Sussex County Community College held its annual Breakfast of Champions this past Wednesday to honor student athletes who have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. This year, over 40 student athletes were recognized at the ceremony, and each athlete invited a faculty or staff member who has had a positive impact on their academic success. The student athlete representatives this year were Brielle Hilbert from women’s basketball and Ben Armstrong from men’s soccer and baseball (pictured above).
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Poppy Bignell (Northampton, England) of the SCCC women’s soccer program has signed a National Letter of Intent to join Goldey-Beacom College next fall. Poppy was a two season starter at Sussex, playing left back and scoring 5 goals while providing 7 assists during her time as a Skylander. Bignell was named as team captain for her sophomore year, and Sussex congratulates Poppy for her achievements and for taking the next step in her collegiate soccer career.
Merrinda Hill (Mildura, Australia) has signed a National Letter of Intent to join the NCAA Division II Bloomfield Bears women’s soccer program next fall. Hill was a two year starter at Sussex as an outside midfielder, who scored 4 goals and provided 3 assists this past season. Merrinda is a NJCAA Region 19 Champion, and has played in the NJCAA Division I District E Tournament in each of her seasons at Sussex. The SCCC Athletic Department congratulates Merrinda on taking the next step in her collegiate soccer career.
The New Jersey Chapter of The National Association of Girls and Women in Sport, each year honors one female athlete from every New Jersey high school, two-year college and four- year college for excellence in the classroom, on the field and community service.
Sussex County Community College’s honoree this year is, Vernon native, Jill Pullis. Jill has been a two year starter for the Skylander Women’s Soccer program. She was a 2015 and 2016 Division I, First Team All-Region XIX and First Team All Garden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) selection. In addition, during the 2016 season Jill set the season and all-time career assist record at SCCC for women’s soccer players. Jill will be recognized with the other female athletes on Sunday January 29, 2017 at Seton Hall University.
The Sussex County Community College Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams both advanced to the NJCAA Region XIX Finals this week. The Men’s team won against Ocean County College in double overtime to to advance, while the Women’s program defeated the County College of Morris for the second time this season to book their place in the Finals for the second consecutive year. Both teams will play this Saturday, October 29th. The women will play at Mercer County Community College at 11:00 am against Harcum College, and the men will play at Synder Park in Berkeley Heights against Camden County College with the winner advancing to the NJCAA National Tournament.
The Sussex County Community College men’s and women’s soccer teams qualified for the NJCAA Region XIX postseason tournament this past week with wins over the County College of Morris and Essex County College. Boasting records of 10-4 for the men and 9-3 for the women, both teams are looking to secure home field advantage in the playoffs.
This season, the men’s team are led by Tom Parry (Hereford, England) who has scored 22 goals, ranking him 1st in the nation for Division III players. Averaging over one and a half goals per game, Parry has led the line for the Skylanders and made them one of the most potent offenses in Region XIX. Parry’s supporting cast has also been tremendous this season. A healthy mix of both local and international talent have come together to thrive in Sussex’s 4-2-3-1 system. Alejandro Patino (Newton) and Ben Armstrong (High Point Regional) have excelled in midfield alongside internationals Mario Umanzor (San Jose, Costa Rica) and Fraser Morrison (Perth, Scotland). Head coach, Frank Vernacchio believes this is arguably one of the most talented teams to come through SCCC. “The local guys and internationals really complement each other. We have a great balance of high technical skill, athletic ability, and physical presence. This is one of the most complete teams that I have had the pleasure of coaching.”
SCCC’s defense has been just as strong as their offense. With Sussex’s defense comprised of sophomores, poise and maturity are easily seen in every game they play. Newcomers Cody Bartsch (Vernon) and Euan Fraser (Perth, Australia) have adapted well to the pace of play and have become defensive stalwarts with sophomores Matt McAvoy (Adelaide, Australia) and Alex Colcheedas (Melbourne, Australia) providing cover from their flanks. “All of our defenders are playing at a high level at the moment,” states Vernacchio. “We have great competition for each position in our back four, and I can rely on every defender I have to do the job. Whether it’s Zak [Novak], Cody, or Euan playing at centerback, I know the other team won’t be able to break through our defense.”
