GLEN RIDGE, NJ –Under head coach Oscar Viteria, who is entering his 19th year at the helm, the Glen Ridge High School girls soccer team has enjoyed an incredible run.
The Ridgers have won the North 2, Group 1 sectional title in each of the past seven seasons and finished as Group 1 state runner-up in each of the past four seasons. They have appeared in the Group 1 state championship game in seven of the past eight seasons.
This season’s team has the pieces to make another bid for the sectional and state championships, as well as Super Essex Conference-American Division and Essex County Tournament titles.
The Ridgers return a strong nucleus from last year’s team that went 11-7-3, which also included an ECT runner-up finish to Group 4 West Orange.
The senior captains are center midfelder Tara Feenaghty, and defenders Madison Grady, Samantha Lovitt and Taylor Townson.
The team has seen “great leadership from the captains,” Viteri said. “They’ve been working hard.”
The other seniors are Sarah Cullinan, Evie Fawcett, Delaney Bongo, Caitlin Cifelli, and backup goalie Maryann O’Gorman.
The juniors include Sydney Mansfield, backup goalie Olivia Carbonell, Ania Prussak and Talia Reid. Mansfield, one of the best players in the area, is rehabbing from a knee injury and is hoping to return sometime in October, noted Viteri.
The sophomores are returning starting goalie Elettra Giantomenico, Olivia Hoover, Alison Shea and Lily Kuhn, Kaitlyn Degnan, Kayla Garske and Caroline Weinstein.
Freshmen Ava Kotronis and Alex Wechler will look to contribute.
Returning as assistant coaches are Brian Ianni and volunteer Lindsey Deptula.
Viteri is emphasizing a one-game-at-a-time approach as the team looks to win conference, county, sectional and state titles.
The Ridgers were scheduled to open the season Sept. 5 at Montclair Kimberley Academy and will host West Orange on Saturday, Sept. 7, at Carteret Park, both in divisional action. The other teams in the division are Montclair, Nutley, Livingston, Mount St. Dominic and Columbia.
Last season, the Ridgers lost to Audubon in the Group 1 state final at Kean University in a game that was decided by a penalty-kick shootout. It was the first time that the state instituted a penalty-kick shootout to decide Group state finals.
GRHS won the Group 1 state titles in 2001, Viteri’s first season, and 2012, and were co-champs in 2013. The Ridgers also were Group 1 state runner-up in 2007.
The following are other upcoming games:
Sept. 10, at Bloomfield, 4 p.m.
Sept. 13, at Mount St. Dominic, 4 p.m.
Sept. 16, Livingston, 4 p.m.
Sept. 19, West Essex, 4 p.m.
Sept. 24, at Montclair, 4 p.m.
Photos by Steve Ellmore