CALDWELL – The Mount St. Dominic Academy soccer team finished with a 12-6-1 record and advanced to the semifinals of both the Essex County Tournament and NJSIAA North Jersey, Non-Public A Tournament. The team was seeded fourth in both tournaments.
“Making it to the county semifinals and Non-Public A group semifinals are nice accomplishments,” said Angelo Del Vecchio, who completed his third year as head coach. “Our defense was strong all season, and the girls played hard each and every game. They left it all on the field. I was very proud of their effort and performance.”
In the state tournament, the Lions, seeded fourth, fell to top-seeded and state-ranked Immaculate Heart Academy, 1-0, in the semifinals Monday, Nov. 4. They defeated fifth-seeded Oak Knoll, 2-1, on Friday, Nov. 1 in the quarterfinals.
In the Essex County Tournament, the Lions lost, 3-1, to No. 1 seed and eventual champion Montclair in the semifinal round Oct. 15. They defeated 13th-seeded Bloomfield, 1-0, on Oct. 10 in the first round and fifth-seeded Newark Academy, in a shootout after a 1-1 tie, in the quarterfinals Oct. 12.
The Lions had many impressive victories.
“We had exciting wins over Montclair Kimberly (2-1 in overtime), Glen Ridge (1-0), Newark Academy (shootout in the county quarterfinals), and a win over a tough Oak Knoll team in the Non-Public A group quarterfinals,” Del Vecchio said. “We even played well in games that we lost. For example, we lost to Montclair, which was ranked No. 2 in the state and became the eventual winner of the county, 2-1 in overtime and 3-1 in the county semifinals. We also suffered a 1-0 loss to a very good IHA team in the state sectional semifinals. We played very well against these skillful opponents.”
The team was led by many players. “Senior Dominique Bevacqua led us with 11 goals and seven assists, and senior Megan Robinson had nine goals,” the coach said. “Junior Clare Mulvihill also had a fine season, leading us with eight assists. Our defense, which always played well, was led by seniors Riley Durborow, Courtney Hospes, Bella Mangili, Alyssa Mastando and junior Brynn Caufield. All these players had exceptional seasons.”
Freshmen Maria Holevas and Saheli Davitt had stand-out performances this season. “They played well for us,” Del Vecchio said. “I’m looking forward to their future contributions to the team.”
The squad will graduate 10 seniors this year.
“All of them played significant minutes and made major contributions to the team both on and off the field,” he said.
“They will be difficult to replace. Most importantly, they were strong leaders who brought this group together as a team. They showed the underclassmen what it takes to compete against tough opponents in our county and group. They are leaving a strong legacy.”
Del Vecchio said the graduating seniors have passed on a lot to their younger teammates.
“Next year’s team will be young. However, because of the challenges that we faced and the lessons taught by our graduating seniors, we will be ready for any obstacles that are placed in front of us,” he said. “We are looking forward to next season.”