On the women’s side, the Skylanders have won eight straight games to bring their record to 9-3 and are looking to repeat as Region XIX Champions. Scoring 57 goals and only giving up 16 this season, the women’s soccer team are both prolific and defensively solid. Gabby Sarni (Kittatinny Regional) and Jill Pullis (Vernon) have led the team offensively. Sarni, who now holds the school record for goals in a season, has scored 26, ranking her 4th in the nation for Division I players. Pullis also broke the college’s records for assists in a season and a career with a tally of 18 assists so far this season, ranking her 2nd in the nation. Head coach, Frank Vernacchio was quick to praise his attacking duo. “Gabby and Jill have been outstanding this year. It’s not often that you see the records for both goals and assists broken in the same season. Our offense has really clicked this year and everyone is playing a part. When you look at our team, we don’t have just one goal scorer who we rely on. Yes, Gabby has scored quite a bit and has played great, but our entire offense is scoring and creating chances. I think we have 10 different goal scorers this year and that really shows how well we are playing collectively.”
Sussex has dominated defensively as well this season. Returners Kirsten Maurizi (Pope John) and Poppy Bignell (Northampton, England) have helped newcomers Eden Brown (Northampton, England) and Camille Constant (Aix les Bains, France) settle in and thrive in Region XIX competition. Constant has been a goalkeeping standout and is ranked 2nd in the nation for goals against after only giving up a total of one goal in all of her games. Vernacchio adds, “The partnership of Eden and Kirsten in the back has been outstanding. Both players read the game so well, and in my opinion, are the two best centerbacks in the region, if not the nation.”
Adding more defensive presence is Brittany Todd from Wallkill Valley High School. Todd has found herself playing both center midfield as well as centerback and has impressed at both positions. “Brittany is a fantastic player,” states Vernacchio. “We rely on her as much as we do Camille, which is saying quite a bit. When she is in the midfield we are a more composed team because she can both keep possession as well as break up the other team’s attack. She has been very effective for us this year and is an underrated player for sure.”
The Region XIX Tournament starts Saturday, October 22 for both the men’s and women’s brackets. Sussex will know their opponents after the Region XIX Seeding Committee releases the tournament matchups on Wednesday October 19.
The SCCC women’s soccer team continues to roll as they bested Bergen CC 7-1 yesterday on the Skylander Soccer Field. Sussex took a 2-0 lead at halftime, but Bergen caused problems early in the second half forcing an own own goal to make it 2-1. Sussex then exploded into life by scoring 5 straight goals. Leading the way once again was Gabby Sarni (Kittatinny) with 4 goals scored, as she set the SCCC single season record. Gabby has now scored 25 goals on the season through 11 games. Congratulations Gabby! The previous single season scoring record was set by Alyssa Lewis (24 goals) back in 2009. Other Skylanders joining the scoring party were Kirsten Maurizi (Pope John), Brittany Todd (Wallkill Valley) and Brittany Campanello (Sussex Tech). Jill Pullis chipped in with 3 assists. Jill had already set the career assist record earlier this season as she continues to add to her total. Sussex will travel to Essex CC on Thursday with a record of 8-3 and a 7 game winning streak, for a key conference match up against a strong Essex team.
Constant, a freshman goalkeeper provided two shutouts against Northampton Community College and Rowan College at Burlington County to help the Skylanders go 2-0 this past week. The Aix Les Bains, France native made six saves on the week and faced six shots. Constant has yet to allow a goal and has a record of 4-0-0 this season, and Sussex CC is currently 6-3.
The SCCC women’s soccer team cruised to a 6-0 win over Montgomery CC this past Saturday. Goals were scored by Gabby Sarni (Kittatinny HS) with 4, Jill Pullis (Vernon HS), and an own goal by Montgomery off of a deflected corner. Pullis also provided 3 assists during the game. The win brings the Skylanders record to 4-3, with Gabby Sarni ranked 4th in the nation for goals scored, and Jill Pullis ranked 2nd in the nation for assists. Sussex travels to Northampton this Thursday for a 3:30 game in Bethlehem, PA.
The Sussex County Community College women’s soccer team won a hard fought battle against arch rivals CC Morris at Morris 2-0. Gabby Sarni (Kittatinny) and Jill Pullis (Vernon) notched goals and Camille Constant (France) recorded the shutout in goal in her first start as goalkeeper this season. Head coach Frank Vernacchio, commented, “This was a big win for our women’s team; not only did we even our record at 3 wins and 3 losses, but to beat our rival on their turf is a credit to our team.”