Defense, potent offense has Bishop Ahr on a roll

Old Bridge's Melanie Santurro collides with Bishop Ahr goalkeeper Brianna Foster in the first half of their matchup on Sept. 10.  Photo by: Doug Hood

Old Bridge’s Melanie Santurro collides with Bishop Ahr goalkeeper Brianna Foster in the first half of their matchup on Sept. 10. Photo by: Doug Hood

Take away the second game of their season and the Bishop Ahr High School girls soccer team has been has as perfect as anyone in the state this season.

The Trojans, ranked No. 4 in The Home News Tribune’s Top 10, have a staggering goal differential of plus-38 in nine games this year, led by a goalkeeper who hasn’t allowed a goal in any of her seven victories.

Senior Brianna Foster has seen one soccer ball roll behind her and into the net in 2013, helping Bishop Ahr race out to an 8-1 record in the competitive GMC White Division. Since a 1-0 loss to Old Bridge on Sept. 10, Foster hasn’t allowed a goal and has pitched seven consecutive shutouts, a span that covers 604 minutes of game time.

“Anything in her area, she’s going to get to,” head coach Jim Tavormina said. “She’s had to make a few tough stops this season, but sometimes the hardest thing to do is keep her concentration when she’s not seeing many shots. So it takes a lot to keep that concentration, but when she is, she’s ready.”

With a defensive unit led by Alexia Vassiliadais, Sara Harmon, and a pair of elite scorers in Alexa Povelaitis (10 goals, seven assists) and Jillian Vassallo (eight goals, four assists) Bishop Ahr has outscored their opponents 39-1 this season.

“What’s really nice about this year is that we’re so deep in the back and if someone isn’t having their best game, we have someone else step in and do the job,” Tavormina said. “I have seven starting backs and I can only play four at the same time. Any of them can start at any time. I go by practice and whoever has the best practice, plays. Everybody isn’t going to be on their best game all the time.”

Foster, who is committed to play at Duquesne of the Atlantic 10 next season, has just 27 saves to her name this year, but stats can be deceiving because of the play of the defenders in front of her. Tavormina stresses communication between his defensive players, trying to keep it as simple as possible.

“We just remind them that they need to play together and have good communication. It’s really important to remind them of the basics and it’s our job as coaches to remind them of that,” he said.

Big week for Spotswood

The Chargers, who had a Monday night showdown with Sayreville wiped out due to rain, face two tough tests the remainder of the week to prove they’re for real.

Wednesday, they’ll host one of the conference’s two unbeatens when Metuchen comes to town and Friday, they welcome Carteret (10-2-1). After this week, we’ll know more about Mike Reid’s bunch.

Gold Division race

The race to earn the Gold Division crown is shaping up to be a good one in the season’s final weeks, as Cardinal McCarrick (6-2, 6-1 Gold), Timothy Christian (7-3-1, 5-1 Gold) and Highland Park (4-4, 4-1 Gold) all have a chance to claim the top spot.

Cardinal McCarrick visits Highland Park Friday, while Timothy Christian travels to South River.

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