Some Good News About Hurricanes: Hazlet Soccer Team Wins 1st Place
The ironically-named Hazlet Hurricanes Middle School team wins the Shore Conference, scoring 54 goals in 12 games.
The Hazlet Middle School Boys Soccer team won the Shore Conference Championship with an 11-1 record, and celebrated their win with a pizza party at school Monday.
The last time the team won the honor was seven years ago, said Coach Mike Connell. A banner commemorating the Hazlet Hurricanes' win is already on order to be displayed in the gym, thanks to Principal Colleen Rafter and Athletic Director John DeGenito.
"It was a great season," said Coach Mike Connell. "We surprised a lot of teams."
"For the first half of the season, people underestimated us," he said. "But by the second half it got harder, because they were a little more ready for us."
Connell credits an unsually deep bench of talented players, representing three Hazlet United Soccer Association travel teams and players from Academy-level and non-Hazlet based teams. "Out of 35 kids, we had 28 who made the team," he said. The boys practiced every day after school during the 12-week season.
There were many strong players, but they came together as one, he said. "The team concept was sold from Day One, and the kids believed in it -- whether they played 2 minutes or 50 minutes," he said.
At the party honors were bestowed upon the team's three 8th Grade Captains: Scott Larson, Peter Amato, Angelo Fontanazza.
The Most Valuable Player award was shared between Fontanazza, the sweeper; and Peter Amato, the center halfback.
Most Improved Player was earned by left midfielder Chris Silvestri.
Best Offensive Threat was given to right forward and leading scorer, Alec Fortune.
High School Boys Soccer Coach Ron Poll has come to games, and shown his support for the upcoming crop of players. Looking ahead, Connell believes the future is bright for Hazlet school teams.
"What I see, looking forward, is that people will know what to expect for the following year," he said. "We will have 17 returning 7th graders, and a good sixth grade coming."