Barnegat Leader Fall Sports Previews

Barnegat Boys Soccer, Girls Tennis Build on Experience; Girls Volleyball Counts on Youth

By David Biggy | Sep 20, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy KEEP STREAK GOING: Senior Sean Toner is one of the anchor players on defense for the Barnegat boys soccer team, which started the season 5-0.

Barnegat — Following a 6-11 season last fall, the Barnegat High School boys soccer team seems to be on a path toward many more wins this season. But getting on that path and remaining on it requires a bunch of things.

First, the Bengals will need consistency with their goal scoring. Second, they will need consistency on defense and closing down gaps quickly when an opposing team gets near the penalty area. And third, Barnegat will need to follow its leaders.

“Our expectation is to be competitive in every game we play this season,” said new head coach Kevin Peters. “We returned 12 seniors who have now seen what it takes to be successful at the varsity level in the Shore Conference, and their experience definitely stands as one of our strengths.”

Not all of the Bengals’ seniors are leaders, but they have a number who played several years and should be the guys taking charge this fall. Among that core group are midfielders Grady Edwards, Matt White and Ryan Fisher, along with defenders Sean Toner and Trevor Fox and forward Justin Gomez.

Midfielders Alex Cernansky, Alex Zuniga, Liam Kreudl and Noah Meyer, defender Jesse Omelczuk and goalkeeper Zach Oliver have varsity experience as well, and will figure prominently within the Barnegat system. Freshman defender Matt Cheney also is a player Peters expects to log some quality time on the pitch.

“We have a lot of different pieces that we typically haven’t had in the past,” he said. “We have a deep roster that I believe will get Barnegat’s name out there in Shore Conference soccer.”

So far, so good. After starting off with a pair of wins during the first week, the Bengals mustered a pair of one-goal victories as well as a two-goal triumph last week – knocking off Ranney, 2-1, in overtime on Sept. 13, after notching a 4-2 win over Lacey on Sept. 12 and 2-1 win over Point Borough on Sept. 10.

Against Ranney, White opened the scoring in the first half and Zuniga netted the game-winner during the first minute of overtime. Edwards had an assist. In their win against Lacey, the Bengals received a pair of goals from White, while Edwards managed a goal and an assist, and freshman Jesse Hedlund added a goal. Hedlund and White also scored the two goals against Point Borough, and freshman goalkeeper Lucas Holland stopped 11 shots on goal to secure the victory.

Girls Tennis

Expects to Compete

During the 27 years Sue Rogers had coached girls tennis heading into this fall, her teams won 247 matches. With this season’s Barnegat squad, she was figuring on some more.

“With most of the team back, we should be competitive within the division,” she said. “We have some experienced players in Madison Linton and Lily Spagnola, who should lead the team this year. With mostly seniors, we should be competitive in our matches. The doubles teams are new and will need time to develop.”

Linton and Spagnola, playing at first and second singles, respectively, definitely are the leaders of the crew. Last fall, Linton was 14-7 at first singles, while Spagnola finished 15-9 at second. Third singles player, senior Haley Jencik, also returned to the lineup following a five-win junior campaign.

In the doubles positions, Rogers’ lineup includes seniors Kiara Montanez, Alianna Aguiar and Caitlin Anderson, as well as juniors Maya Quinn, Paige Menegus and Ava Baker.

As of Sept. 16, the Bengals were 5-3 thus far. The latest contest resulted in a 5-0 loss against Donovan Catholic, but the Bengals had won four of the previous six contests after starting with a 5-0 win over Shore Conference Class B South rival Jackson Liberty on Sept. 5

Following losses to non-conference foes Millville and Vineland on Sept. 8, Barnegat edged Point Pleasant Beach, 3-2, as Linton scored a 6-3, 7-5 win; Spagnola contributed a 6-2, 6-2 victory; and Jencik and Montanez combined for a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) clincher. On Sept. 11, the Bengals knocked off Pinelands, 5-0, with Linton, Spagnola and Aguiar winning in straight sets, while the teams of Jencik-Montanez and Menegus-Anderson used 10-7 and 10-6 third-set tiebreakers, respectively, to complete the sweep.

After another 5-0 victory against Brick on Sept. 12, Barnegat found a way past Manchester, 3-2. Again, Linton, Spagnola and the team of Jencik-Montanez scored the victories, the latter two in three sets.

Girls Volleyball

Strives to Improve

Following a rough start, the Barnegat girls volleyball team won its next two contests to draw even after four matches through Sept. 13. Now, the Bengals will look to maintain some consistency as they aim for a solid season.

With only two seniors on the squad – Gilana Fitzmaurice and Kristen Pavese – the Bengals will be hard-pressed to win matches based on experience. The rest of the crew consists of juniors Kaya Foy, Morgan Giaccone, Julianna Padilla, Veronica Tikhomirova, Julianna Viola, Meagan Hayes, Sydney Dizon and Ashley Erickson; and sophomores Robbiann Erskine, Patria Moreno, Nina Soberano, Valencia Gosser and Hannah Kelly.

The season got underway with a pair of 2-0 losses to Shore Conference Class B South rivals Lakewood and Donovan Catholic.

The Bengals found their winning recipe in a 25-23, 25-20 win over Manchester on Sept. 11, during which Moreno delivered 15 digs and four kills, Tikhomirova delivered six kills and 13 digs, and Giaccone gave out 13 assists. In a 25-22, 25-10 win over Point Pleasant Beach, the Bengals received 22 assists from Giaccone, 10 digs from Moreno, and 11 kills and four digs from Tikhomirova.

— David Biggy

Barnegat senior first singles player Madison Linton. (Photo by: David Biggy)
Barnegat senior second singles player Lily Spagnola. (Photo by: David Biggy)
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