Coming off of another year as the Tri-County Conference All-Sports winner as the top athletic program in the conference, the expectations for the 2015-16 fall season were high.
Also, changes to group classifications in sports, specifically football, also provided a new variable that the athletic department had to encounter. Below is a rundown of what each team did this past fall:
Girls Tennis: Coach Michelle Carrocino, having graduated most of her starters from last year’s team, found herself rebuilding but was able to see positive signs by the end of the season. With a record of 1-18, they will bring back many girls next year and should improve drastically.
Boys Soccer: Coach John Green’s boys continued to show that they were one of the premier soccer programs in South Jersey with a record of 9-7-2, their fifth consecutive winning season. They qualified for the South Jersey Group 4 tournament for the fifth consecutive year.
They almost pulled off the biggest upset of the year in the state, losing to the top team in South Jersey, Rancocas Valley, in overtime on penalty kicks. Individually, they had 5 All-Tri-County Conference selections. They were led statistically by Daniel Rival and Matt Blaszczyk, who both were All-South Jersey and All-State selections.
Football: With a potent offense, led by Anthony Seas and Shaune Oates and a tenacious defense led by Jay Scerbo, the football team, coached by Tony Barchuk, was able to secure a spot in the South Jersey Group 5 tournament, their first year in Group 5. Playing one of the toughest schedules in South Jersey, they finished with a 5-5 record.
Unfortunately, they lost to eventual South Jersey Group 5 champion Toms River North. They then went on to defeat rival Clearview to win their annual Thanksgiving Day game.
Also of note, the Dragons cheerleading squad, led by Coach Dawn Marchetti, continued to show support and show that they are one of the most skilled squads in the area. Their joint performance with Clearview’s cheerleaders at the Thanksgiving game showed their tremendous talent.
Girls Volleyball: There was a changing of the guard as the volleyball team was led by first year Coach Tina Yoroshko. However, this program continued to move forward, compiling a record of 17-8.
Led by First Team All-Conference selection Jessica Lail, they also placed third at the Gloucester County Tournament and qualified for the NJSIAA state tournament where they lost a close battle against state power Monroe Township. They had four All-Conference selections and bring a wealth of girls back next year for a deeper run into the state playoffs.
Field Hockey: Coach Sara Lewis continues to show why she is considered one of the top field hockey coaches in New Jersey, as her team went 13-3-3 to win the conference championship. They were led by Celeste Azzari, who garnered All-Conference and All-State honors.
The team had five All-Conference selections in all. Lewis was thrilled with the effort, determination, leadership, and spirit shown by her girls, as they jelled into a cohesive unit. With this year’s increased sense of unity and spirit, the future looks as bright as ever for the field hockey team.
Girls Soccer: The girls’ soccer team, under Coach John Kodluk, continued to be one of the top programs in the conference with a record of 11-8-1. Led by All-State selection Oonagh Breen, All-Conference selections Nicole Mower and Maddie Batra as well as Gab Bruno, Liz Carroll, Jenni DeVault, and Kirsten Vance, the girls qualified for the state tournament where they eventually lost to arch-nemesis Lenape.
With a team comprised of mostly first and second year varsity players as well as having highly successful junior varsity and middle school seasons this past season, the future looks extremely bright for this program.
Boys Cross Country: Losing five of their top seven runners from last year’s team, many thought Coach Christian Lynch’s squad finally would have a rebuilding year, but they were wrong. With a brand new starting lineup, they showed that this program will not slow down.
They were able to successfully defend their Gloucester County championship. They also won the Tri-County Championship against rivals Delsea, Highland, and Pennsville.
They qualified for the State Group 4 championships for the tenth time in 11 years. They had a final South Jersey ranking of sixth and a ranking of twentieth in New Jersey.
Individually, there were five All-TCC Conference selections. With most of their scorers back, this team will have big expectations on them next year.
Girls Cross Country: The girls, led by Coach Christine Dacchille, simply had one of the greatest season in South Jersey history. They won Tri-County Royal Division title with a 6-0 record. They also won the Tri-County Conference overall championship as well as the Gloucester County title.
They won their first South Jersey Group 4 championships, qualifying for the State Group 4 championships. The ladies finished as the number one team in South Jersey, winning the South Jersey Track Coaches Association Cup. They were invited to the Nike Regional Championships in upstate New York, where they battled the top 35 teams in the northeast US for one of the two automatic spots at Nationals.
Individually, they had six All-Tri-County Conference selections. With no seniors this year, the expectations will be tremendous next year, as they will be a favorite to earn a trip to Nationals at the Nike headquarters.
Kingsway showed that, despite big graduations loses and group changes, its programs have longevity and sustainability. The fall teams truly set Kingsway’s athletic year off in grand style. Go Dragons!