By: Alexa Camerino
Although COVID-19 had a huge impact on the James Caldwell High School Girls’ Soccer team, they were able to finish the season on a high note. The girls had an impressive 8-6-1 record by the season’s end, and in their last game against Glen Rock, the team won 2-1, becoming champions of the North East B state tournament. The game was played on November 22, which turned out to be a nice, comfortable Sunday morning to end the 2020 season on.
Over the course of the fall, multiple teams got their seasons cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19 outbreaks, causing four of the Lady Chiefs’ games to be rescheduled or called off completely. Despite some of their games being cancelled and the season being shortened, the girls always stayed positive and worked hard to be the best they could.
The girls’ state tournament started out with a 5-0 win against Becton, followed by a 9-2 win against Fort Lee in the semifinal round. In their final matchup, the two Caldwell goals were scored by Megan Blankenship and Annie Gustavsen, assisted by Victoria Rebimbas and Cassidy Brown respectively. The defense was on point as well, with goalie Shayne Stafford ending the game with 4 saves.
The team was extremely excited to end a tough season with such an important victory. With the first state championship victory since 2012, the first year coaches and varsity players could not have been happier with the outcome. To Celebrate the victory, the team had a socially-distanced outdoor pizza party and spray painted the grass on Westville Avenue to let everyone know about the win (with permission of course!).
Returning varsity player Caitlin Cetrulo, a junior at JCHS, was asked for feedback from the season and explained, “This season was definitely one to remember with the COVID-19 restrictions, but when I remember this season in a few years I will be thinking of our win and not even remembering the sacrifices we had to make to play.”
Clearly, the girls had their hearts set on having a season, and their honoring of the COVID-19 guidelines made that possible. Being smart both on and off the field and doing their best to follow restrictions and be safe paid off. Senior captain Cara Handley said, “Winning states was a great way to end senior soccer season. I was flabbergasted by our win and could not think of a better way to end my soccer career.”