North Bergen’s girls’ soccer team shoots for return to county title game

More with Francis and Steven; football observations; top fives
POWERFUL BRUIN – North Bergen sophomore forward Kiomy Luperon has seven goals this season after scoring 20 last year as a freshman.
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POWERFUL BRUIN – North Bergen sophomore forward Kiomy Luperon has seven goals this season after scoring 20 last year as a freshman.

The North Bergen High School girls’ soccer team made gigantic strides a year ago when the Bruins advanced all the way to the championship game of the Hudson County Tournament.

Now, the Bruins are going through some growing pains, owning a 5-6-1 record at press time as the Hudson County Tournament gets underway.

“We graduated 12 seniors from last year’s team,” said veteran North Bergen girls’ soccer head coach Jimmy Somick. “We’re very young. We’ve been fighting hard. We also upgraded our schedule to play tougher teams. We wanted to challenge the girls who were coming in, challenge their confidence.”

Somick said that the Bruins had some tough luck to begin the season.

“We had a couple of games that we made some young mistakes,” Somick said. “But I love the way they fight. They never give up. They’re very dedicated.”

Somick said that the younger Bruins have a lot of talent.

“They’re a very skilled group of girls,” Somick said. “They’re just not used to playing three games in a week. But I love the way they battle. It’s all part of the growing pains. We’re starting three freshmen. All three are playing excellent soccer. The best is yet to come with this team.”

Sophomore Julia Aguilar is the team’s goalkeeper.

“It’s her first year starting in goal,” Somick said. “She’s doing a great job. She’s made some diving saves. She’s also very skilled. She’s getting stronger and her play is a great sign for the future. She has all the attributes you need in a good goalie. She really has adapted well to varsity soccer.”

The sweeper is junior Damariys Mata, who is a returning starter from a year ago.

“I’m more comfortable knowing she’s back there,” Somick said.

The stopper is freshman Emily Castro.

“At first, she was having some difficulty,” Somick said. “But she came around. She has great size and a great leg. She’s going to be a dominant force for us.”

The other two defenders are sophomore Erika Alvarez and junior Gabby Fernandez.

The defensive center midfielder is sophomore Brianna Classen, who Somick believes is doing “a very good job. I’m very confident in her,” the coach said.

The offensive center midfielder is junior Daniela Arpi.

“She’s been getting the ball to our attacking players very well,” Somick said of Arpi.

Senior Valerie Mesa is a force to be reckoned with in the Bruins’ midfield.

“She’s the distributor and the playmaker,” Somick said. “She has it all. She’s the heart and soul of the team.”

Another midfielder is freshman Nyrohah Alvarenga.

“She’s going to be a very good one,” Somick said of Alvarenga, who had five goals and five assists at press time.

Another freshman midfielder is Vivian Calle.

“She’s extremely fast,” Somick said of Calle. “She’s powerful with both legs. I rotate them in and out, depending upon the situation.”

The standout of the team is sophomore Kiomy Luperon, who scored 20 goals as a freshman last year, earning Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Week once a year ago.

Luperon has scored a team-high seven goals this season from the forward position.

“At first, she got a little frustrated because teams were marking her closely,” Somick said. “But now, she’s fighting it off. She’s doing well now. She’s in great shape now. She has a lot on her plate, but she’s handling it well.”

Luperon has been holding off the various soccer academies around the state that want to secure her services.

“The academies coming in are a good sign,” Somick said. “We will be fine. I think we have a good shot to make it back to the county finals. We will see. But we will be ready to go. It’s going to be very interesting down the stretch. I don’t think our record indicates who we are. I think we’re more talented than our record.”…

A couple of weeks ago, we featured the talented Memorial High School cross country duo of Francis Martingale and Steven Ventura, two of the finest runners the school has ever produced.

When asked if the two wanted to be a part of the school’s incredible history of running success, both were extremely flattered.

“I sometimes look at all the trophies in the school and wonder if we could be there with the others,” Ventura said. “I find it crazy to be considered with that whole legacy of good Memorial runners. We both have made it so far. To have two guys from Memorial do this well is incredible.”

“That would be so cool,” said Martingale, who is involved with the school’s Performing Arts program and does a lot of singing and dancing. “Music has always been a thing for me. When I run, I hear music. When I’m warming up, I’ll be dancing. It keeps my energy up. I always wanted to get into competitive dancing. Having the Performing Arts here keeps me going.”

And Martingale is motivated by the past.

“I see pictures of [former Memorial standout and All-American at the University of Tennessee] Sal Vega and wonder maybe in a few years, I can be like him,” Martingale said. “Maybe someday, there will be a picture of me on the wall.”

You never know. The two are among the favorites in a wide open Hudson County Track Coaches Association championships Saturday, Oct. 27 at Bayonne County Park…

Ferris’ football team may be 0-6, but the Bulldogs had some great individual performances in a recent 28-20 loss to Dickinson.

Quarterback Camron Scott completed 15-of-27 passes for an astounding 297 yards and three touchdowns. His main target was Nathaniel White, who caught eight of those passes for 203 yards and a touchdown…

Bayonne’s Danny McAuliffe completed 15-of-21 passes for 316 yards and five touchdowns in a 48-13 win over Kearny. In that game, teammate Azhaun Dingle had 210 yards rushing and two touchdowns and Michael Britt caught five passes for 130 yards and two TDs. Britt is the younger brother of former NFL receiver Kenny Britt

Hudson Reporter High School Football Top Five (as of Oct. 12): 1. St. Peter’s Prep (4-2). 2. Union City (4-1). 3. North Bergen (4-1). 4. Bayonne (4-2). 5. Lincoln (4-2)…

Hudson Reporter High School Soccer Top Five (as of Oct. 12): 1. St. Peter’s Prep (11-1-1). 2. Union City (9-4). 3. Ferris (10-0). 4. Hudson Catholic (6-3-1). 5. Hoboken (9-4-1). – Jim Hague

Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com

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