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Sayreville girls soccer team working hard to improve on last year

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By Warren Rappleyea

As it looks to improve on its 9-11 mark of last fall, Sayreville War Memorial High School’s girls soccer team will field a mix of veteran players and a handful of talented players who gained valuable experience a year ago.

The Bombers experienced some growing pains with last year’s youthful lineup, but coach Jillian McGarry’s team was nevertheless surprisingly competitive. The Bombers lost a tough 2-1 decision to Old Bridge High School in the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Tournament quarterfinals and also qualified for the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group IV tournament.

“We’re still a young team, but I think we have a good mix of seniors and underclass players,” the coach said. “Also, the players came back with the right mindset. They’re already doing things in practice that we didn’t do until the middle of last season.”

Defensively, Sayreville should be solid with seniors Katie Esposito and Taiya Lewis patrolling the back line along with sophomores Megan Furbush and Adijah Simmons, both of whom saw playing time as freshmen.

However, the Bombers will be without Nicole Rodriques, who is out for the season with a knee injury. The senior is helping McGarry and her staff from the sidelines. Seniors Raven Wright, Rahid Parikh and Melanie Bisaha give the Bombers plenty of depth in front of goalie Jordan Wilson. The sophomore netminder saw limited varsity time last season, but McGarry feels Wilson is ready to start.

Sayreville is also deep in the middle. Seniors Tori Barreiro, Nicole Cena, Brianna Barbosa return, while Jenna Skwiat and Jamie Jurkiewicz are moving up from the junior varsity team. Sophomore Ashley Herndon and freshman Eliza David round out the midfield corps.

Senior striker Erin Wimmer returns after scoring seven times and posting four assists. Wimmer will team with promising sophomore Lauren Attardi, who scored four goals last fall despite missing significant time and then playing through an ankle injury. McGarry is moving sophomore Stephanie DeOcampo, who played well in the middle, up front to further aid the attack.

“I expect we’ll score more goals this season, and that should help take some pressure off of our defense,” said McGarry, whose team scored 36 goals last season.

The Bombers have scrimmages set with J.P. Stevens High School, Union Catholic Regional High School, Monroe Township High School and South Plainfield High School before opening the season Sept. 8 at GMC White Division rival North Brunswick Township High School.

“Our goal is to stay together as one unit and try and control the middle,” McGarry said. “We have the depth to keep fresh legs at midfield to keep the pressure on and prevent gaps. There’s no telling what the girls can accomplish if they stay positive and work as a team. Our motto is ‘one team, one dream,’ so we’re all about winning together.”

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