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Girls soccer: South Hunterdon hits snag against Belvidere


After her team went to the Group One state semifinals last season, South Hunterdon head girls soccer coach Ariel Gilbert is aiming for high expectations this season.

Early on, the Eagles appeared to be on the same path.

The Eagles began the season with three shutout victories in which they registered 12 goals, but they suddenly hit a wall with a 3-0 loss at Belvidere Sept. 14.

That defeat was the first of two consecutive defeats leading them into their game with Gill St. Bernard’s Thursday.

Yet, Gilbert plans to keep her team on course.

“We lost eight seniors, and we are maturing as a group,” she said. “But we are not lowering our standards. We are continuing to build off last year.

“Last year was the first time we ever had that type of run. These girls know what we did, and they are hungry to get back there.”

Senior captains Rylee Bordwick and Olivia Romano along with junior captain Emily Stoff have been the driving force behind the team.

But the Eagles have been receiving contributions from their underclassmen as Gilbert has been maximizing her roster. Freshman Eve Durkee-Neumann is among the more rising players in the program.

“Once our freshmen step onto the field, they are no longer freshmen,” stated Gilbert. “We have 15 girls in the entire program. They know they have to work hard to reach the next level, and they are looking to keep our expectations.”

“Maddie (Vorhees) stepped up when we needed someone,” said Gilbert. “She has done a steady job for us so far. She is gaining more confidence out there and learning the game.”

Despite losing nearly half of her squad from last year, Gilbert has been pleased about her team’s bonding.

“This is the most camaraderie I have seen on a team that I have coached,” she said. “We’re making the most of everything we have, and our captains have been doing a great job. All of the girls have really come together, from freshmen to seniors.

“We will get into the tough part of our schedule, and we’ll see how we respond. We can’t afford any injuries, but these girls can step up when they have to.

“We’ll see how the season plays out for us down the road.”