BELLEVILLE, NJ – The Belleville High School girls’ varsity soccer team has a strong returning group, which bodes well for a successful season.
Indeed, first-year head coach Beth Ann Garrett is excited about this year’s team.
One of the strengths of the team is its versatility.
“We have a lot of versatile players,” said Garrett. “So many of the girls will see time in different positions throughout the fall. As a coach, it’s great to have girls who can play anywhere on the field and still make an impact.”
Garrett said she will have a better idea of the players’ positions on the team after the conclusion of their scrimmages. The Bucs were scheduled to scimmage Science Park on August 29 and North Bergen on August 31.
Garrett said she is looking to seniors Brianna Ulloa, Rina Blauvelt, Courtney Augusto to “really set the tone for the team this year.”
Ulloa will see time at both midfield and forward. “She has great vision on the field and can create options,” Garrett said.
Blauvelt will play mostly up top. “She’s a fast player who can break through the defense,” Garrett said.
Augusto missed last season with an injury but she is healthy and ready to play this season. “She will play most of her time at outside back,” Garrett said.
The three players have shown inspirational leadership.
“Throughout the off-season and training camp, these three seniors took on a natural leadership role which was why they were named as captains of the squad on Tuesday,” Garrett said.
Returning juniors Natalie Abreu, Krystal Rasczyk and Lindsey Riera are expected to have a big impact on the field. Abreu will most likely be playing stopper. “She is a strong player who will give us a boost on offense when she comes out of the back,” Garrett said. “Rasczyk and Riera will see a lot of time out outside mid but can also play up top.”
Garrett also is impressed by the sophomore class, which she says brings a lot of energy and creativity to the field. BHS will look to Cesia Diaz to control the game at center mid. “Diaz can create plays,” Garrett said. “She sees things on the field that other players miss.”
Samantha Doherty is a highly skilled player whose high energy level makes her difficult to contain, Garrett said. Doherty will see most of her time at midfield and forward.
Kayla Cabezas will play both midfield and defense, but may also get some time up top, Garrett said. “Kayla is a quick, powerful player who can make an impact anywhere on the field,” Garrett said.
Alejandra Rodriguez will split time in the back and up top. “Her versatility will allow us to use her where she is needed most for certain teams,” Garrett said.
Jaylyanna Bratcher and Gaby Lopez will be playing in the back. “ ‘Jay’ is a tough defender who can come out of the back to create another option,” Garrett said. “Gaby will be anchoring the defense as sweeper. She sees the field well and is an excellent communicator which makes her a natural sweeper.”
The Bucs will look to junior Janelle Ramirez and senior Isabel Rivera to anchor in the goal.
Garrett played high school ball at Lyndhurst High School and graduated in 1996. She went on to play at Montclair State University where she graduated in 2001 with a bachelor of sciences in Physical Education and Health.
Garrett taught for two years in Ramsey at the middle and high schools and then came to Belleville in 2003. She taught at BMS from 2003-2012 and transferred to BHS in the fall of 2012.
After she started teaching in Belleville, Garrett also took on a position as an assistant coach at Felician College (now University) where she stayed on as an assistant through the 2007 season.
Garrett took a break from coaching to start a family. She and her husband, Tim, have two daughters, Hayden, 10, and Emerson, 9, and a son, Colton, 4. Both of her daughters also play soccer.
“I wasn’t planning to return to coaching but when the opportunity to coach my Belleville girls presented itself the time was right. Our boys coach (Gary Polewka) mentioned the position was open and helped to convince me that I should take it. After a very brief discussion with my husband I applied for the position and here we are!”
The Bucs are in the Super Essex Conference-Colonial Division. The other teams in the division are Golda Och Academy, Cedar Grove, Bloomfield Tech, Irvington, Lacordaire, Technology, Orange, North 13th St. Tech, and Newark Central.
Sept. 7, at Morris County Tech, 4:15 p.m.
Sept.9, Cedar Grove, 10 a.m.
Sept. 14, East Orange Campus, 4 p.m.
Sept. 15, Nutley, 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 18, at Newark Central, 4:15 p.m.
Sept. 20, North 13th St. Tech, 4 p.m.
Sept. 26, Orange, 4 p.m.
Sept. 28, Technology, 4 p.m.
Oct. 3, at Lacordaire, 4 p.m.
Oct. 5, Irvington, 4 p.m.
Oct. 9, at Golda Och Academy, 4:30 p.m.
Oct. 10, at Bloomfield Tech, 4 p.m.
Oct. 14, at West Orange, noon
Oct. 16, at Bloomfield, 7 p.m.
Oct. 20, West Essex, 4 p.m.
Oct. 24, Caldwell, 4 p.m.
Oct. 27, at Harrison, 7 p.m.