Strong defensive play sparks new-look Bombers

Sayreville girls overcome heavy losses to graduation


Staff Writer

SCOTT PILLING staff Sayreville's Lynn Mayer does some fancy footwork to keep the ball away from Colonia's Amanda Minue during a recent game in Colonia. SCOTT PILLING staff Sayreville’s Lynn Mayer does some fancy footwork to keep the ball away from Colonia’s Amanda Minue during a recent game in Colonia. Despite losing 11 seniors to graduation, the Sayreville War Memorial High School girls soccer team is currently 5-3 thanks to its traditionally stingy defense.

The Bombers have allowed just six goals in eight games while scoring 23 times themselves. Sayreville has downed South Plainfield, New Brunswick, North Brunswick and Perth Amboy twice, while losing a pair of 1-0 decisions to Monroe and a 3-2 match against Colonia.

“Overall our team doesn’t have a lot of varsity experience, but the girls are making up for that with teamwork and hard work,” said new coach Leah Craig, a former Bombers player herself who graduated from Rider University, is now in her second year as a fourth-grade math teacher at the Upper Elementary School. “We’ve always stressed defense here, and that’s been the key for us again this year.”

Sophomore netminder Allie Cuozzo has been solid – spectacular at times – between the pipes for the Bombers, and Craig was able to place several veterans on the back line to help out. Seniors Lynn Mayer and versatile Sarah Janas along with junior Kayla Hubela are very capable defenders.

Janas has been able to join the attack as well, and she leads Sayreville with five goals.

Suannette Rios and the trio of juniors Kaitlyn Frotton, Ruba Sbeah and Zara Zaleski provide the Bombers with a quick transition game in the middle. Zaleski has also contributed a pair of goals, and Sbeah has a goal and an assist.

The front line is talented and quick with juniors Maryann Boulton and Amber Rich. Boulton has a goal and five assists to her credit, while Rich has a pair of goals and an assist. Sophomore Heather Roy, who has four tallies, also starts at forward. The balanced offense has been augmented by sophomore Jolise Aponte, who has four goals and an assist coming off the bench, junior Peal Shah, who has a goal, and sophomore Juliana Burns.

To spell the defense, Craig generally employs upperclassmen Rachel Wolf and juniors Melissa Mocorski, Melissa Restivo and Kelly Zimmer, who has contributed a goal. Kerry Heaney, a senior, provides depth in the middle.

“We’re pretty quick up top and the scoring has been spread out, which is important,” Craig said. “Right now we’re doing all right, but we’ve got a tough week ahead of us.”

And with the Oct. 20 deadline to qualify for the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV playoffs looming, the Bombers need to be on top of their game. Teams must have a .500 or better record at the end of play that day to qualify. Sayreville will also play in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament, set for later this month.

Sayreville is set to visit Woodbridge on Friday and will be in Old Bridge the next day. Craig’s team returns home to host Woodbridge on Monday and will welcome New Brunswick to town on Tuesday.

“This is a week that could make or break us, so we need to play well,” the coach said. “While we have to stay at .500, I really want to finish strong and go into the tournaments with some momentum.”