Haddon Heights Boys' Soccer Ready to Compete in Colonial Liberty

by Marc Narducci | Sep 8, 2020
Haddon Heights Boys' Soccer Ready to Compete in Colonial Liberty
Even with a season delayed due to the pandemic, Jeff Eppright remains as enthusiastic as ever for another boys’ soccer season at Haddon Heights.
Eppright played for the Garnets and is entering his 33rd season as head coach of one of the signature programs in South Jersey. 
The Garnets, among the smallest enrollment schools in Group 2, don’t always have depth, but have earned a reputation of playing as hard as any team in South Jersey. 
Last season injuries decimated the Garnets who finished 8-10-3 and also had Eppright earn a milestone win. 
With a late-season 3-2 victory over Audubon, Eppright earned career victory No. 400. He enters this season 400-197-59. 
With nine starters returning, there is optimism that the Garnets will assume their position as contenders in a typically loaded Colonial Conference Liberty Division that includes the likes of defending champion Haddonfield, Sterling and West Deptford. In addition, Haddon Township, a perennial contender for a South Jersey title, has moved to the Liberty along with Audubon. 
The teams in the Liberty play each other twice and it ensures that there are easy division games. 
Heights has an experienced team, with three senior captains and two junior captains The seniors are Andrew Bayna, Shane Daly and Julian Elamri and the juniors are Alex Fischer and Aidan Van Istendial. 
Elamri is a forward-midfielder who had a goal and three assists last year. Bayna added three goals and an assist. 
Daly is the true definition of versatility. He has played every position, forward, midfield, back and keeper. He had two goals last season and also prevented his share. Due to injuries he had to play keeper and was 4-4-2 with six shutouts and 73 saves. 
Fisher is a midfielder-defender who Eppright calls the Garnets’ “most technical player. He was a first-team all-Colonial performer with three goals and three assists.
Van Istendial is a third-year starter on defense. 
Other returning veterans are juniors Tyler Griffith, Evan Ciavarelli, Joey Adams, Dylan Connor and Stephen Cammarota alongwith seniors Aidan Conaghan, Aidan Mazzucocco, Matt Engel and Brent Ebner.
Adams will be the starting keeper this season. He suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the second game of last season.
“Joey reads the game well,” said Eppright. “He has great positioning, is aggressive and had good decision making.”
 Having him return allows Daly to return as a field player, making the Garnets stronger in two areas. 
The Garnets should be strong defensively with such a veteran group, but the key will be finding a finisher, something virtually all teams are looking for on an annual basis. 
“I think we will score by committee,” Eppright said. “We could be having a different type of system where we attack more, throw more numbers forward and hopefully it will build up the attack and create chances.”
Without a proven dominant scorer, this is the route to go, one that many other teams will also use. Still, the Garnets will battle until the final whistle. It’s been a trait even before Eppright took over, and has been carried out under him.

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Nobody will be picking the Garnets to win the division, but there won’t be many who are overjoyed when they have to face them in this year’s South Jersey Group 2 playoffs.

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Author: Marc Narducci


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