GLEN RIDGE, NJ – The Glen Ridge High School boys’ varsity soccer team, of course, wants to qualify for the state tournament and make a serious run, just like it did last season.
But the Ridgers don’t want to look too far ahead.
“We want to make the state tournament and have an impact in the state tournament, but by no means are we thinking that yet,” said GRHS head coach Steve Reitberger, entering his 36th year at the helm. “To get there is like a ladder: step by step. Don’t look too far beyond the next step.”
The Ridgers’ first two steps were a success as they dominated Bloomfield Tech and Golda Och Academy, both by 5-0 scores.
Senior forward Gaetan Ternes scored two goals, and junior center-halfback/captain Arran Robertson, junior forward Cole Travia, and sophomore halfback Aidan Cusumano each had a goal in the season-opening win over Bloomfield Tech on Sept. 8 at Bloomfield Tech in a Super Essex Conference non-division game. Senior halfback Flynn Martin had an assist and senior goalkeeper Grant Naylor made 10 saves for the shutout.
Davis Brandell, a junior, had two goals; and junior Kyle Kleinberg, Robertson, junior Brian Schnack, and Travia each had a goal in the win over Golda Och Academy on Sept. 12 at Watsessing Park field in SEC-Colonial Division action. Naylor made seven saves in notching his second shutout.
Along with Robertson, the other captain is senior center-back Dan Hauschild.
Junior Lucas Burke is another key contributor at a halfback position. Senior goalie Quinn Alamand also will see playing time.
This year, the program saw a strong turnout, with a whopping 72 players. Reitberger said the varsity has more than 20 players; the junior varsity has about 28 and the freshmen team has 23.
The Ridgers were scheduled to visit Barringer on Sept. 13 at Branch Brook Park at 4 p.m.; host Science on Sept. 15 at Watsessing Park at 4 p.m. and visit Caldwell on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 11 a.m. The games against Barringer and Science are in the Colonial Division.
The Ridgers have shown nice ball movement, much to Reitberger’s delight.
“We’re starting to move the ball quicker, which is what you need,” Reitberger said. “It’s a new team, like any year is, and we’re beginning to find each other and recognize what’s needed. We’re starting to move the ball, so I hope for more of that throughout the season.”
Last season, the eighth-seeded Ridgers knocked off top-seeded Dayton, 1-0, in overtime in the quarterfinals before losing to fifth-seeded Brearley, 2-1, in the semifinals of the state North Jersey Section 2, Group 1 tournament to finish with a 7-13-2 record. Robertson scored the goal in the Brearley game. Brearley went on to win the section and state Group 1 titles.