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Caldwell's terrific junior goalkeeper Phoebe Bledsoe gets after the ball during game this past girls soccer season. The Lady Chief standout was key member of Caldwell's very solid squad in Super Essex Conference-American Division and also a selectione on All-SEC-American first team as chosen by the conference's coaches. (Photos by Bill Allen-NJSportAction.NET)

Caldwell's Bledsoe goes to strike the ball as she clears out of 18-yard area

Caldwell's girls soccer squad had strong leadership from its seniors, from left, front row: Kristin Pace, Sara Conahan (7), goalkeeper Katie Clarkin, Emily Cannavale (11) and Grace Conlon (2). In back: Vanessa Mannion (24), Carly Frank, Nina Ricci, Danielle Corasaniti (4), Shannon Ostrowski (9), Alexa Filion (13) and Sophia Perrothers. Lady Chiefs ended at 8-10-2.

A hustling Phoebe Bledsoe (right) will beat West Essex opponent to the ball

Standout All-SEC Goal Keeper
Led Solid Caldwell Girls Soccer
By Bill Allen

WEST CALDWELL- -Perhaps the biggest saving grace for the girls soccer squad from James Caldwell High School this season were the graceful saves made by Phoebe Bledsoe.

A junior net minder, Bledsoe recorded five shutouts and made 328 saves, while allowing just 32 tallies on the 360 shots she faced during the 8-10-2 Lady Chiefs' score of skirmishes this season, for a 1.6 goals allowed per game average.

For her efforts, Bledsoe was voted First Team All-Super Essex Conference-American Division status by that conference's coaches conclave, quite an honor for a player from a team which went just 2-8-2 in a very tough league loop.

The All-SEC-American first team was dominated by the Montclair Mounties, who won a fifth straight Essex County Tournament title with their standouts Amalya Johnson, Jillian Jennings, Sophie Foster-Palmer and Rebecca Van Siclen all among the first 15 players chosen for the exclusive squad.

Princeton-bound Tomison Kennedy along with teammates Galen Lew and goalkeeper Ryanne Ege represent Group 1 state runner-up Glen Ridge on the all-SEC-American first team.

“Phoebe kept us in game after game against some of the best teams in the state,” lauded longtime JCHS head coach Mike Teshkoyan of Bledsoe, who also plays hoops and lacrosse at Caldwell.

“I worked really hard in the off-season and the preseason and, I guess, all that work has sort of paid off,” said a modest Bledsoe. “I enjoy being in goal and watching how everything in the game flows and being able to help my teammates understand where they should be.

“It's great to be able to observe what's happening and understand what's going on.

But, you know what, I'd never be able to do what I do without having such supportive teammates and coaches.”

Bledsoe, who trains at The Sports Factory in Lincoln Park and also spends some time battling against members of the Caldwell boys booters battalion in order to hone her skills, seems to be leaning towards playing her college soccer at Marywood University in Scranton, PA.

While Bledsoe was the only Lady Chiefs player to cop First Team All-Conference kudos, two Caldwell competitors were selected for the All-SEC second string and two more were named to All-American Division Honorable Mention list.

Voted to the All-SEC-American Second Team were a pair of three-year starters: Sophia Perrothers, a senior striker who recorded five goals and two assists on the season, and Nina Ricci, a senior right back who always covered the opposing team's leading scorer.

Landing on the Honorable Mention list were Emily Cannavale, a senior central midfielder who had two goals, including the game-winner in a 4-3 overtime victory in North Caldwell over archrival West Essex, to go along with one assist on the season, and fellow 12th-grader Alexa Filion, a midfielder who notched one assist on the year.

Seeded sixth in the Essex County Tournament, the Lady Chiefs first defeated Columbia, the 11th, seed, 2-0, prior to being clawed, 4-1, by the Lady Cougars from third-seeded Montclair Kimberley Academy in the quarterfinals, with MKA going on to defeat Glen Ridge in the semis and then face Montclair High in the ECT finals fracas, where the top-seeded Lady Mounties prevailed, 4-1.

Slotted 11th in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 2 state playoffs bracket, the Lady Chiefs, unfortunately, could not have been in a worse position, as they ended up facing perennial power Whippany Park in the first round and lost, 1-0 in overtime.

The sixth-seeded Wildcats then not only went on to win the state section championship, but did so by outscoring its four opponents 11-1 along the way and the closest the Lady Wildcats came to losing was in that OT victory over Caldwell.

Interestingly, the extra session loss to WP was just one of eight OT games which the Lady Chiefs had to endure this year, playing five in a row at one point in fact.

“I think we got the most of this group of girls who displayed very good spirit and tremendous camaraderie playing in one of the best leagues in the state,” said Teshkoyan, who, working alongside his assistant coach brother, Mark, sports a 345-212-32 mark in their 31 seasons of soccer side mentoring. “The SEC-American is an amazingly physical league, our girls fought hard and we're very proud of them and also proud of the fact that we've never been dropped down to the Liberty Division.”

All-SEC-American Division 2015 Girls Soccer First Team:

Amalya Johnson, Montclair

Jillian Jennings, Montclair

Sophie Foster-Palmer, Montclair

Rebecca Van Siclen, Montclair

Tomison Kennedy, Glen Ridge

Galen Lew, Glen Ridge

Ryanne Ege, Glen Ridge

Lauren O'Neill, Millburn

Ryan Applewhite, West Essex

Phoebe Bledsoe, Caldwell

Zoe Steck, Nutley

Jenny Callaghan, Nutley

Caitlyn Sugerman, Livingston

Toni Belcuore, Livingston

Satosha Parsona, Livingston

Caldwell's Phoebe Bledsoe was one of the SEC's notable stars during this past girls soccer season as Lady Chiefs put together solid season.

Caldwell's Phoebe Bledsoe covers up ball as West Essex player dives past and Lady Chiefs teammate Francesa Sciacca (3) looks to help.

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