No. 17 Hawthorne
Last year’s record: 16-3-1
Final ranking: No. 21
Marquee game: Sept. 10 at Pompton Lakes
Best assets: Scoring punch up front and a veteran presence solidifying the middle will bolster Hawthorne under coach Jim Clementi and volunteer assistant Ryan McMann. Returning for his senior year is forward Brandon Cruz, the team’s leading scorer last fall with 25 goals, as well as junior midfielder Tony Minimi (six goals, team-high 16 assists). Also back for the Bears are starting seniors Calvin Graham at stopper and Jake Grootenboer at sweeper, who anchored a defense that allowed just one goal per game. These are the veterans who will help Hawthorne take one step further in the North 1, Group 2 tournament after being eliminated by Kinnelon in the second round last season.
Biggest concerns: The contributions of Cruz aside, Hawthorne graduated one-third of its offensive output, including Jason McKeown (eight goals), Jimmy Soder (seven goals) and David Peralta (five goals, four assists). McKeown also will be missed on defense. “We have very talented guys coming up from JV, but we will need one or more of those guys to step forward right away,” McMann said.
— Rich Bevensee
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