Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Highlanders Plan Encore

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Highlanders Plan Encore

Article excerpt

As high as the expectations are at Northern Highlands, going undefeated wasn't part of the plan last season. It just kind of happened.

But now that the Highlanders know how it feels, how fulfilling it is to win every game and every title they could, they certainly would like to do it again.

"It was definitely much more than we expected," senior midfielder Madison Holleran said. "Now, coming into the next season, everybody has such high expectations for us. Basically, we want to repeat the same season all over again. Half of us know how it feels."

Holleran was one of many reasons the Highlanders won all 24 games they played. She led the team with 29 goals and added 12 assists, numbers that can compare to some of the great individual performances in program history.

"Madison is a lot of fun to watch," coach Tara Madigan said. "She had a great year last year. She developed so much from sophomore year. We have high expectations for her this season, as does she. She strives to constantly get better, whether it's in the classroom or on the field."

As one of three senior captains this season, Holleran is quick to mention the teammates who made last season happen. The reason the Highlanders are so optimistic is because many have returned. It's also why Northern Highlands is No. 1 in The Record girls soccer preseason Top 25.

Holleran was one of three midfielders named to the All-Bergen team last season. She and Clare Shea were named to the first team, while Emma Sullivan made second team. All three players are back this season, giving the Highlanders arguably the best midfield in the state.

Besides the loaded midfield, Highlands also returns two All- Bergen first-team players in senior defender Jackie Reyneke and sophomore forward Hana Kerner, and another second-teamer in goalkeeper Brooke Holle. The Highlanders placed eight players on first or second team, but only two graduated.

Reyneke may have been the most dangerous weapon in Bergen County. Her gravity-defying long throw-ins usually resulted in a goal a game and caused chaos in front of the goal. …

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