Deeper Brookdale squad out to improve on last year

first_img BY TIM MORRISStaff Writer MIDDLETOWN — “Cautiously optimistic” is how Brookdale Community College men’s soccer coach Wayne Palmer describes his outlook for the 2004 season. “Last year we finished the season playing well, and we’re looking to build on that,” Palmer said. “We’re a lot deeper in the quality of our players. I do think we’ll improve on last year’s record.” The Jersey Blues were 8-7-3 last fall and reached the finals of the Region XIX tournament the year after winning it and advancing to the junior college national championship game. A trio of experienced sophomore captains are the foundation the ’04 Blues will be built upon, while a large freshman holds the key to just how good the team will be. Sophomore Rich Frye (Matawan), a midfielder, who was a big player on the ’02 team that played for the national championship, missed last year with an ankle injury. His return gives Brookdale a major playmaker in the middle. Defenders Enock Dumarsais (Asbury Park) and Brandon Sierchio (Toms River) are the other sophomore captains. It’s little wonder that defense is Brookdale’s strong point, with veterans like Dumarsais and Sierchio providing leadership as well as solid play. Freshman Dane Hodge, an all-stater at Neptune, is the sweeper back and he has settled in nicely with the sophomores. His talents allow him to start the transition to offense as well as play suffocating defense. “I’m comfortable with the leadership we have on defense,” Palmer said. Matt Laspisa (Freehold Township), Bob Miller (Raritan) and Rogerio Morelra (Neptune) are solid players adding depth to the backfield. Middletown South grad Mark Mammolito will start in net for the Blues. Midfielders Frye and Estebean Mozo (Long Branch) can control a game in the middle of the field. Their passing and dribbling creates seams for their forward to attack from. Outside of Frye and Mozo, the Blues are relying on their international connection. A pair of California junior college transfers, James Blackburn (England) and Kamal Gadzhiallev (Russia), are making an impact. They are sophomores with one year of college as well as international experience. Kyle Boyd, a transfer from Monmouth University, will be seeing time at midfield as well. Up front, forwards C.J. Bordino (Neptune), Edson Gonzalez (Long Branch) and Pablo Penagos (South Amboy) are being looked to be finishers. The opportunities will be there because of the solid midfielders that the Jersey Blues have. Brookdale opened the season on the road in upstate New York in the Herkimer Tournament, where they faced nationally ranked teams out of the gate. Palmer prefers to start the season that way. “It helps us asses ourselves early in the season where we are and where we need to go,” he pointed out. The trip to New York, Palmer added, is another way for a team with so many newcomers to develop chemistry. Brookdale plays its first home game of the season Saturday at 2 p.m. in Lincroft against Montgomery Rockville. Their first Garden State Athletic Conference/Region XIX home match is Sept. 18 against Bergen (noon). BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer last_img read more

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