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H.S. boys soccer preview 2016: NJIC Liberty Division preview

September 8, 2016 GMT

The following is a team-by-team look at the North Jersey teams that play in the NJIC Liberty Division:

BERGEN CHARTER

After a six-win campaign last season, the Yellow Jackets are hoping to take another step forward. Coach Travis Powers has seven seniors on the roster and thinks his team’s strength is its defense, led by seniors David Amaya and G Juan Esquivel. He still is searching for a player to become the go-to scorer.

Keep an eye on …

Alejandro Marroquin, sr., D; Daniel Ambrosio, sr., M; Juan Bedoya, sr., D.

DWIGHT-ENGLEWOOD

The Bulldogs, under sixth-year coach Paul Duffy, will rely on captains Nathan Song, a junior M, and Harrison Platt, a senior D, to be leaders and valuable two-way contributors. Dwight-Englewood, 11-7-1 a year ago, could make another run to the top half of the Liberty Division (it tied for fourth last season with New Milford) behind quality performances from sophomore M Patrick Wright, junior M Ethan Puschand sophomore left fullback Ethan Weksler.

Keep an eye on …

Matthew Park, so., D; Justin Joo, fr., F; Cameron Dupre, sr., G.

HARRISON

Many considered the Blue Tide’s 19-3-1 2015 campaign a down season. But count on Harrison to be strong once again, thanks to a host of talented returnees, including sophomore M Omar Sowe, who had 13 goals and nine assists as a freshman. Junior NeyMoreno has moved from forward to defense. Junior F DeydiryChambahad 19 goals last year, and that number can rise. Senior F Michael Sousa (12 goals in 2015) also returns. Senior G Chris Crespo is the returning starter, but he’s being pushed by volleyball player MaciejGaus.

Keep an eye on …

Diego Porres, sr., D; Jean “J.P.” Lara, sr., D; HarmanBriceno, jr., D; KallebBraga, so., M; MaicolDiaz, sr., D.

LEONIA

The Lions, under first-year coach Carl Spence, will field a young team, but one with a heavy dose of enthusiastic underclassmen. A pair of key returnees could lift Leonia into the middle rungs of the Liberty: Senior midfielders Andy Marquardtand Kyle Russell should be stabilizing forces. Leonia, which went 8-9-1 in 2015, lost to eventual Group 2 state champion Garfield, 5-0, in a North 2, Group 2 first-round game.

Keep an eye on …

Andreas Antoniadeas, so., M; Samuel Wilson, so., G; Benjamin Ascuitto, so., M; Daniel Kenis, sr., D.

LYNDHURST

The Golden Bears were one of the most improved teams in Bergen County last year, leaping from 6-12 to 15-5-1 in 2015. It’s a credit to coach Denis Jelcic, who is in his third year. Senior newcomer Gino Gloveris battling incumbent G Milton Rua for the starting nod. Senior Doug DaSilva is the new sweeper, with junior Mark DeMeglio the stopper. Senior M Raymond Valenzuela had 13 goals and eight assists last season. Junior Vinnie DiTonto (16 goals in 2015) is the top returning scorer. Junior Anthony Oliveira transferred to the Golden Bears from Brazil.

Keep an eye on …

Nick Pacheco, sr., M; Flavio Barrios, sr., D; Luis Yolianes, sr., F; Adrian Baranowski, jr., M; Leo Gil, jr., D.

NEW MILFORD

Graduation and transfers have set back New Milford (12-7 in 2015), but coach Brian Heuer thinks his young team can maintain its high standards. The Knights’ patient, ball-control offense will run through sophomore central M CamiloVargas, who has skill and field vision. Speedy sophomore Andy Rynanderis a major threat at striker, while junior G Colin Hollis solidifies the defense.

Keep an eye on …

Luke Lynam, sr., M; Colin Angelitud, jr., D; Cameron Schneid, fr., D; Wesley Santos, fr., F.

QUEEN OF PEACE

Former Harrison standout and St. Joseph coach Marco Chung tries to resurrect a program that was in a state of flux this summer, when the school almost closed. How competitive the young Golden Griffins will be is the question. They lost most of their team to graduation and transfers, and Chung still was getting to know his personnel late in the preseason. Senior Estefan Santi heads the defensive unit. Senior Jeremy Striano is a solid midfielder.

Keep an eye on …

Leo Yang, jr., M; Jean Celi, so., M; Joseph Terrones, so., F.

RIDGEFIELD

With nine returning starters and a level of experience not seen at Ridgefield in years, coach Ken Fugowski said, “It could be our year.” The Royals (2-14-1) lost just two goals to graduation, and almost all their players have started since they were freshmen.

The attack runs through senior M Michael Goldman and often ends with senior striker Adriano Zoino.

Keep an eye on …

Brendan Bohan, jr., G; Steve Han, jr., D; Thomas Shim, so., MF; Nico Lopez, jr., F.

SECAUCUS

The Patriots will try to improve on last season’s 13-8 campaign. Coach Christian Garcia is back for his third year, and he expects Secaucus to be improved. Junior M Dylan Vasquez has emerged as a goal scoring threat, knocking home 15 in 2015. Fellow junior M Brian O’Connell (12 goals) was right behind him. The duo should form a powerful 1-2 scoring punch. Junior D Tristan Paine has become a stalwart, and senior Mike Alfaranois getting settled in as a center defender. The team has a transfer from Egypt (Mohamed Elkholy) and a transfer from Venezuela (Gabe Chavez) in the mix.

Keep an eye on …

David Perez, sr., M; Anthony Reyes, so., F; Ameer Rezeq, jr., M; Ahmed Marzouk, so., D.