PITMAN–After enjoying the greatest regular season in school history, five standout members of the New Jersey City University women’s soccer team have reaped the rewards for the team’s success, earning All-New Jersey Athletic Conference accolades.
Junior forward Julia Caseres (Union) and junior sweeper Jennifer Albuja (Union City/Hoboken) earned All-NJAC honors for the third time in their three-year careers. Sophomore forward Ashley Cunha (Edison) and junior center midfielder Katlin Vargo (Edison /Union Catholic) collected All-NJAC honors for the second year in a row and junior transfer goalkeeper Laura Robinson (Edison) claimed her first All-NJAC distinction. Caseres was named Second-Team All-NJAC while Albuja, Cunha, Robinson and Vargo received Honorable Mention All-NJAC nods.
The five All-NJAC recipients ties a single-season school record and is the most since the 2006 squad had five All-NJAC players.
Caseres, the all-time leading scorer—goals (78) and points (187)—among men’s and women’s players in the history of the NJAC, earned Second-Team All-NJAC distinction for the second consecutive season after earning Honorable Mention All-NJAC honors as a freshman in 2008 when she played at Rutgers-Newark. Caseres has 56 goals and 23 assists for 145 points in 44 games over two years as a Gothic Knight, and owns the career school record with 13 game-winning goals. She is second in school history in career assists—three shy of that record.
Caseres currently ranks No. 2 in Division III out of thousands of players in total points (62) and fifth nationally in total goals (26). She leads the NJAC in goals, goals per game (1.18), game-winning goals (7), game-winning goals per game (0.32), points, shots (117), and shots per game (5.32). Additionally, she is second in the league in assists (10) and points per game (2.82), and third in assists per game (0.45).
“To be All-NJAC for the third year in a row is a wonderful feeling and it is all thanks to my team,” Caseres said of the honor. “My personal success is only as good as my team’s success.”
Albuja, the 2007 NJAC Rookie of the Year, earns All-NJAC honors despite missing the 2009 season. After earning First-Team All-Conference accolades as a freshman and Honorable Mention status in 2008—both years as a forward—she claimed 2010 All-NJAC accolades as a back.
“Since freshman year I looked forward to accomplishing a lot whether it was as an individual or as a team,” said Albuja. “I’ve been granted several awards since then and our team has improved every year. The team’s accomplishments this year, being in the NJAC playoffs—well, that’s history for you. We aren’t looked at as an easy win any longer but rather as the team to not sleep on. I already cannot wait to continue making history next season since it’s my last [senior year].”
Cunha played 21 games at forward with 20 starts—only missing the ECAC Quarterfinals due to injury. She netted 11 goals and seven assists for 29 points. Cunha ranked second on the team in goals, points, shots (90), shots on goal (32), game-winning goals (3) and hat tricks (1), and was third in assists and first goals (2). She logged 1,453 minutes of action.
In the NJAC, Cunha ranked third in shots, tied for fifth in goals and assists, sixth in points and points per game (1.38), tied for sixth in game-winning goals, eighth in assists per game (0.33), and ninth in goals per game (0.52). In league action, she was tied for fifth in shots and shots per game (3.56) and tied for 21st in assists and tied for 30th in assists per game (0.11).
Cunha, who in two seasons is already fourth in school history in goals (31) and points (80), and has 18 assists, said: “Being named All-NJAC for the second year in a row is great, but I wouldn’t have been it if it wasn’t for my team—my other family. We as a team have grown a lot since I have been here and I can’t wait till next season! We will not give up and we will reach our goals like we did this year.”
Vargo earned Honorable Mention All-NJAC for the second season in a row as a midfielder, but in a different capacity. As a sophomore transfer in 2009, she played an offensive role, scoring 14 goals and adding 11 assists for 39 points. This season, the Gothic Knight tri-captain filled a defensive midfielder role, often sliding back to log time as the club’s stopper. Vargo still collected four assists—fifth most on the team—and scored one goal, for six points, while uncorking 43 shots (17 on goal).
Vargo started all 22 games and was fourth overall with 1,758 minutes of action. In 44 career games for NJCU, Vargo is responsible for 15 goals and 15 assists for 45 points.
Among NJAC players, she ranked tied for 14th in assists, tied for 20th in assists per game (0.18), 19th in shots and 22nd in shots per game (1.95).
“I am really happy about the new things we have accomplished this season and we showed a lot of promise by achieving these bigger goals,” Vargo said. “I was really surprised and excited about being awarded [All-NJAC] again this year. I played a much different role on the team this year than I did last year. This year I played more time at defense and wasn’t a big goal scorer but I’m glad I still had a positive impact on the field.”
Robinson made an immediate impact on the program after transferring from Middlesex County College. The NJAC and ECAC Metro/Upstate Defensive Player of the Week on November 1, Robinson posted a 13-7-1 record with 21 starts in net. She registered a 1.51 goals against average and made an NJAC-leading 112 saves while recording five shutouts. She faced 271 shots in 1783:42 and allowed just 30 goals for a .789 save percentage.
Robinson set a single-game school record for saves in a victory when she smothered 16 shots in a win over Montclair State on October 16, and achieved double figures in saves four times.
On October 17, she made national headlines when her remarkable stop of a penalty kick and crossbar rebound from the Montclair State game appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter, and was selected as the #8 Play of the Day during the “Top Plays” segment of the broadcast.
“I think we did amazing this season,” Robinson summarized. “Even though we didn’t beat the all the teams we should have and we had our downs, we honestly had more than enough ups. We showed many teams that this isn’t the same program it was years ago. And it feels awesome to be [selected] All-NJAC.”
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