Girls' Soccer Players to Watch
Rachelle Ross, Lenape, Sr. Ross is widely regarded as the most clutch goal-scorer in South Jersey, and among other big-time goals, she netted the winner in Lenape's 1-0 victory over Eastern in the Group 4 sectional final last year. She will play an even more integral role in the Indians offense this season. Ross, a Monmouth recruit who netted 11 goals and five assists in 2012, is strong, fast, and lightning quick around the net.
Marie McCool, Moorestown, Sr. McCool is considered to be the most fluid high school girls' lacrosse player in the state, if not the country. She has the physical tools that should seamlessly cross sports at the high school level and make her one of the top offensive players in South Jersey girls' soccer this season. In 2012, she piled up 15 goals and eight assists in leading Moorestown to a Group 3 state-final appearance.
Jackie Carty, Paul VI, Sr. Carty is a Boston University recruit who has long been among the area's top two-way midfielders. She recorded five goals and two assists in her junior year and will combine with fellow senior Kristen Morawski, a Mount St. Mary's recruit, to form one of the area's top midfield duos.
Paige Bergman, Triton, Jr. Bergman is arguably South Jersey's most highly touted girls' soccer player. She committed to St. Joseph's as a sophomore, and despite defense being her natural position, she already has 35 career goals through two years of high school soccer. There isn't much Bergman can't do on a soccer field, and she should be a dominant player this season.
Kylie Kirk, Haddonfield, Sr. Kirk netted three goals and 10 assists in eight games last season before suffering a season-ending ankle sprain. But she returns as a team leader for first-year coach Lori Quintavalle. Kirk, an Indiana recruit, is one of the most well-rounded players in the area.
Christina Padovani, Eastern, Sr. Among the top players on one of the top teams in South Jersey, Padovani recorded nine goals and 10 assists and also contributed on defense last year. With the graduation of superstar Madison Tiernan, Padovani becomes even more valuable to the Vikings.
Caroline Shinkse, Shawnee, Sr. Shinske is one of the fastest, most tenacious athletes in South Jersey. In lacrosse, she was a top player on a team that reached the Tournament of Champions final in 2012. In soccer, she will be counted on for her leadership and supreme athleticism as the Renegades work to replace an extremely talented senior class.
Maria Petrongolo, Gloucester Catholic, Sr. Petrongolo was named a first-team All-South Jersey defender in 2012 by the South Jersey Soccer Coaches Association. She leads a stingy Rams defense that could make noise in the South Jersey Non-Public A tournament.
Miranda Konstantinides, Eastern, Sr. Konstantinides, a Monmouth recruit, has long been regarded as one of the top defenders in New Jersey. As a junior, she led an Eastern defense that allowed seven goals in 26 games, never yielding more than one in a game.
Courtney Norton, Lenape, Sr. A Rutgers recruit, Norton leads a Lenape defense that is perennially one of the top units in the state. With the graduation of star defender Rachel Johnson, Norton steps into an even bigger role on a defense that should remain among the tops in the state.
Courtney Simpson, Cherokee, Sr. Simpson enjoyed a breakout season in 2012, tying a school record with 11 shutouts - an especially meaningful accomplishment in the grueling Olympic Conference. It should be fun to watch Simpson, a strong and athletic keeper, once again take on the area's best offensive weapons.
- Chris Melchiorre