Soccer Season Reflects Long History of Success

The Seton Hall Prep soccer team has been a mainstay in New Jersey since 1974. Starting in 1974, teams under Coach Peter Butler enjoyed early success in North Jersey. In 1986, current head coach Marty Berman took over the mantle; his impact was immediately felt during the 1980s and 1990s. The opening of the soccer field at the KAC in 2001 only aided The Prep’s success. There began an incredible run of success that continued to this year. The soccer program at The Prep has seen many of its players go on to play at Division I schools, some of which include Brown, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Villanova, UNC, and West Point.

The success of the Pirates was evident in the 2022 fall season. The team was led by captains Peter Batanjany ’23, Joaquin Niehenke ’23, and Alex Oladipo ’23. Among the leading goal scorers were Eddie Krupski ’24(21) and Niehenke (11), while Karan Chauhan ’23 led in assists (10). With a record of 16-2, the Pirates were among the favorites to win the NJSIAA tournament. On November 2, the Pirates got the tough 1-0 win against Don Bosco in the North Jersey Quarterfinals. Later on November 5, Dwight-Englewood stood no chance for the ship in the North Jersey Semifinals. The Pirates defeated the Bulldogs 6-0. On November 9 the Pirates battled against Bergen Catholic in the NJSIAA North Jersey Non-Public A Finals. The Pirates prevailed in a tough fight, defeating the Crusaders 5-3. The entire season of hard-fought games culminated in the NJSIAA Non-Public A Finals for the state championship. Unfortunately, the No. 1 Pirates suffered a 1-0 loss against No. 2 Christian Brothers Academy Colts on November 12.

Despite the championship loss, this year’s team saw incredible success. Coach Berman could not have been prouder of this year’s group. He had many thoughts surrounding the team’s success this year. Rather than being upset at the loss to CBA (he did feel bad for the tears shed by the players), he was proud of the immense effort and grit portrayed by the team. It was a microcosm of the entire season, Coach Berman added. In the end, CBA simply got the goal they needed while SHP did not. To Coach Berman, the season was an incredible achievement considering 20 out of the 30 players from last year’s team graduated. The group’s work ethic and success were showcased in the 19-3 record, wins in the Super Essex Conference, American Division, Essex County Tournament, and the North Jersey Non-Public A championship. All of these feats were accomplished under the pressure of being ranked No. 1 all year and injuries.

In the end, the entire coaching staff felt immense pride and satisfaction with the team this year. Coach Berman then discussed the high points of the season. The team finished their conference schedule undefeated, which included a dramatic win against Columbia 3-2. In that game, the Pirates scored 2 goals in the final 1:30 of the match and scored the winning goal 46 seconds into overtime. Other major wins included a 3-2 victory at West Orange, two 2-1 defeats of Newark East Side, and a 5-3 defeat of Bergan Catholic in front of 1,000 fans at the KAC. Coach Berman added that there is no better experience than singing the alma mater with Pirate Nation after a game like that. Coach Berman also had some thoughts regarding the future of the program. Star players such as Eddie Krupski ’24, Wil Bauer ’24, Lucas Mendes ’25, and Whye Li Ong ’24will return next season. There will also be other key players who will be stepping into starting roles. Regardless, Coach Berman anticipates another successful year for the Pirates.

Lastly, I asked Coach Berman about the highlights of his career as a coach. His accolades are numerous; they include four state titles, nationally ranked teams, and many county/conference championships. Ultimately, Coach Berman is thankful to be been able to coach (and teach) many outstanding young men at The Prep.