shane said. “She does everything she expects of her teammates and more. Camille Carnevale became the leader of the defense. She is more of a silent leader, showing that by shutting down team after team and supporting the girls playing around her. Claire Cahill became a leader in the midfield. She never backs down and constantly puts herself in position to help the team before herself.
“Molly Powers was one of our freshmen who improved her skill on the ball every day. She never stopped trying on the field and off and became someone the team came to rely on as a freshman. Amanda Hoberman improved so much over her last two years on the varsity squad, she played both forward and midfield and paved the way for many of our other players to be able to put goals away from her hard work. Sophia Rafanello is also a freshman who became a player who never backed down, took on girls twice her size and started to put together a series of plays that rivaled seniors.”
The Hornets are proud of what they accomplished on the pitch this season and they’re looking forward to 2017.
“Our teams leading scorers, Alyssa Viegas, 11 goals; Claire Cahill, eight goals; and assist players, Gabriella Barquin, 12 assists, are underclassmen, as well as our three goalies,” Shane said. “In addition our defensive line was made up or three juniors, one sophomore and one senior. We were younger this year and will be able to take our experience from this year and build upon it for next year.”
In the semifinal round of the North 2 Group 2 sectional tournament, Hanover Park lost a 1-0 game to Parsippany.