MAPLEWOOD, NJ – Ashley Corino, the head coach of the Columbia High School varsity girls’ soccer team, is excited about her team this season.
The Cougars are a young team with some good experience, looking to be strong contenders.
“I like our youth,” said Corino following her team’s tough 2-1 overtime loss to Union in the season opener Sept. 4 at Veterans Park in Union. “We’re very young. We have one freshman (Elodie Reeves) who is very good. She’s a great player who plays wide back for us. We have (senior defender) Mimi Joseph returning at center back. She will kind of control the defense, as well we have an outstanding player, (junior defender) Sadie Toohey. Between her and Mimi, they are fantastic center backs.”
Joseph, who made First Team on the All-Super Essex Conference-American Division last season, has committed to play soccer for Gettysburg College next year.
The Cougars also return such talented players as senior midfielder/forward Cecilia Munoz, and senior midfielder/forward Meredith Meyer, and her sister, sophomore midfielder/defender Kate Meyer. Munoz and Meredith Meyer made Honorable Mention on the All-SEC-American Division a year ago.
The other seniors on the roster are midfielder/defender Sofia Ratkevich, forward/midfielder Lia Holstein, midfielder Ashley Heacock, goalkeeper Lindsey Camera, defenders Sami Miller, Cailiee Olitt, and Maritxell Gallart, and defender/midfielder Finola Gray.
The rest of the juniors are midfielder Sophie Berenberg, midfielder/defender Ellie Bethneil, goalkeeper Emma Herrero, and midfielder Darcy Wollard.
The other sophomores are midfielder Annabel Callahan, forward Ava de la Torre, forward/midfielder Svea Wickelgren, and forward/midfielder Lindsay Gross.
The Cougars gave a strong effort in the season opener. Under hot and humid conditions, Union struck first midway in the first half on a goal by senior Kayla Miller-People, one of the best players in Union County.
The Cougars fought back with a goal midway in the second half by Meredith Meyer to tie it 1-1.
But Union quickly ended the game when senior Kayla Velosa-Lima scored just a few seconds into overtime.
Despite the tough loss, Corino was proud of her team’s resiliency.
“I like the way we turned it around in the second half,” Corino said. “The first half was a little rough. We’re not used to playing with physical players as Union, and their speed, But once we adjusted in the second half, I really think we gave it to them and I think it showed the potential for the season.”
The Cougars la
Corino, indeed, feels good about her team’s chances for a great season.
“We have a young, good team,” said Corino, whose team went 9-9 last year, advancing to the Essex County Tournament round of 16 and the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 state tournament. “We have a deep bench, which is good. I am looking forward to the season. I really think we’re going to have a great season. I think we’ll go real far in counties. That’s our goal; to go to quarters in the counties and make it further in states than in the last couple of years.”
Sept. 7, Montclair Kimberley Academy, 4 p.m.
Sept. 12, at Livingston, 4 p.m.
Sept. 14, at Belleville, 4 p.m.
Sept. 15, at Cranford, 11 a.m.
Sept. 17, at Montclair, 4 p.m.
Sept. 20, West Essex, 4 p.m.
Sept. 22, at Colonia, 10 a.m.
Sept. 25, Cedar Grove, 4 p.m.
Sept. 27, Chatham, 4 p.m.
Sept. 28, at West Orange, 4 p.m.
Oct. 1, at Bloomfield, 4 p.m.
Oct. 4, Millburn, 4 p.m.
Oct. 9, Glen Ridge, 4 p.m.
Oct. 11, Verona, 6 p.m., at Underhill Field
Oct. 23, at Hunterdon Central, 4 p.m.
Oct. 26, Morris Catholic, 4 p.m.
Home games at Meadowland Park, unless otherwise noted