Hopewell Valley fall sports teams return plenty of talent for 2019 campaign

Scott Jacobs
Hopewell Valley Central High School's Nicole Apai (10) heads a ball that was cleared downfield during the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 3 Tournament against Nottingham High School on Nov 2. The Hopewell Valley Bulldogs defeated their opponents in the away game, 2-1.

Hopewell Valley Central High School enjoyed a successful fall season in 2018.

The school’s football, girls’ soccer, boys’ soccer, field hockey and girls’ tennis teams all either finished above .500 or reached the NJSIAA postseason. A few did both.

Hopewell’s Valley girls’ soccer team also won the Colonial Valley Conference’s Valley Division. The school’s cross-country team even sent two boy runners, Sean Dolan and Will Titus, to the NJSIAA Meet of Champions on Nov. 17, 2018 at Holmdel Park.

Dolan and Titus both graduated earlier this year, as did many other standouts from those fall 2018 Hopewell squads. But the football, girls’ soccer, boys’ soccer, field hockey and girls’ tennis teams should return enough talent to compete for the postseason again this fall.

With the 2019 fall season fast approaching, here’s a brief look at where the Hopewell Valley programs stand.

Hopewell Valley Football

Last year, the football team finished 5-4 but narrowly missed the NJSIAA playoffs. The Bulldogs won with defense when they won, holding opponents to single digit points in four of their five victories.

A few key members of that defense are back for 2019, too. Rising senior Christian Cacciabaudo recorded 32 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 2018. Fellow rising senior Hudson Hartman posted 30 tackles. Another rising senior, Michael Randazzo, finished with 34 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions.

Hopewell Valley should be able to keep itself in games in 2019. Its regular season will open on Sept. 5 at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North.

Hopewell Valley Girls’ Soccer

The girls’ soccer Bulldogs were the best Bulldogs of last fall, going 17-5-2 and reaching the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 3 sectional tournament final, though they lost to Brick Township High School in penalty kicks.

Hopewell Valley allowed just 18 goals in the run of play all year, and rising junior goalkeeper Braylee Walters is back for 2019. So are the top two scorers in rising sophomore Nicola Mosionek, who scored 15 goals last year, and rising junior Emily DeNero, who connected on eight goals.

The ’19 Bulldogs should be as good as, if not better than, their 2018 predecessor. Their new season begins on Sept. 4 at home against Trenton Central High School.

Hopewell Valley Boys’ Soccer

In 2018, the boys’ soccer team finished 10-10-2 and advanced to the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 3 sectional tournament quarterfinals, losing to Wall High School, 2-0.

The Bulldogs allowed one goal or less in nine of their 10 victories last year, and top goalkeeper Liam May is back for his senior season in 2019.

That is good because Hopewell Valley’s top scorers from last fall, Luke Tartaglia and Eric Goldberg, are both gone. The Bulldogs will probably need to keep scores low to compete in 2019, but May is perfectly capable of doing that.

Hopewell Valley will open its boys’ soccer season on Sept. 5 at Trenton Central.

Hopewell Valley Field Hockey

In 2018, the field hockey team finished 12-6-1 and reached the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 2 tournament quarterfinals, falling to Madison High School, 5-0.

Two of the team’s top scorers, rising junior Bella DiNardo, who recorded 11 goals and seven assists last year, and rising sophomore Chloe McGregor, who posted eight goals and four assists last fall, are both back for this season.

Hopewell Valley will open its season on Sept. 5 at West Windsor-Plainsboro North.

Hopewell Valley Girls’ Tennis

The Hopewell Valley girls’ tennis team went 10-7 and reached the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 2 sectional tournament quarterfinals in 2018, losing to Rumson-Fair Haven High School, 5-0.

But the top two singles players, No. 1 Hope Zheng, a rising senior, and No. 2 Jackie Sun, a rising sophomore, are slated to return for 2019. So are two doubles starters in rising junior Nerissa Lundquist and rising sophomore Olivia Lundquist.

Hopewell Valley should be competitive again this fall. Its season will begin in late August.