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Oct 01, 2021

Brookdale Women’s Soccer Program Expected to be Dominant as Usual

By Tim Morris

Photo courtesy of Brookdale Community College Athletics. Brookdale Community College’s new women’s soccer coach, Nil Onder, is a former player who served as the program’s assistant coach before taking over this year for Katie Amundson who remains the college’s athletic director.

Brookdale Community College’s new women’s soccer coach is well aware of what is expected of the team and its reputation.

Nil Onder, who has replaced Katie Amundson as head coach, is both an ex-Jersey Blue player herself and assistant coach.

“Every season making the national tournament is always our goal,” said Onder. “We were always carrying that expectation. Teams always gang up on BCC.”

Teams have ganged up on Brookdale’s women because year in and year out, they are one of the country’s best teams. They have three national championships (2013-15) along with seven Region XIX titles and 11 Garden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) crowns on their resumé. It’s not just the expectations that Onder is up against; she is replacing a national championship coach.

“I have big feet to fill,” she said, adding that her goal was to continue Brookdale’s championship tradition started by Amundson. Amundson is now the college’s athletic director. 

Onder was a midfielder for the Blues in 2008-09, winning a GSAC championship. She joined Amundson’s staff as a volunteer in 2014 and was part of the team that won the 2014 and 2015 national championships. She became the assistant in 2016 and took over as the head coach this spring when the Blues played an abbreviated schedule. Having been Amundson’s assistant, Onder was familiar with the Brookdale players and they with her. Not much was going to change.

“It was an easy transition,” she noted.

Although nothing was on the line for the Blues this past spring, Onder was able to get her first look at the team.

“It was great to see the girls out there outside playing soccer,” the coach noted.

Brookdale’s women began the season in a familiar position, ranked No. 9 in the nation among Division III junior colleges. Onder believes the Blues have the talent to back up that ranking.

“We have a solid, well-balanced team,” she remarked. “We have a great mix of veterans and freshmen. We’re well rounded. We can score and defend.”

The Blues have a number of versatile players who can play more than one position like sophomores Alexa Hansen (Central Regional, MF/F) and Kayln Melando (Pt. Pleasant Boro, MF/D). The other multi-position players are freshmen Paige Coulahan (Howell, MF/D), Taylor Pagano (Howell, F/MF), Lianna Quezda (Old Bridge, MF), Milena Alves (Long Branch, (MF/D) and Agustina Castano (Keyport, F/MF). Carlie Ferraro (Shore Regional), a freshman, heads up the forward line. Kailie Benko (Matawan), a sophomore, brings experience to midfield. Sophomores Emily Clayton (Wall) and Hailey Kret (Raritan) are veterans in the backfield joined by freshmen Eliza Ford (Shore Regional) and Jaimieline Rosal (Neptune). The goalie is freshman Emma Bennett (Middletown South).

In addition to just being able to play meaningful games again this fall, the Blues have something else to look forward to: their newly sodded home pitch.

“The girls can’t wait to play on their brand new field,” said Onder.

It may be a new pitch, but it seems like it’s the same old talented Blues who will be playing on it.