NUTLEY, NJ — Despite having to forfeit its state tournament game in the wake of positive COVID-19 cases at the school, the Nutley High School girls soccer team enjoyed a successful season.
Under head coach Mike DiPiano, the Raiders finished with a 13-7 overall record.
After defeating 14th-seeded Belleville, 9-2, in the first round, the third-seeded Raiders were scheduled to host sixth-seeded Cranford in the quarterfinals of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3, tournament on Nov. 5. However, Nutley was forced to forfeit due to COVID-19.
The team was devastated to have its season end that way.
“We really had a team that could have won the whole thing,” DiPiano said. “It’s heartbreaking, especially because we had 11 seniors on the team; eight of them were four-year varsity-letter winners. Down the stretch, we were playing great soccer. The finality of losing the last game, we didn’t get to have that. Not being able to play, not being able to finish it on the field, really sucks.”
The Raiders featured several players who earned Super Essex Conference–American Division honors. The SEC–American is the top division in the conference.
Senior forward Mackenzie Albert made first team; junior goalie Catelena Robson, senior midfielder Olivia Real and senior defender Rachel Echevarria made second team; and senior forward Mikayla Schoch and senior midfielder Sydney Hess made honorable mention.
Photo Courtesy of Jerry Simon