Audubon Green Wave Soccer: 2022 Season Recap


Dan Wilkins, Writer

The Audubon Green Wave boys’ soccer team wrapped up their 2022 fall campaign with their first over .500% season since 2014, finishing 14-6 with a 9-1 record in Colonial Conference divisional matches. This is a stark contrast to 2021, where the Wave finished 10-11-1 without a single win in divisional matches. A big difference between 2021 and 2022 is that Audubon switched divisions in the Colonial Conference, going from the Group II side (Liberty div.) to the Group I side (Patriot div.). Instead of having to face larger schools twice like West Deptford, Sterling, and Haddon Heights twice a year, Audubon was able to play the smaller schools more, like Lindenwold, Gateway, and Woodbury.

However, the divisional switch wasn’t the only reason behind Audubon’s successes. The Wiltsey brothers, pride & excellence award winner Hayden (senior) and Tyler (sophomore) combined to score 33 goals, which accounted for 51% of Audubon’s total goals. Tyler scored 18 goals, Hayden scored 15, and both were Audubon’s top scorers. With Audubon having a trio of top scorers, Hayden Wiltsey, Tyler Wiltsey and senior Kaine Ugonna-Ufere, and a solid defense including Tony Giordano, Terry Herron, Blaise LaFrance, Ben Cameron,  Jason Stocklin, and RJ Homa, the Green Wave secured the Group 1 Colonial Conference Patriot Division Championship title.  

Audubon started the season 3-0, opening with an overtime win over Woodbury, a decisive victory against Paulsboro on the road, and then a close win over Lindenwold. The Wave’s first loss came at Gateway with a 4-2 defeat that would lead the Wave on a stretch of 2 wins, 2 losses, 2 wins, 2 losses back-and-forth.  Audubon hit a small snag in the middle of the season during the stretch where they played the Group II schools losing their matches versus Haddon Heights, eventual State champions Haddon Township, Sterling, and West Deptford. However, this was not without a valiant effort. An awkwardly-placed goal in overtime for the Garnets ended the match versus Haddon Heights, and Audubon’s loss in a muddy match against Sterling was only a 3-1 defeat. Audubon did well in non-conference games winning all three of their matches versus Woodstown, Camden Catholic under the lights, and Maple Shade to close the regular season. 

The Green Wave closed the regular season with an electric streak, going on a 6-game winning streak with no goals allowed. Trent Bantle, the sophomore midfielder who was transitioned into the goalie position mid-season, went on an incredible run with seven straight shutouts including Audubon’s opening playoff game versus Pennsville.

In the playoffs, Audubon was slotted in the #7 seed in the South Jersey Group I playoff tournament. They were matched with the Pennsville Eagles, the #10 seed, and defeated them 3-0 including a rare bicycle kick from senior Kaine Ugonna-Ufere. However, after the joy of winning a playoff match, Audubon was faced with a much tougher opponent in Glassboro.

Audubon’s quarterfinal match versus the Glassboro Bulldogs was one of attrition, which ended in a 2-1 Glassboro victory after penalty kicks. After a scoreless first half, both Audubon and Glassboro scored one each in the second half, which led to two overtime periods passing without a winner. The match then progressed to penalty kicks, which Glassboro dominated, scoring three straight goals while Audubon scored none, ending their season. The pitch was swarmed with celebrating Bulldog fans, while Audubon players, especially those playing for the final time for the green and gold, were overcome with emotion, many players sobbing at the fact that their season was over, and what was their best campaign in eight years has now come to a screeching halt. 

With most of Audubon’s top scorers graduating from the team this year, head coach Mike Tomasetti is once again tasked with re-arranging the roster to fill the spots left by Audubon’s seniors. Audubon is looking to ride high off of their successes in 2022 to another successful run in 2023.