Story and Photos by Danielle Hartzler
The boys soccer team has kicked off their 2017 season with a winning record of 4-1. Amongst these games, they have pulled out some close wins, such as beating Linden, Governor Livingston, and Hillside by just a single goal. In their most recent game against Roselle Catholic, they truly defended their home turf and senior goalie Ross Wildes recorded a shutout, as the Crusaders won 4-0. This game not only contributed to their winning streak, but it also happened to be senior night.
This season, there are 15 seniors on the team: Joe Bill, Logan Guarino (C), Zachary Thornton (C), Matt Vigliotti, Ross Wildes, Sam Burkhard, Chris Cundari, Greg Zukowski (C), Matt Tavares, Brandon Domingues, Matt Diaz, Niko Nordstrom, Anthony Caldiero, Bernardo Alfonso, and finally Joe Benevento who made his first appearance in a Crusader uniform this year after playing academy soccer the past 3 years. The ceremony commenced with each player being walked to center field accompanied by their family. Coach House said, “It was an amazing night to recognize the boys’ commitment and accomplishments as a senior class, and as a team.”
The seniors had no trouble finding the back of the net in the second half, as Matt Tavares, Zachary Thornton, Sam Burkhard, and Logan Guarino all scored within the second 40 minute period.
15 seniors are enough to field a team and then some, but with such a big group comes even bigger expectations. Senior Joe Bill elaborated on their goals for this season, “Win states and conference, and obviously counties would be great too.” The seniors seem to be leading their team in the right direction so far, their record being a clear reflection of that. Not only is the team being led properly, but Bill also attributes their success thus far to the team chemistry on the field, “We’re working better together this season and moving the ball around better.”
Joe Benevento is another powerful senior on the team, and he has seemed to make an exceptional transition from his academy team to the high school team, “The transition has been smooth especially because I knew the guys prior. Obviously, there comes difficulty with the process, but it’s all about getting over them and looking into the future.” The optimism shared between each senior has already allowed for outstanding success.
The coaches are Mr. House, Mr. Marcin, and Mr. Zimbardo. Daniel Zatko is senior manager for the team as well. Their next game is this Saturday (9/23) in Rahway, where they will take on the Indians of Rahway High School.