CALDWELL – The Mount St. Dominic Academy soccer team once again is a young team, but it hopes to surpass expectations as it did last season.
The Lions will open the season against Bloomfield on Saturday, Sept. 11.
The Mount’s record was 5-8-1 last season, and the team appeared in the semifinals of the NJSIAA Girls Soccer – North East F tournament, losing to the top seed.
“Our overall performance last year was better than expected from a young and inexperienced team,” said fifth-year head coach Angelo Del Vecchio. “Their effort was always good, and I was extremely proud of them.”
There were many highlights last season, he said.
“Highlights included an opening-day win over Summit, a come-from-behind win in overtime against a tough West Essex team, another come-from-behind win over Nutley, a tie against a very good West Orange team, and an overtime loss to an always very strong Livingston team where the girls played great.”
The team has a large contingent of lower classmen.
“Half the team is either sophomores or freshmen,” Del Vecchio said. “They are eager to learn and to work hard. We lost eight seniors, but we returned a nice junior and sophomore class.”
Several players are expected to lead the team this year.
“Senior captains, forward Gianna Mangilli and goalkeeper Christina Piparo are expected to be two of our leaders this season. Junior midfielders Maria Hoelevas and Saheli Davitt have been key contributors the last two years, and we will be expecting more from them. Junior defenders Amanda Galasso and Haley Murphy played well for us last year, and we expect the same this season. I expect all the returning varsity players to take a step forward in their game.”
The team also has newcomers, who are expected to have an impact. “We have two freshmen, Mary Hidalik and Maddie Natale, who will contribute to the team this year.”
Del Vecchio said the team’s inexperience has resulted in some challenges. “We lost a key player to our back line last year due to graduation; therefore, we need to figure out our defensive back line.”
The team’s goal is to keep improving, he said.
“Our goal is always the same: To get better each and every day, to play hard and be better soccer players tomorrow than we are today. We want to play our best soccer come tournament time. We play a very difficult schedule; every team we face in Essex County is always a tough test.”
The Lions will face Newark Academy on Monday, Sept. 13; Newark East Side on Thursday, Sept. 16; West Orange on Saturday, Sept. 18; Glen Ridge on Tuesday, Sept. 21; Technology on Thursday, Sept. 23; James Caldwell on Saturday, Sept. 25; Columbia on Monday, Sept. 27; and Verona on Wednesday, Sept. 29.
- In the News