The improvements that the West Milford girls soccer program made from last year to this year were vast, commendable and indeed quite apparent as well.
“Our overall record was 10-10 and we were 5-5 in the (Big North Conference Independence Division),’’ West Milford head coach Daniella Rakotci said. “Last season, we were 5-13 overall and 2-8 in the Conference.’’
Of all of the victories that the Highlanders earned on the pitch this fall, a single highlight stands out above the rest.
“When I think about this past season one game comes to mind, when we beat Wayne Hills 2-1 (on Oct. 18),’’ Rakotci said. “We have gone three years without even scoring a goal on Wayne Hills and we came out on their senior night and beat them. As the head coach this was the first time we beat Wayne Hills, which is a top 20 program.’’
A number of players help propel West Milford to achieve not only double digit wins but earn a spot in the NJSIAA North 1 Group 2 Sectional Tournament bracket as well.
The Highlanders lost a close 3-2 game to Jefferson in the first round of the Sectional Tournament.
“Some athletes that became leaders on the field were Cassidy Clinton, Madison Trout, Sara Wardlaw and Lindsay Wittner,’’ Rakotci said. “These girls were able to control the game. Cassidy is committed to Fairfield University and was our leading goal scorer with 17 goals, Lindsay was a close second with 15 goals for the year and Sara Wardlaw was unstoppable defensively. Madison Trout was our varsity goalie this season, and this year alone she had 200 saves and hit her 300th career save.’’
There were no doubt those student athletes on the roster that impressed the coaching staff with the ways in which they got better and better as the season moved forward.
“Dylan Preziosi and Katie Ralicki stepped up huge this year,’’ Rakotci said. “Dylan is only a sophomore and Katie is only a freshman and the second they came for preseason they did nothing but improve throughout the entire season. I was not surprised by their abilities, but they really stepped up.’’
The Highlanders are looking to build on the momentum that they gained this year and use it to earn more success in future seasons.
“We have a mix of seniors and very young girls on the team,’’ Rakotci said. “These seniors stepped up this year and made a good example for the younger girls to follow.’’