At LVRHS, soccer captains are scholar-athletes

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  • From left, Matt Smith, Juan Lopez and Luke Chozick

By Josh Lashley

— It’s always refreshing and yes encouraging to witness young athletes who not only compete steadfastly on the playing field, with integrity and determination, but take those same qualities into the classroom as well.

Over the years, the Lenape Valley High School boy’s soccer program has been rife with student-athletes who fit that description and this season is no exception, led by a trio of team captains Luke Chozick, Juan Lopez and Matt Smith, all of whom are members of the junior class.

“I think I have been selected captain because I am a vocal leader on the field and get along with most, if not all, people on the team,’’ Lopez said. “I have improved on my defensive ability greatly since I was an attack minded player. My first touch has improved as well along with chemistry with the rest of the team.

“Some academic achievements I have earned are getting High Honors almost every marking period the past two years, maintaining a GPA higher than 4.0, getting into the Spanish Honors Society and having Honors and AP classes.’’

Smith is working toward becoming a better all-around goal keeper.

“I think I've been selected as a captain since the beginning of practice because I am a good role model and since I am a team player,’’ Smith said “I have improved on my goal kicks and I am still working on getting better with communication. I have been on either High Honor Roll or Honor Roll every marking period of my high school career. I help my teammates improve by giving them positive and negative feedback so they can improve their game to make us a better team.’’

Like his fellow captains, Chozick is aiming to be a more well-rounded soccer player, while also keeping a close eye on his studies.

“I was selected as a captain because I] do well in school, know the game, spend a lot of time trying to improve, have experience at the varsity level and get along with teammates well,’’ Chozick said. “I have improved in organizing the back line, in decision making and the air game and winning headers. I get all A’s and B’s in high level courses, I’m a Scholar-Athlete and made the All-Academic Team last year and am a member of the Spanish Honors Society.’’

The Patriots compete in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference Freedom Division along with Newton, Vernon, Hackettstown and High Point. They are scheduled to face Wallkill Valley in a road game on October 26.

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