first_imgBY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer Two soccer teams that are looking to go places in 2009 are on the campus of Brookdale Community College, Lincroft. Left: Brookdale Community College’s Megan Lepkoski (13) saves a ball from going out of bounds during a home game against Bergen College on Sept. 10. Above: Alyssa Fiorilla (6) sends a pass upfield. Mike Costa’s men’s team is coming off the finest season in school history (17-1-3). It was a season in which the Jersey Blues marched through the Garden State Athletic Conference undefeated for the first time and registered the program’s first unbeaten regular season. The Jersey Blues were ranked No. 1 in the country during a three-week stretch of the 2008 campaign. “We have the mark on our back,” said Costa. “We are everyone’s biggest game.” The Jersey Blues were ranked No. 6 in the country in the most recent National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III coaches poll. At the same time, Frank Lawrence’s women’s team has consistently been a nationally ranked squad and is coming off 14-3-1 campaign in 2008. The Brookdale men began the 2009 season playing scholarship programs and went 1-0-2. It was an encouraging sign for a team that was hit hard by graduation. “We lost a lot of impact players,” said Costa, who added that the team did find “formidable players” to replace the departed starters. First Team All-American Joe Parella (Howell High School) is a great starting point for the Jersey Blues. He scored both goals in a 2-1 win over Burlington County College. Costa said the challenge is to get Parella some help at the striker position to prevent opponents from ganging up on him defensively. Parella scored 22 goals and assisted on eight goals in 2008. Other starters from last year’s GSAC championship team are Augusto Dragonetti (Wall Township), Eric Frye (Matawan), Christhian Gonzales (Bogota, Colombia) and Robert Dailey (Matawan). Transfers Ryan Spill (Colts Neck), Andrew Donoghue (Old Bridge), Taylor Weiss (Manasquan), Brennan Slawson (St. John Vianney) Zach Groezinger and Moises Iniquez (Manasquan) are among the formidable additions to the club. Also returning from 2008 are Nicholas Anderson (Middletown South), Sebastian Carbanell (Old Bridge), Wilson Sousa (Long Branch) and Diego Huerta (Ocean Township), who played for the Blues in 2007. Brett Barilari (St. Mary’s, Rutherford), Frank Clemente (Marlboro), Joe Bauer (Colts Neck) and Jorge Rivera (Brick Township) are freshmen who are expected to make an impact. Dailey will start in goal, with Weiss as the backup. In front of them they have a strong defense led by Frye, Barilari and Donoghue, who are joined there by Spill, Baur and Roberto Ferrantelli (Jackson Memorial). “We’re deep there,” Costa said of his defense. The Jersey Blues are looking to midfielders like Andrew Anzivino (Red Bank Catholic), Clemente, Dragonetti and Huerta to create scoring chances for the forwards. Rivera and Kevin Gardner (Kingston, Jamaica) will provide the support for Parella up front. With many new faces at midfield and in the back line, the key for the Jersey Blues, according to Costa, is getting them to play together. Brookdale will host Middlesex County College on Sept. 17 at 3:30 p.m. in Lincroft and Prince George’s Community College of Maryland on Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. With a 36-5 record over the last two years, Costa knows the bar has been raised. “We’ve set a lofty standard,” he said. “Everyone is looking to knock us off.” Brookdale’s women will be looking to do the knocking off this fall as both Ocean County College and Camden County College begin the season nationally ranked. Lawrence, whose team has four starters back from a 14-3-1 squad, is happy that his team is unranked. “It’s [top 10] a goal to shoot for,” he said. The Jersey Blues have a lot of holes to fill, Lawrence noted, and although he has players to fill them, the 2009 team will need some time. “This is a team that is going to take time to build,” said Lawrence. “It’s going to take a little while to find its rhythm.” In returning starters Nilufer Onder (Howell), Lauren Starek (Raritan), Megan Lepkoski (Middletown South) and Paula Keegan (Long Branch), the Jersey Blues have what Lawrence calls “a nice nucleus.” Onder, a midfielder, is the team’s playmaker. When she moved to center midfield last year, the team’s offense took off. “She knows and understands the game well,” said Lawrence. “She sees the field well and is creative with her passes.” Starek is the team’s best shutdown oneon one defender. Teaming with Onder at midfield are Jacque Rucci (Howell), Lepkoski and transfer Leigha Czerwinski (Neptune). Up front, the Jersey Blues are looking to freshmen Alyssa Fiorillo (Howell) and Christine Wilhelm (Raritan) for scoring. Lawrence said they form a nice combination with Fiorillo providing speed and explosiveness, and Wilhelm, who is technically sound and creative. Jess Bogert (Wall) and Ally Frick (Freehold) are both solid defenders and will be working with Starek in the back line. Right now, Lawrence is looking at a two-goalie situation with Nadine Busner (Matawan) and Casey MacLean (Colts Neck) sharing the duties. This team may lack the All-American power that other Brookdale squads have had, but that may not be such a bad thing. “It’s a team that needs to play together well,” said Lawrence. “Everyone recognizes their role and knows where they fit. They have to learn to play together. We have the chance to do pretty well.” Brookdale will play No. 2-ranked Ocean in Toms River on Sept. 24 at 3:30 p.m., and will host No. 8 Camden on Sept. 29 at 3:30 p.m.last_img

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