The Star Ledger has published its wrap-ups of the fall sports season and they contain some very favorable words for Verona’s boys and girls soccer teams and their coaches.
The paper named both boys Coach Wayne Looney and girls Coach Anthony Scorciolla the Essex County Coach of the Year for their respective teams and deemed both Verona squads its “surprise team” of the year: The boys for pulling off their best season since 1981 and the girls for deciding that just making the first round of the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 1 tournament wasn’t enough.
“Instead, Verona (14-9) embarked on a magical run, with Scorciolla entrusting freshmen Julia Ashley (12 goals, 14 assists) and Claire Fitzpatrick (5 goals) in prominent positions and designing a tough defense that featured seniors Alison Sprong, Caroline Mols and Amanda Cummings. The formula gave way to an unforeseen march straight to the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 1, Group 1 title, the program’s first.
The paper named Olivia Marino, Jill Cumming and Sydney White to its girls Top Junior team for Essex County, while Jillian Sprong and Colleen Farrell made Top Sophomore and Amanda Flores and Claire Fitzpatrick were named to Top Freshman. Ashley made second team All Essex County and Mols was third team. The Star Ledger also commended the Verona girls for their defensive play, noting that Mols, Cummings, Cumming, Julia Frazee and goalie Alison Sprong had nine shutouts on the season, three of which occurred in tournament play.
As for the boys, the paper hailed that team’s “tremendous senior leadership” as well as the contributions of sophomore players Matt Braschi and Troy Carrington. Junior Mike King was honored for his 15 saves in the October 17 victory over Newark Academy, while Dwight Tucci was singled out for his deft handling of a corner kick in the October 10 Essex County Tournament game. Jon Tosh was named second team on the paper’s All-Junior team, while Carrington and Braschi made first team for the Freshman/Sophomore team. Carrington was also named second team of the All-Essex team, while Tucci made the third team.
Here’s a little bit of what the paper said about the leadership shown by Looney, who is a Verona resident as well as a Verona coach:
“Wayne Looney of Verona melded a nice mixture of tough, veteran grittiness and young, imaginative shot-making to guide Verona (17-3-1) to its best season in 30 years. His strong, cohesive senior class mainly manned the defending third and worked the midfield, while junior Dwight Tucci and sophomores Troy Carrington and Matt Braschi handled the offensive duties. That could have been an unwieldy combination — veterans toil quietly, youngsters snap up publicity — but it worked flawlessly under Looney’s balanced, positive guidance. Verona advanced to the semifinals of the Essex County Tournament and to the NJSIAA semifinals in North Jersey, Section 1, Group 1.
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