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Nov 15, 2019

Brookdale Women’s Soccer Ranked No. 6 Nationally After Strong Season

By Tim Morris

Brookdale Community College’s Jenna Karabin helped the Jersey Blues capture another Region 19 championship this fall. She was among the leading goal scorers in the nation.

Right from the start of the season, the Brookdale Community College’s women’s soccer team impressed Head Coach Katie Amundson.

“They had that strong work ethic,” Amundson said. “I challenged them right from the beginning, and I was pleased by what I saw.”

Throughout the season, the Jersey Blues continued to impress. They marched through the Garden State Athletic Association schedule undefeated and were ranked No. 6 in the country among Division III teams in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s poll. The Blues earned the top seed for the Region 19 North Atlantic A District tournament and played to that seed capturing the championship on Nov. 1 with a 2-0 win over tournament host Ocean County College in Toms River.

Jenna Karabin (Wall) started the scoring off in the12th minute converting a feed from Jada Trotter (St. John Vianney).

Rebecca Gorenstein (Marlboro) added the insurance goal in the 42nd minute.

The defense, led by Dayna Van Pelt (Manasquan), held OCC to just two shots on goal.

Goalies Rebecka Trumble (Middletown, Home School) and Noelle Gibbons (Middletown North) shared the shutout.

Karabin was the named the Offensive Most Valuable Player and Van Pelt earned the title of Defensive MVP of the tournament.

Brookdale opened the region championship with a resounding 11-0 win over Lehigh Carbon in the semifinal. Karabin scored four goals in the romp, and Gorenstein added two. In all, seven Blues scored a goal.

Brookdale Community College’s Nicole Puzo takes control of the ball during a regular season match. The Jersey Blues had another spectacular season, winning the Garden State Athletic Conference and Region 19 championships.

By winning their second straight Region 19 crown, the Blues returned to the NJCAA Division III National Tournament. They were seeking a fourth national title there.

The Blues improved to 12-1-1 on the season including 8-0 against Region competition after their tournament victory.

“It’s been a fun season,” said Amundson.

Amundson pointed to two things Brookdale has done well all season; one is playing Brookdale soccer and the other is playing a full 90 minutes or more if needed with no drop-off in intensity.

The Brookdale way on the pitch is finding feet, connecting passes and defense.

“Possession is our game,” Amundson explained.

Midfielders like Emma Kuper (Manasquan), Alexa Hansen (Central) and Kalie Benko (Matawan) have been controlling play, winning the 50/50s to maintain possession and using the entire field when they make their forward advances.

Up front, Brookdale has two of the nation’s best finishers in Trotta and Karabin. The speedy forwards rank among the top 20 goal-scorers in the country. Trotta has 22 goals and three assists, while Karabin 19 has a team-high 11 assists.

“They are able to take control up top,” Amundson said of her dynamic forwards.

Gorenstein (eight) and Emily Clayton (six) are Brookdale’s other top goal-scorers. Hansen and Kuper are tied for second in assists behind Karabin with seven. Hansen has also knocked in five goals.

Brookdale is averaging fewer than six goals a game (82 in 14 matches).

Van Pelt, Gorenstein and Alyssa Corrado (Howell) are the mainstays on the Blues’ backline. Clayton (Wall) has been outstanding in transitioning from defense to offense.

Trumble (0.83) and Gibbon (0.86) are both ranked in the top 20 in goals against average. Overall, the Blues have eight shutouts.

What started as a possible concern for the season, heavy graduation and influx of a predominance of freshmen, has turned into a strength. The freshmen quickly proved they could be contributors providing Brookdale with an unusually deep squad.

“Our players have pretty equal abilities,” said Amundson, who added there is no drop-off in talent when she substitutes. “We have a lot of talent on the field.”

Maybe the Blues have enough talent to win a national championship.