Bordentown girls soccer records first winning season in five years

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Bordentown Regional High School girls soccer player Julie Wojcik dribbles the ball up the field during a game played against Pemberton on Oct. 19. Bordentown had a record of 7-6-1 this season.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Bordentown Regional High School girls soccer player Kaylee Blain, left, kicks the ball up the sideline during a game played against Pemberton on Oct. 19. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Bordentown Regional High School girls soccer player Julie Wojcik dribbles the ball up the field during a game played against Pemberton on Oct. 19. Bordentown had a record of 7-6-1 this season.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Bordentown Regional High School girls soccer player Kaylee Blain, left, kicks the ball up the sideline during a game played against Pemberton on Oct. 19. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

The Bordentown Regional High School girls soccer team came into this fall determined to have a season.

Despite all the uncertain circumstances they would have to overcome with the coronavirus pandemic, the Scotties came ready to go everyday and did everything they could do to give themselves a shot at a season on the pitch.

The Scotties got to live that dream this fall and were rewarded for their hard work on the field and following COVID-19 safety procedures off the field to cement the program’s best season in five years.

Bordentown recorded its first winning season since 2015 with a 7-6-1 mark this fall and got the chance to compete in the semifinals of the South West B Regional Tournament.

“They handled that uncertainty tremendously,” Coach Dominick Castaldo said. “I can’t say enough how well they handled these very trying times. They came with the mindset everyday we were going to play. That’s a pretty strong way to handle it.”

The 2020 season for the Scotties was highlighted by the team soaring to a 2-0 victory over Pemberton High School on Senior Day and then edging out Cinnaminson High School by a score of 3-2 in their regular season finale on Nov. 9.

Finishing out the regular season with a 7-5-1 mark helped Bordentown grab the No. 5 seed in the regional tournament and earn a first round bye.

Because No. 4 Delsea Regional High School from Franklinville had to pull out of the tournament because of the school district shutting down all athletics due to a COVID-19 related outbreak, Bordentown was able to earn another bye and advance to its first statewide sectional semifinal since 2014.

“We had no canceled games on our end,” Castaldo said. “The girls were great in following all the rules and procedures we put in place.”

Bordentown faced off against No. 1 seed Haddonfield High School in the regional semifinals on Nov. 20.

Falling to a 2-0 deficit to Haddonfield just 16 minutes into the contest, the Scotties climbed back and made it a one-goal game going into halftime with senior Gillian Baker scoring her first goal of the season.

Baker knocked home her second goal of the contest to make it a one-score game again after Haddonfield scored its third goal of the contest to begin the second half.

Freshman Julie Wojcik recorded the assist on Baker’s second goal against Haddonfield, giving her a team-high eight assists for the season.

Trailing 4-2 with under six minutes left to play, Bordentown put one last comeback run together as junior Lexi Mazzella bashed in her team-high 12th goal of the season to make it 4-3 with five minutes remaining.

Mazzella also had five assists to go along with her 12 goals during her impressive junior campaign.

The Scotties were again just one goal away from tying things up and forcing overtime for a trip to the regional final.

Unfortunately for Bordentown, the next goal scored was by Haddonfield who was able to close its trip to the finals with a 5-3 victory over the Scotties.

Haddonfield went on to defeat West Deptford High School 3-2 to win the South West B regional title.

“It was a back and forth game against a really good team,” Castaldo said. “We would respond after they would score. It was a very satisfying season all the way around.”

The future looks bright for Bordentown.

Both Wojcik and sophomore Valentina Candelori recorded six goals this fall, while junior Olivia Saranin found the back of the net five times for Bordentown this season and also had two assists.

Juniors Rayna Hamdan and Khushmit Sidhu each played well in net for the Scotties this season.

Castaldo believes with this year’s sophomore and junior class that Bordentown has a shot to have another successful season next fall.

“They can only get better,” he said. “This group of underclassmen are very driven. They want to be the best players they can be. We’re going to see some really good things out of them.”

Castaldo said the drive of his underclassmen comes from the hard worth ethic his senior classes have passed down over the last few years.

Earning the program’s first winning season since 2015 means a lot to Castaldo, who said he is very proud of the effort from his four seniors Gillian Baker, Haley Russell, Emily Wheeler and Kenna Wojcik.

Believing in this group of seniors since they were freshmen, Castaldo was happy to see them end their careers with a successful season, especially during these uncertain times.

“Our program is not just about what you do on the field. It’s also about who you are off the field and in the classroom,” Castaldo said. “This group of seniors were great. They were ecstatic that we got a full season in. They knew the work they put in during the summer would pay off in the end. Having a winning season under these circumstances this year makes it more sweeter.”