Chargers have high hopes for this season


Staff Writer

The Spotswood High School boys soccer team wants more than just the division title this season.

After splitting the Blue Division title last year with JFK, the Chargers watched the Mustangs roll on to the Central Jersey Group II title – a championship Spotswood hopes to capture this time around.

Of course, there is the matter of winning the division title first, and that will once again involve fighting it out with JFK.

“They [JFK] lost some starters like we did, but they also return a lot of players who saw significant varsity time last year,” Spotswood head coach Jeff Marvinny said. “That program is pretty deep. You look at their roster, and you think about the kids they lost [to graduation], and then you realize you still know all the kids on their team because they all played last year too.”

Of course, JFK head coach Ed Bobal is likely to say all the same things about Marvinny’s Chargers. After all, Spotswood returns eight starters from last year’s 15-5 team, including three All-Blue Division players from a year ago.

However, this year’s Charger team is a different group, according to their coach.

“The three starters we lost [Dan Myer, Dave Underwood and Dan Schwartzmann] kind of defined the identity of last year’s team,” Marvinny said. “So this year, although we have many of the same players, we also have a different identity.”

Thus far that identity has led the Chargers to a 5-0-1 mark, with the lone tie coming against JFK. Other than that contest, the Chargers have been downright dominant, posting four shutouts in five games, and allowing just three goals overall.

“We’re off to a pretty good start,” Marvinny said. “But we expected to have a pretty good year. We have a lot of players where this is their fourth year of playing varsity, so we’ve kind of been building to this year.

“Obviously, we want to win the Blue and then make a run at the CJ II title.”

This year’s team is led by senior goalie Brian Scott, an All-Division selection last year, who has only gotten better. He spearheads a defense that includes junior sweeper Felix Torres, and senior outside fullbacks Roberto Mercado and Andrew Bartlett. Chris Brauer, a captain, is the stopper. The midfield includes seniors Mike Hohman and Mike Homan in the center, with junior Brett Langan and senior Phil Spina on the outside.

The forwards are senior Scott Phibbs and Bryan Spiegelhoff.

Thus far, Marvinny has had very little to complain about, though there is one concern.

“We’ve given up the three goals, and one was on a penalty kick, while the other two came in the first few minutes of the game,” the coach said. “The kids are going to have to come out with a little more intensity, because if you fall behind too many times, sooner or later you’re going to get burned.”

Looking ahead, Spotswood will take on South River tomorrow, and will definitely be looking forward to Oct. 9, when they get a rematch against JFK.

“We play JFK on the 9th, then get Metuchen on the 11th, and those two games should go a long way toward seeing how this division shapes up,” Marvinny said. “Metuchen is also very good. They’ve got a lot of juniors and sophomores, so they may not be there yet, but they’re certainly knocking on the door. We beat them 1-0 in a tough game, and they haven’t played JFK yet.

“I think the three of us are the ones that are the real contenders this year, though Highland Park and South River can always be tough too,” he added.

“It will be interesting, that’s for sure.”

And once the division race is decided, Spotswood will set its sights on the state tournament crown they’ve been coveting since the end of last season.

This is the season they’ve been waiting for, and now that it’s here, they’re playing like it.