Soccer Ball

The Record Sports – Ed Mills

Does Hawthorne Christian have a realistic chance at a first-ever group championship?

The Defenders (15-3), second-seeded in North Non-Public B, won the first overall Passaic County tournament championship in school history this season, topping Wayne Valley in the final. Sparked by senior forward Rene White and senior midfielder Will Woodfin, Hawthorne Christian has a quality opportunity to at least get through its side of the bracket and reach a sectional final with top-seeded Gill St. Bernard’s (15-3).

Is Hasbrouck Heights ready for a solid performance ahead?

The Aviators (10-3-2), led by junior forward Ervin Gjeli, earned the top seed in North 1, Group 1. Other highly regarded teams in this section include seventh-seeded Waldwick (13-4), second-seeded Verona (14-4-1), sixth-seeded Park Ridge (14-5), third-seeded Wood-Ridge (11-6-1), fifth-seeded Emerson (15-4), fourth-seeded Wallington (10-4-2) and eighth-seeded Boonton (12-6-1).

Can Harrison win its 26th group state championship?

The Blue Tide earned the Group 1 state crown last season with a 4-0 victory over Haddon Township in the title game. This year, coach Mike Rusek’s Harrison team is the No. 1 seed in North 2, Group 2. Among the best players for the Blue Tide are senior forward Cristian Marquez, sophomore defender Harman Briceno and senior center-midfielder David Inahuazo.

Are North Arlington and Cristiano Neves ready to roll?

The Vikings (12-5) are second-seeded in North 2, Group 1. A junior forward, Neves is one of the top scorers in North Jersey with 27 goals and eight assists. Other contenders in this section include third-seeded Secaucus (13-7), fourth-seeded Roselle Park (10-7-1) and top-seeded Dayton Regional of Springfield (14-4-1).