By Rich Fisher | Correspondent
Through the seeds of frustration, a scoring star has blossomed at St. John Vianney.
One year after watching, waiting and wringing her hands, junior forward Jada Trotta has emerged as the girls’ soccer team’s leading scorer with 15 goals and five assists. Trotta’s efforts led SJV to a 12-1-3 regular-season record and share of the Shore Conference’s A Central title heading into its Oct. 19 SC Tournament opener with Freehold Borough.
See more photos of St. John Vianney's Oct. 10 match vs. Shore Regional, here.
In both her freshman and sophomore seasons, Trotta scored six goals. While she was OK seeing limited time in ninth grade, last year was admittedly tough.
But she hung in there.
“I was frustrated but I knew I couldn’t give up on my passion and my team,” Trotta said. “I understood that there were others who had been in the program longer and had waited their turn; but it was hard. I never stopped being there for my teammates even when I wished to be playing as much as some of my close friends. I knew my time would come after last year, and I was right.”
Was she ever.
The St. Mary, Middletown, parishioner opened the season with a goal and assist in a win over Holy Cross and has been scoring ever since. She has tallied goals in nine games, including four multi-goal games, and produced points in 11.
According to Coach Ted Ritter, the main reason for Jada’s limited time last year was not due to age, but a case of unselfishness.
“I talked about not letting the game float around her and she had to kind of make the game happen,” Ritter said. “Jada is a very talented player but sometimes doesn’t get the ball at her feet enough, and she doesn’t keep the ball enough. She’s very unselfish moving the ball to other people or trying to make things happen around the field, when she should be the one taking the ball and going to goal. She should be a little more selfish around the 18.
“Jada took that message and used it in a constructive way, and used it as motivation to kind of come out and make sure people knew she was the goal scorer that she knew she was.”
Trotta, a lifetime forward, would usually look for the perfect pass first, and look toward the goal second. In preseason, she challenged herself to look for the open shot first and put pressure on the goalie.
“This mindset carried into the season and continued,” she said. “I just want to help my team and this year they need me to score so I’m trying to do just that. This year, I have had a lot more opportunities. At the beginning of the season, I set a goal for myself – to score as many goals as I can. I’m happy to say that I have pretty much reached that goal, but not without the help of my teammates because without them, I wouldn’t be at where I am.”
Those teammates include Camaren Cox (10 goals, eight assists), Chloe Sherman (10 goals), Abby Cieri (seven goals, eight assists), Olivia Azulay, Hannah Vates and Riley Schykerynec (two goals, six assists), who all contribute to the offense according to Ritter.
“We are very deep with talent,” the coach said. “We’re not a top heavy team in terms of our roster.”
Trotta said she has more than just her teammates at her side, emphasizing how faith plays a big role in her athletic endeavors.
“I pray, with my teammates, before and after each game,” she said. “I feel that when I pray before and after each game, God is with me when I play.”
Trotta began playing recreation soccer at age 3 and joined the Middletown travel program at age 6. After five years, she went to NJX, moved to the Wildcats a year later and, after four years, ended up back at Middletown.
“I felt (the Wildcats program) wasn’t for me and I needed to take a little time off to see if I could find another team that I felt was right,” she said. “After about two months, I went to one of my friend’s practices which, ironically, turned out to be Middletown. I have been there since and I am enjoying every minute of it. It may not be an academy team, and we may not be the best, but I feel that this team is the right one for me.”
When she arrived at SJV, Jada brought a variety of ways to score with her. This year she has tallied on straight shots, chips, breakaways and, her specialty, head balls.
“I don’t really know how I came to be so well at headers,” Trotta said. “It’s like whenever I’m by the net, the ball is in the air. I see it coming towards me, I just think ‘You gotta head this’ because it is your best way of getting the ball in the net. I don’t really have a secret to heading the ball, I kind of just do it.”
It’s no secret that she has numerous ways of putting the ball in the back of the net. Trotta possesses a blistering shot that she can drive from far distances with pace. She can also take something off the shot when necessary.
“Especially when that ball is bouncing on the ground and the keeper’s coming out on a breakaway,” Ritter noted. “She’s done a nice of job of pooching the ball right over the keeper’s head and dropping it in. She knows when to crank it up and when to hold back, which shows her composure in the finishing third.
“She’s very creative, she has a high soccer IQ. She watches the English Premiere League. We’re both Chelsea fans. Not a lot of soccer players watch the game when they’re not playing. To be able to do that adds to the creativity you may have on the field.”
Trotta has helped create an outstanding regular season for the Lancers, which they hope will propel them into some strong tournament runs.
“My team has played very well this year,” Jada said. “With one loss going into the Shore Conference Tournament, I believe we are going to do great. We are so close as a team and we know that when we work together, nothing can stop us.”