BLOOMFIELD – The Bloomfield High School boys’ varsity soccer team certainly enjoyed much success this season.
Under first-year head coach Mike Aiello, the Bengals surpassed all expectations en route to a 10-5-4 final record that saw the team qualify for the state tournament.
“We had a great season,” said the coach. “We made a nice run in counties, but unfortunately fell to Randolph, 3-2, in the first round of (the state North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 tournament). Injuries hurt us this year. We had everyone back for the state game, but lost a couple of guys early in that one as well to injuries. We were down, 3-0, at half and managed to score two in the second half. We had a couple of quality chances to tie it, but it didn’t work out. I was very happy with the game after a lackluster start. We almost pulled it off and that really speaks about the character of this team.”
Highlighting the season, Aiello said his team’s performance in divisional play was truly exceptional.
“The biggest highlight of the season had to be winning the Liberty Division. It was a preseason goal of ours, and we accomplished it, going 8-0-2 in our in-division games,” he said.
Without a doubt, the BHS coach commended the play this season from his senior class.
“We have about 20 graduating seniors. Dominic Oramas, Gabe Crespo, Brian Rennie, and Jon Ricca were the four captains this season,” Aiello said. “They each have started at the varsity level since they were freshmen. We have been a very good defensive team the past four years, mainly because of the play of Dominic, Brian, and Jon. Gabe led our offense. He was the leading goal-scorer as a sophomore and junior for our team, and this past season, had six goals and 26 assists. He led the state in assists for the entire season. Despite being defensive-minded players, Dom, Brian, and Jon were all offensive threats as well. Brian seemed to score goals whenever we desperately needed one this season. I believe he had two game-winning goals this year, as well as a couple of game-winners over the past couple of years. These four young men are model student-athletes, teammates, and leaders. They were the core of this team for a long time and they will be missed greatly. I hope that our younger guys were able to observe how these four conducted themselves on and off the field, and I expect each of them to continue playing beyond high school.”
Looking ahead, the Bengal coach said next year’s group would have a big challenge trying to replace those graduates.
“We are going to be a very young team over the next couple of seasons,” Aiello said. “We had four freshmen that started a game for us this season and are looking for them to step up. Some of those guys include David Quinatoa, Samuel Epitime, who led our team with seven goals this season, Jason Ricca, and Nathaniel Calvo. Kyle Barrow stepped up this year and played great in net for us as a sophomore. After going to (penalty kicks) against Columbia High School in counties, he made a key save to help us win. The incoming freshmen class has had some success with their Bloomfield Soccer Club traveling team, so we’re excited for the next wave of players coming into the high school. I expect Jason, Sam, David, Kyle, and Nathaniel to be huge pieces for us next season.”