Passaic Valley girls’ soccer program showed improvement, led by Hill, Leech, Victoria, LaRosa and Flores-Ortiz

It was a season of improvement for the Passaic Valley High girls’ soccer team, which finished 8-9 this season, including a season-ending win over Passaic County Tech.

Led by head coach Kathleen Berthold, the Hornets won six of its last nine games in the 2019 season.

There were a number of outstanding players, according to Berthold.

Taylor Hill, a junior, was one of the team’s leading players.

“Taylor came to preseason physically ready and eager to compete,” said Berthold. “Her hard work and positivity are contagious to the rest of the team.  She is, without fail, always trying to motivate her teammates to be the best they can be, or to go the extra mile.

The 2019 Hornets. Photo courtesy of Dotti Leech.

“Taylor returned to the midfield and controlled our left side of the field.  Her strong left foot combined with her speed allowed us to have a dangerous left side.  Taylor took the other half of the corner kicks, and was our go-to for our throw ins on the left.  Taylor improves each year and ended the season scoring five goals.  I continue to expect big things from Taylor next year, during her senior year.”

Madison Leech, a junior, did an excellent job in goal.

Passaic Valley did a tremendous job ‘kicking off’ Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Oct. 5.

“Madison took on a very big role this season, and stepped up to fulfill the position of goalie,” said Berthold. “Maddie is the type of player that will do whatever is best for the team without any questions asked.  She accepted and welcomed the role, and wore her goalie jersey with pride.

“Maddie’s athletic ability made a sure fit for the job. By the end of the season, she was managing the field and was able to take control.  Madison is always focused on being the best she can be, and with some more confidence and certainty she will be able to accomplish that for her senior season.  Maddie finished the season with 94 saves.”

A tremendous senior and two-time captain, Zuania Victoria was a stalwart for the PV soccer program.

Passaic Valley and Cedar Grove players pose for a photo before game on Oct. 5.

“Every year Zuania put on a hornet uniform, she had a huge offensive responsibility, and nothing changed this season,” said Berthold. “Zuania resumed her role as forward and proved she is a tremendous soccer player.  Her natural athletic ability, speed, and ball skills didn’t go unnoticed by any opponent or coach.   

“She is usually always man-marked by the other team, recognizing her attacking threat.  Zuania was able to create opportunities herself, utilizing her speed, and go-to goal and finish.  In addition, Zuania unselfishly assisted in her teammates scoring, setting up opportunities for them.  Without fail, after every game the opposing coach commented on #7.

“This was Zuania’s second year assuming the role of captain and she finished with a personal season-high of 27 goals.  She finished her soccer career at Passaic Valley with a total of 74 goals.  

“In addition to soccer, Zuania runs track and is a member of the Athletic Leadership Council. She plans on studying Special Education in college while continuing her soccer career at the next level. We wish her all the best and she will most definitely be missed. This year Zuania was selected for First-Team All-League and Second Team All-County.  

Brianna LaRosa, a sophomore, had a very good season in 2019.

“Brianna’s presence in the midfield is evident, and she takes complete control on the right side,” said Berthold. “The dangerous combination of Brianna’s speed, soft touch, and strong cross ball is an offensive threat for all opponents.  She is one of our core offensive members, and almost single-handedly beat her opponent down field, in each game.  

“Brianna shares the responsibility of taking corner kick for us, serving it perfectly right in front of the goal for her teammates to finish.  Last year Brianna scored 11 goals and this year she upped her number and finished with 15 goals this season.  Brianna was awarded with Honorable Mention All-League. “

Ariana Flores-Ortiz, another sophomore, excelled in the midfield.

“This is Ariana’s second year our as center midfielder,” said Berthold. “Her skill, touch on the ball, and field awareness allows her to excel in this position. Playing in the midfield demands a lot of Ariana, both offensively and defensively, and we look to her not only be the play-maker, but at times mark a key opponent.

“Due to her foot strength, Ariana takes all our free kicks.  Her aggressiveness and love for competition shines through her play and radiates to her teammates.  I will continue to have high expectations for Ariana for next season and I am confident she will exceed my expectations. Ariana finished the season with nine goals and was selected as Honorable Mention, All-Passaic County.   

PV had some impressive wins, including a 3-1 victory against Cedar Grove, when the program honored Breast Cancer Awareness Month, on Oct. 5.

Read more in that day, here.

By mike051893

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