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Jaguars look to build skills, bond at Gettysburg College soccer camp

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By Wayne Witkowski

Twenty-four Jackson Memorial High School boys soccer players this week are continuing an annual tradition developed over recent years during the offseason of attending a week-long soccer camp at Gettysburg College.

It’s an opportunity for players to further develop their individual and team skills and to bond as a unit.

With a large number of players graduated from last year’s team, the camp holds even greater importance for a handful of starters and others who got substantial playing time last year as well as the new prospects. Individual workouts began July 2 for two days a week and preseason training for schools around the state begins Aug. 15, right after the Jaguars join 35 other teams in the Toms River tournament Aug. 13 and 14 that has Cinnaminson High School, Don Bosco Preparatory High School and Ramapo High School among the 36 teams participating.

“We graduated a lot of kids so we want to take a look at a lot of young guys,” coach Steve Bado said. “We’re in the same predicament as in 2013 when we started slow that year until the kids came of age and some were very good players. With the injuries we had last year, a lot of guys had minutes. We did not have to wait for them to come of age in 2013, and we hope so again this year.”

Fourteen graduated off the 2012 team that went 23-2.

Mike Schoener, who scored 25 goals for last year’s 12-6-3 team that went 8-4 in the Shore Conference A South Division and exited early to Shawnee High School, 3-2, in the NJSIAA South Jersey, Group IV state tournament opener, leads the dozen returning players.

Also back and leading the way is Christian Fryc, who did so well moving from center halfback to sweeper to fill in for injured Joe Mamola that he earned an All-Shore selection and second team All-State honors along with Schoener.

Also back are rising seniors Adam Jenkins, who started at center halfback, and Chris Sichenze, a regular at right fullback. The Patti brothers — Jacob, a junior in the midfield, and Ben, a sophomore who can slide over from forward to midfield — figure to play important roles.

“Together as a group, their ethic for hard work and their chemistry overall looks good,” Bado said.

The Jaguars open their scrimmage schedule Aug. 23 against Manalapan High School and face good test against Freehold Township High School Aug. 26. The regular season opens at home on the afternoon of Sept. 8 against A South rival Brick Memorial High School.

Midfield took a big hit by graduation. Nick Schlageter, Joe Stoltenberg and Anthony Nappi excelled at the position, as did productive scoring forward Andrew Jozwicki. Defense was also impacted by the departure of Mamola, Dan Van Clef and Chris Kinzler.

Returning goalie Dylan Kanner, a senior this fall, is out with a knee injury suffered during baseball season last spring. Nick Kinzler, younger brother of Chris, saw spot time in goal last year when Kanner sat out with a broken thumb and is in the running for the starting job along with touted incoming freshman Joe Weinstein.

Bado said that decision along with some other players’ roles on the team will be made clearer during the Gettysburg College camp.

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