BY CHASE FUSCO
NJ.com selected Lilly Zanfini, Morgan Nelson and Alyssa Penn to their list of top 100 freshman girls soccer players in the state. The trio helped the team to a successful 11-win season.
The team had an exceptional season, but receiving the accolade was a high point for each of the players. Zanfini said, “It was awesome to even make the list, considering how many talented freshmen there are in the state.”
Nelson, forward and outside midfielder, earned the accolade by scoring six goals and adding six assists this season. “I felt honored. It was a really big deal because it will help get noticed for college,” Nelson shared.
In a season full of special moments, the comeback 3-2 win against Monroe stood out. Nelson said, “[A highlight was] our game against Monroe in the GMC when we came back from being down 2-0. It was a huge comeback, and I was proud of the girls for not giving up. It was one of the games where we played together as a team.”
In that game, Zanfini contributed the second goal, which tied the game 2-2. She said, “While on a break-away, all I can think about is scoring and placing the ball in the net. I try to see where the goalie is in the net, so I know where to hit the ball.”
Penn scored the other two goals in the Monroe game. She called it an “incredible comeback” and added, “Not only were we proud of ourselves for winning, but we all played so hard that game and proved to everybody including ourselves what an amazing team we truly can be. I think it was a huge day for us because it brought everybody closer as a team, and we all put our heart and souls onto the field that game.”
“Another highlight of the season would be the Middletown South game, where we defeated one of the top 20 teams, one nothing,” said Zanfini. That win earned the team a trip to the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Tournament.
Nelson created another memorable moment when she contributed two goals and one assist against Piscataway, leading the team to a 3-1 victory. “All I really think about is just scoring and what I am going to do once I am 1 on 1 with the keeper.”
With these exceptional freshmen players, the future looks bright for the Knights soccer program as they continue to grow. Penn said, “It feels really special to be a part of a great program like this. I also know I have a lot of insanely talented girls to gain skills from, and I look forward to learning as much I can from the team in the future.”