Just about every time that the Lenape Valley Regional High School girls soccer players turn around this upcoming season, they will encounter an opponent of considerable skill, determination and depth on the pitch.
But as they have proven time and time again, the Patriots not only are up for difficult challenges, they are known to overcome obstacles with a sense of pride, team work and strategy.
Lenape Valley is scheduled to begin the regular season with a home game against Jefferson on Thursday, Sept. 7.
“We are in a very talented division again this season, but we should find ourselves right in the mix with the other contenders,’’ head coach Justin Meeth said. “Our goal is always to win the division and that will stay true throughout this season.’’
Among the key returning student athletes hoping to help propel the Patriots to another division championship this year are senior Molly Gannon (midfield), Cassis Yappen (midfield and forward) and Grace Alderson (midfield and forward) and juniors Mayla McLean (midfield and forward) and Madelyn Schuddeboom (midfield).
Juniors Ariyana Poole (defense) and Molly Perry (forward) and sophomore Bella Riberio (midfield) are among the promising newcomers.
Leadership is a very well-represented quality for the Patriots this season.
“Molly Gannon is already our named captain,’’ Meeth said. “Molly does a great job of getting the pulse of the team and is the spark plug the team rallies behind in practice and games. Outside of Molly, we will look for the already great leadership we are getting from our 11 senior players.’’
Lenape Valley tallied an impressive overall record of 12-6, with a mark of 8-2 in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Freedom Division in 2022.
The team advanced to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) North 1 Group 1 Sectional Tournament quarterfinal round after defeating Kinnelon in the opening round last year.
This year, the Patriots compete in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference along with Jefferson, Hackettstown, Morris Tech, Newton and Kittatinny.
“Our goals for this year are to compete in and win the Freedom Division, advance past the quarterfinals of Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex Tournament (HWS) and advance past the quarterfinals of the (NJSIAA) state playoffs,” the coach said.
The NJAC Freedom Division should be quite formidable in 2023.
“Our division is talented pretty much top to bottom,’’ Meeth said. “We all want to beat each other, but two teams we circle each season are Jefferson and Kittatinny. But, as I said, our division is a battle with all teams each season.’’
Our goals for this year are to compete in and win the Freedom Division, advance past the quarterfinals of Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex Tournament (HWS) and advance past the quarterfinals of the (NJSIAA) state playoffs.” - Justin Meeth, head coach of girls soccer, Lenape Valley Regional High School