The leading team in the Burlington County Scholastic League Patriot Division for the past five years has been the Bordentown Regional High School boys soccer team.
A sixth straight year atop the division is the goal for the Scotties in 2020.
Even though COVID-19 has pushed leagues and conferences to not give out division titles this season, the Scotties and their senior players want to finish as the lead dog once again.
“It’s pride amongst ourselves to keep it going and do what we expect ourselves to do and have that high standard for ourselves,” said fourth-year Coach Jason Zablow.
“These seniors have never lost a division title. It’s been a goal of ours since I came in and we’ve kept it going each year. The alignments have changed, so the layout is different a bit, but we know the teams that we are grouped with.”
Coming off a 12-8-1 campaign last season, Zablow will lean on a group of seven returning seniors that will anchor the Scotties this fall.
Leading the way is striker/attacking midfielder Shane Ritter, who led Bordentown last season with 14 goals scored and also dished out nine assists.
Coming off a breakout junior season, Ritter is hoping his success of putting the ball in the back of the net continues this season.
Being a leader on the squad is also a role Ritter takes great pride in. The senior is happy to teach the underclassmen more about the game and be another figure his teammates come to for support on and off the field.
“I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to play this season and be back on the pitch with the guys,” Ritter said. “I miss being out here. I feel like we’re going to be pretty strong this year.”
Ritter will be joined up top on the front line by fellow seniors Logan Murray and Carson Latham and sophomore Jay Beyers.
Murray is a returning starter from last season where he scored three goals and had two assists. Latham also knocked three shots into the back of the net last fall for the Scotties, and has a lot of speed that Zablow said the team plans to use to their advantage on set plays.
Beyers is coming off a freshman campaign where he started every game in the midfield and is expected to step into a larger role this season as a scorer, Zablow said.
Seniors Logan Saranin and A.J. Gamlich will also be key contributors on the offensive end on the front line or in the midfield.
Sophomores Chris Tonzini, Julien DeLorenzo, Adam Wieczkowski and freshman Austin Thiel are all expected to provide strong minutes in the midfield as first-year varsity players.
In the back end, Bordentown have a great field general in net with starting goalie Charlie Revy returning for his senior season.
The first team all-conference selection had over 100 saves last season and is prepared to be a big time stopper for the Scotties this fall.
“I like good games and I like being put in tough situations and coming out on top,” Revy said. “This is my last year, so if we didn’t have a season that would’ve been heartbreaking. It was definitely a relief to get back on the field and all of us are grateful to have a season. We’re going to leave it all on the field.”
Losing all four of its starting defenders from last season, Zablow says having a goalie like Revy in net is a huge plus for the team and that his leadership will help put the younger and less experienced defenders in the right spots to limit goals scored.
“Charlie is probably one of the best goalies in the county and he was an all-conference selection for a reason last year,” Zablow said. “Every year he has gotten better in terms of his goalkeeper skills. The guys have confidence knowing they can take a chance because he’s going to make more times than not behind them.”
Senior Brandon Valeri will be another leader on the back line for the Scotties, switching from his defensive midfielder position to center back.
Valeri led the team in assists last season with 10 and also scored two goals.
Being a two-year starter as a defensive midfielder and having a good knowledge of the game, Zablow knew that Valeri understood what the center back position entailed and felt sliding the senior back to the last line would help strengthen the team’s defensive unit.
“Going into this year, I think we have a strong team,” Valeri said. “Everybody is working hard on and off the field. The younger guys are stepping up. We have great coaches that are helping us. It’s going to be a good season.”
Sophomores Lucas Fryc and Patrick Redwood both saw limited action last season as freshman and will join Valeri on the back line of the Bordentown defensive unit.
Zablow has been happy with how his defense has looked so far. The team did not give up a goal on a set play in its scrimmage or the first game of the regular season against Northern Burlington.
The Scotties came out on the losing end of their season opener against Northern Burlington on Oct. 2, losing 1-0.
Despite the loss, Bordentown is confident they can get things rolling, starting with its second game of the season against Pemberton on Oct. 7 and the playing Florence on Oct. 9.
Admitting it was tough all offseason trying to stay hopeful about his squad having a season, Zablow is happy his team is getting the chance to play this season and understands that it’s more important than ever this season for his players to have fun playing soccer since there are no guarantees with COVID-19.
“This year more than ever I’m understanding the importance of having fun with the guys and having fun every day,” Zablow said. “We preach to the guys everyday in practice to compete. The goal is to have fun, but we also want to do well too.”