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Fuccello paces UPenn soccer team – Brick Township Bulletin
November 1, 2007

Jessica Fuccello paces UPenn soccer team

Former Brick Memorial star has 10 goals so far for Quakers this season

Brick Township Bulletin
November 1, 2007

Jessica Fuccello yearns for the chance to play in the postseason for the University of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team, as she did as the second all-time scorer in Brick Memorial’s history.

The Quakers (11-3-1) are off to their best start in school history, with a No. 6 regional ranking and even some votes for the national poll, and their 4-1 Ivy League record puts them in a tie for first with Princeton, whom they play host to on Saturday. Penn is 7-1 at home and a victory can clinch a tie for the Ivy League title. After that is a road game at Harvard to close out the schedule. Sweeping those two games would give the Quakers the title outright.

“It’s in our own hands,” said Fuccello, since the champion of the Ivy League gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Fuccello knows about postseason excitement, having played on Brick Memorial teams that won three straight NJSIAA Group IV championships and a Shore Conference Tournament title in her senior season.

And Fuccello has done her part with 10 goals this season, one more than last year, on just 31 shots on goal. She has four assists. Her five-game scoring streak was stopped on Saturday in a 1-0 double-overtime loss to Brown, the goal coming with 18 seconds left, snapping Penn’s six-game winning streak.

“I’m doing well, but it’s more of a team thing with the way we’re passing the ball into the box,” said Fuccello, who moved into sole possession of the No. 7 spot on the school’s all-time goal-scoring list in only her sophomore season. “I’m trying to put an end to everything I get.”

Fuccello, who also played over the summer for Jersey Shore Boca’s Under 23 women’s team that reached the Mid-Atlantic Showcase League Champions Cup finals and on the Player Development Academy team that got to the region finals before losing to Virginia, credits her off-season work in those hot summer months.

“I worked with trainers who improved my speed and strength,” said Fuccello. “I’m more of a blue-collar player. I like to work hard, and now I’m working more on turning on the ball against a defender rather than playing with my back to her.”

Fuccello’s efforts have gotten notice around the league. She was named in late October the Ivy League Player of the Week for the second time this season (the other time on Sept. 4) after scoring a goal and assisting the other in a 2-1 victory over Yale. She scored all 10 of her goals in the five-game stretch leading up to the Brown loss.

But Fuccello is not surprised about the team’s season.

“I was expecting good things,” she said. “It was a very good experience for me coming from [Brick] Memorial for having a winning season like this. We definitely could win the Ivy League.”

Penn last won the league in 2001.

“We had a young team with no seniors last year, and it was a learning experience, and this year we have more team chemistry,” Fuccello said.

Fuccello is not the only player out of the Boca program from Brick to be enjoying success on the collegiate level.

Lock Haven goalkeeper Emily Wagner out of Brick Township has a school record 307 career saves, and her 15 saves in 1-0 victories over Clarion and Shippensburg, the latter in double overtime, earned her the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division Player of the Week award. Wagner has four shutouts.

Also, Megan Kielt of Brick Township helped Georgian Court to a 1-0 doubleovertime victory over Dominican for a school record 12th victory and its highest number of victories – eight – since it joined the Central Athletic Collegiate Conference.

Brick Township Bulletin
November 1, 2007