Lacking Depth But Boasting Plenty of Skill, Hun Girls’ Soccer Looking to Pressure Foes
ON THE BALL: Hun School girls’ soccer player Kendall Dandridge, right, battles for the ball in a game last season. Senior defender Dandridge figures to be a force on the back line in her final campaign for the Raiders. Last Saturday, Dandridge and the Raiders got things off on the right foot, edging Ewing 2-1 in their season opener. Hun plays at Princeton Day School on September 14, hosts Monroe Township High on September 16, and then plays at Oak Knoll on September 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Although the Hun School girls’ soccer doesn’t boast quantity in terms of numbers this fall, it does possess quality all over the field.
“Our numbers are pretty thin but the core group that we have coming back is good and strong,” said Hun head coach Joanna Hallac, who guided the Raiders to a 7-10-2 record in 2016. “We have added a couple of newcomers.”
The Hun defense figures to be the strength of the team this fall, featuring senior Kendall Dandridge, junior Olivia McNulty, senior Jenna Jarvis, freshman Amanda Jenkins, and junior Brenna Wehner.
“Our back line looks pretty solid; I am excited about our defense, I think our back four are strong,” asserted Hallac, whose team’s back line stepped up in the season opener last Saturday as Hun edged Ewing 2-1.
“We have Kendall back on the outside, she is making some more runs from the back and becoming an offensive threat like she was in her first two years. Liv looks stronger this year at the other outside back position. Jenna will probably switch in for her from the midfield so they can be pretty interchangeable. I have got two new players at center back, which is really huge for us because that gives us more options to move people into a forward position. Amanda is transferring from Wardlaw Hartridge and Brenna is transferring to us from Notre Dame. Both of them have been fantastic.”
Hallac has two good options at goalie in junior Leah Sutphen and senior Livi Kooker.
“Leah looks fantastic, she has done a lot of work,” asserted Hallac. “She is not the tallest keeper in the area and she was a little vulnerable on those high balls last year. She has worked her tail off and has shored that up quite significantly. She is poised for another strong year. I think Livi is going to get herself back into that rotation; I am really happy with how she looks too.”
The Raiders should get some good offensive work in the midfield with senior Nicole Apuzzi, sophomore Nicole Angelini, and senior Kennedy Debow leading the way.
“I was able to push Nicole Apuzzi back up into the midfield; I think she will be back as an offensive threat,” said Hallac.
“Nicole Angelini is the center midfield. We are kind of going to run the offense through her, not unlike we did last year. Kennedy had her best season last year in the middle. She is already looking like she is picking up where she left off. She is one of these quiet players, she just does her job so well and you don’t necessarily notice her.”
Sophomore Bryonna “Breezy” Worthy served notice last year that she can be a go-to finisher and started 2017 with a bang, scoring the game-winning goal against Ewing on Saturday.
“It is going to be Breezy carrying the load up top,” said Hallac, noting that senior star Kara Borden is currently sidelined as she recovers from knee surgery.
In assessing her team’s prospects, Hallac believes that the talent surrounding Worthy can help her carry the load.
“If we are playing with one striker up top, we are going to be really transitioning to offense and getting midfielders involved in the attack, making sure that Breezy has people to play with up top,” said Hallac, whose team plays at Princeton Day School on September 14, hosts Monroe Township High on September 16, and then plays at Oak Knoll on September 19.
“That is going to be really important and also taking more shots and finishing. Defensively, we have to be willing to play out of the back and not just create 50/50 situations. We need to create counter attacks. I want to put more pressure on teams. I think we have a back four that is going to be really good playing out of the back and possessing the ball.”