CALDWELL – The Mount St. Dominic Academy soccer team has opened up its season with a 2-0 record.
The Lions defeated Nutley, 1-0, in overtime Thursday, Sept. 5 and Montclair Kimberley Academy, 2-1, in overtime Saturday, Sept. 7.
Last season, the Lions finished with an 11-6-2 record and the Super Essex Conference Liberty Division championship.
The Lions were seeded sixth in the Essex County Tournament and earned the third seed in the NJSIAA North Jersey, Non-Public A Tournament, where they advanced to the semifinal round. They had a 6-0-1 record in the Liberty Division, which gave them the crown.
“We were always competitive in every game,” said Angelo Del Vecchio, who begins his third year as head coach. “We gave up only 13 goals all season. No opponent scored more than two goals against us in any game.”
Maintaining the team’s stellar defense will be a challenge, he said.
“It will be challenging to continue to play good defense and (have) good goal tending as we have in the past. We must also find a way to put the ball in the opponent’s net more often, which will take some of the pressure off our defense.”
The team lost six seniors to graduation last year but has 13 returning varsity players, including 10 seniors, and seven new varsity players.
“We have 10 seniors on the team, all of whom are good leaders,” he said. “I expect them all to lead by example.”
The team will be led by senior Megan Robinson '20, who was the team’s leading scorer last year with 10 goals and seven assists; senior Dominique Bevacqua '20, who had six goals and eight assists; and sophomore Gianna Mangili '22, who scored five goals last year.
“They should be three of our most important offensive players,” Del Vecchio said.
Robinson scored the game-winning overtime goal on a corner kick against Nutley. Bevacqua scored in the first half against Montclair Kimberley.
Seniors Riley Durborow '20, Courtney Hospes '20 and Alyssa Mastando '20 will lead the defense, the coach said.
“Junior midfielder Claire Mulvihill '21 and junior defender Brynn Caufield '21 will play important roles this season,” he added.
Mulvihill scored the game-winning goal against Montclair Kimberley in overtime. Caufield assisted on Robinson’s goal against Nutley. Sophie Garske '20 picked up both victories in goal.
Bevacqua and Durborow were named to the first team, all-conference last year. Robinson was named to the second team, while Mulvihill and Mangili earned honorable mention.
The Mount is competing in the Super Essex Conference American Division. Del Vecchio said the team would like to be successful in its new division as well as the season tournaments.
“We would like to compete for the American Division and go far into the county and state tournaments. Our goal is to just keep getting a little bit better each day so that we are playing our best soccer at the end of the season.”
The Lions were set to play James Caldwell High School on Tuesday, Sept. 10. They are set to play Glen Ridge on Friday, Sept. 13 and West Orange on Monday, Sept. 16.