WEST ORANGE, NJ – The West Orange High School girls’ varsity soccer team is poised to have another stellar season.
The Mountaineers, under head coach Sean DeVore, return 10 starters from last year’s team that finished with a 12-6-3 record.
The returning players are senior goalkeeper Samantha Herbert, senior forward Kaylese Gist, junior midfielders Kaitlyn Charles, Morgan Clark and Hannah Villasin; sophomore midfielder Natalie Nevins, sophomore backs Giovanna Winning and Kiara Machuca; and junior backs Nyah Harper and Mya Bembry.
Last season, Nevins made First Team; Herbert made Second Team; and Villasin and Harper were pickd on the Honorable Mention on the All-Super Essex Conference-Liberty Division.
Freshmen Emma Mitchell and Kaya Schultz also will play key roles.
The Mountaineers’ defense is strong, evidenced by shutout wins in two preseason scrimmages.
“We defend very well,” said DeVore. “Our girls commit as a team to defending, which makes us difficult to break down.”
The Mountaineers also are getting better with their fitness levels. DeVore pointed out that the team is still young, so as the season progresses, the younger players will gain more experience.
For the Mountaineers, the goals for the season include contending for the SEC-Liberty Division championship, and make strong runs in the Essex County and state tournaments. Last season, the seventh-seeded Mountaineers advanced to the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 state tournament semifinals where they lost to perennial power Montclair. With 10 returning starters, the Mountaineers have reason to feel optimistic about accomplishing their goals.
“Our girls have shown a great work rate and a passion to get better every day,” DeVore said. “We have improved in every part of the game. If they continue to put the work in, the sky is the limit.”
The other teams in the SEC-Liberty Division are Montclair Kimberley Academy, Millburn, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Verona, Newark East Side and Science Park.
The Mountaineers will open the regular season Sept. 7 against Newark East Side at home.