GLEN RIDGE, NJ – The Glen Ridge High School girls’ varsity soccer team, under 16th-year head coach Oscar Viteri, has been one of the best in Essex County and in the state for Group 1 for the past several seasons.
With a strong returning nucleus, the Lady Ridgers are poised to continue their run of success.
The Ridgers, who have won the state North Jersey Section 2, Group 1 tournament title in each of the past four seasons and finished as the state Group 1 runner-up last season with a 17-6-1 final record, will miss graduates Tomison Kennedy and Ryanne Ege. Kennedy, who is continuing her soccer career at Princeton University, had 25 goals and nine assists last season and 84 goals and 36 assists for her career, while Ege was a top-notch goalkeeper as she recorded 12 shutouts and 141 saves last season and 581 saves and 40 shutouts for her career.
But the Ridgers will return the bulk of last year’s squad.
The returning players are senior defenders Galen Lew, Meghan Marhan, and Katie Liu, senior midfielders Olivia Schwern, Colleen Grady, and Merritt Davie; junior midfielder Liz Hauschild; senior forwards Leslie Jaiyesimi and Taylor Kulik; junior forward Lindsey Jaiyesmi, Leslie’s sister, and junior goalkeeper Victoria Wozniak. Returning sophomores are midfielders Jessica Muney and Jenny Lisovicz, and forward Halinka Prussak.
Grady posted 21 assists last season.
The newcomers are junior goalkeeper Gabby Sanchez, junior defender Daphne Patton, freshman midfielder Tara Feenaghty, freshman defender Madison Grady, and freshman forward Samantha Lovit.
Viteri is excited about the season.
“I am looking forward to the season,” he said. “We won both scrimmages (versus Mount St. Dominic and Kent Place) and can see that the team is starting to jell as a team.”
Viteri said the team has received excellent senior leadership throughout the preseason and is looking to compete in the tough Super Essex Conference-American Division and return to the sectional final game.
“That has always been our goal; get to the sectional final game in our group and anything can happen,” Viteri said.
The Ridgers will host Montclair in the season opener at Watsessing Park on Sept. 9 at 4 p.m. GRHS will visit both Millburn on Sept. 12 and West Essex on Sept. 14, both at 4 p.m.
NOTES – The Ridgers lost to Shore Regional, 2-1, in the state Group 1 final at Kean University last season. Lew scored the goal for GRHS. It marked the third time the teams met in the Group 1 final in the last four years. The Ridgers beat Shore, 2-0, in the 2012 final, and the teams played to a 1-1 tie (Kennedy had the GRHS goal) and were declared co-champions in 2013, both held at The College of New Jersey in Ewing… Lew and Grady also are standout lacrosse players. Lew will continue her lacrosse career at Stanford University.