By NATASHA RAI, junior
A new school year always signals the start of a lively season of fall sports. For the girls’ and boys’ soccer teams, this also signals two months of awkward shin guard tans, memorable plays, and most importantly, another chance at winning the competitive GMC tournament. So far, both teams are off to promising starts, with the boys’ team boasting a record of 13-4 and the girls a steady 8-8-1 record.
This year, the Lady Hawks, led by captains Kristen Shea (12), Karen Eng (12), and Melaney Zranchev (12), features a seasoned group of seniors and juniors. The team has already defeated some of their toughest competitors, including Monroe and Woodbridge, and overcome a five-year losing streak against South Brunswick with the help of goalie Erin Shea’s (12) intense shutout in overtime, adding to her current total of 71 saves in the season. When asked about the team chemistry, one of the leading scorers Melaney Zranchev replied, “We win as a team, we lose as a team. We’re able to play well together through both the bad and the good games and that’s all we need to do.” Later on in the season, the girls will face off against teams such as Edison High and Highland Park.
The boys, on the other hand, have had a very different season. Despite a slow beginning, the boys have emerged with renewed confidence and energy. After losing two of their first three games, the captains, Matt Lee (12), Antonio Nigro (11), and Casey He (11), not only steered the team back on track, but also helped them dive into a winning streak. “Although we had a tough start, we’ve been playing extremely well and we are definitely becoming one of the teams to beat this season,” recalls Casey, who has scored five goals and had five assists. The team has since won seven consecutive games, including a 6-2 win against Edison High. Already, goalie Srid Sriram (11) has accumulated 4 shutouts and 61 saves, while forward Siddharth Hariharan (11) has racked up ten goals and three assists. In a recent game against Sayreville, freshman Anu Dwivedi scored the game winning goal in the 79th minute. In that game alone, JP outshot their opponent 15-9.
The two teams have provided exciting wins for JP, and, as the season draws to a close, many more victories are bound to come for this hardworking group of athletes, this season and in future seasons.