Optimism and dedication abound for the Kittatinny High School girls’ soccer program this season, which is good news for fans of the Cougars and bad news for any opponent who dares take them lightly on the pitch.
The Cougars finished with a very strong overall record of 13-3-2, including a mark of 7-1-2 in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Freedom Division last year.
Kittatinny is scheduled to host High Point on September 17.
“The Cougars have the discipline and determination to make some waves this year and are working toward making a nice run in postseason play,’’ Kittatinny head coach Jeanette Spooner said.
Key returning student athletes to the varsity lineup for the Cougars this fall include Claire Merrill (senior, center back, All Conference First Team in 2021), Ashley Bode (senior, midfield), Ashley Gordon (senior, forward), Erika McCarty (senior, midfield), Julia Cucchiara (senior, full back, All Conference Second Team in 2021), Brooke Nelson (junior, forward), Juliana Destefano (junior, midfield), Sophia Molfetto (junior, midfield, All Conference Second Team in 2021), Rachel Kline (junior, full back, All Conference Honorable Mention in 2021), Hanna Olsen (junior, full back), Lola Brand (sophomore, midfield), Brooke Ginsberg (sophomore, goal keeper, All Conference Second Team in 2021), Taylor Hough (sophomore, forward), Paige Hull (sophomore, forward), Abigail Marra (sophomore, midfield) and Sienna Templeton (sophomore, full back).
Holly Sajdak (sophomore, midfield) and Jen Gordon (sophomore, midfield) are among the newcomers hoping to make a noticeable impact at the varsity level.
“It will be a competitive season for the Cougars,” Spooner said. “We are striving to return as strong contenders in the league after taking a close second place last season to Lenape Valley. We have an experienced senior group that is looking to leave behind their legacy. They have shown their commitment over the years and continue to uphold the standards that shape our culture.
“Our junior group will be an integral part of our success, lending a hand in key positions while our talented sophomores will bring some energy and grit to the field. Our incoming freshmen have been working hard all summer, too, showing great dedication to the program.”
The Cougars advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA North 1 Group 1 Sectional Tournament last season. They compete in the NJAC Freedom Division along with High Point, Hackettstown, Lenape Valley, Newton and Jefferson.
“I couldn’t be [prouder] to lead the Cougars into battle this season,” Spooner said. “We have the addition of new assistant coach Chris Cummins this season who is an experienced former head coach of the boys’ soccer program at Kittatinny.”