Union boys’ soccer sparked by returning starters Idrovo, Cunha; Farmers open Sept. 8 at home vs. Elizabeth

PHOTO BY STEVEN ELLMORE - The Union boys' soccer team competes in the Watchung Division of the Union County Conference.
PHOTO BY STEVEN ELLMORE – The Union boys’ soccer team competes in the Watchung Division of the Union County Conference.
PHOTO BY STEVEN ELLMORE - Union is sparked by returning starter, senior forward Ruben Cunha (No. 14).
PHOTO BY STEVEN ELLMORE – Union is sparked by returning starter, senior forward Ruben Cunha (No. 14).
PHOTO BY STEVEN ELLMORE - The ball is in between Michael Reis (No. 16) and Matthew Rocha (No. 15).
PHOTO BY STEVEN ELLMORE – The ball is in between Michael Reis (No. 16) and Matthew Rocha (No. 15).

Since taking over as head coach in 2008 this has been the biggest turnover Union boys’ soccer coach Lester Lembryk has been faced with.
Gone are nine of 11 starters from last year’s 2015 squad that produced a winning season of 11-8-1.
“We’re not so young, but inexperienced on the varsity level,” said Lembryk, who in 2011 guided Union to its eighth Union County Tournament championship game.
“This is definitely a transition period, but we’re getting better and the kids are working real hard.”
Union was a very tough out last year in both the Union County Tournament and the North 2, Group 4 playoffs. The Farmers were edged at home by Elizabeth 3-2 in single overtime in the UCT quarterfinals and were then defeated by the Minutemen again 1-0 in Elizabeth in a N2, G4 quarterfinal.
Union, which was 0-3 against Elizabeth last year including a 5-1 regular season loss at Elizabeth, opens its season Sept. 8 at home against the Minutemen.
The regular season loss to Elizabeth snapped a season-high four-game winning streak that saw the Farmers shut out all four opponents.
Union’s final regular season shutout win was a 1-0 decision at home over Linden during Seniors Night at Cooke Memorial Field.
Union’s final shutout victory was a 2-0 triumph at East Orange in a first round N2, G4 encounter.
This season’s returning starters are senior midfielder Marco Idrovo and senior forward Ruben Cunha.
“Marco is one of our go-to guys in the middle,” Lembryk said of his only three-year starter. “He’ll be surrounded by first-year players.
“We’ll modify our lineup as the season goes and based on the opponent that day. We’ll play a little 4-2-3-1 to get a lot of support in the midfield to help Marco.”
Cunha is in his second season as a varsity starter.
“Ruben is a valuable asset on both sides of the ball (offense and defense),” Lembryk said. “He has a very keen sense of where the goal is and is also a go-to guy for us.”
Most of Union’s home games will be played at Volunteer Park, which is located off Stanley Terrace. That’s where Union will open Sept. 8 vs. Elizabeth, with the match scheduled for a 4 p.m. kickoff.
The Union County Conference’s Watchung Division remains the same for 2016, with Union, Elizabeth, Westfield, Plainfield and Scotch Plains once again situated in it. Scotch Plains won the division last year.
Scotch Plains also won the UCT again last year, which was for the fifth time in a row and for the 19th time overall, both records.
Union is scheduled to play at Scotch Plains Sept. 17 and then host the Raiders Oct. 11 at Volunteer Park.

UNION FARMERS 2016 ROSTER:
GOALKEEPERS (2):
Manny Melendez, sophomore
Antonio Carvalho, junior
DEFENDERS (6):
Joe Novoa, senior
Mike Cano, junior
David Fonseca, senior
Kyle Pereira, sophomore
Johnson Onanoga, senior
Brandon Gill, senior
MIDFIELDERS (6):
Marco Idrovo, senior
Andre Vieira, sophomore
Josh Volpe, sophomore
Matthew Rocha, sophomore
Mike Reiss, junior
Ebenezer Boah, sophomore
FORWARDS (6):
Ruben Cunha, senior
Chinemeren Agomoh, senior
Tyshaun Harpaul, senior
Anthony Paltan, senior
Mike Valenzi, sophomore
Gabrial Silveira, senior
Head coach: Lester Lembryk

UNION COUNTY CONFERENCE
ALIGNMENT FOR 2016:
WATCHUNG DIVISION (5 schools)
Union
Elizabeth
Westfield
Plainfield
Scotch Plains
MOUNTAIN DIVISION (5 schools)
Summit
Linden
Cranford
Governor Livingston
Johnson
VALLEY DIVISION (5 schools)
New Providence
Rahway
Brearley
Oratory Prep
Dayton
SKY DIVISION (5 schools)
Roselle Park
Roselle
Union Catholic
Hillside
Roselle Park

UNION 2016 SCHEDULE:
Sept. 8 Elizabeth, 4 p.m.
At Volunteer Park
Sept. 13 at Plainfield, 4 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Westfield, 4 p.m.
Sept. 17 at Scotch Plains, 3 p.m.
Sept. 20 Summit, 4 p.m.
At Volunteer Park
Sept. 22 Cranford, 4 p.m.
At Volunteer Park
Sept. 24 at Gov. Livingston, noon
Sept. 27 at New Brunswick, 3:45 p.m.
Sept. 27 at Elizabeth, 6:45 p.m.
Oct. 4 Plainfield, 4 p.m.
At Volunteer Park
Oct. 6 Westfield, 4 p.m.
At Volunteer Park
Oct. 11 Scotch Plains, 4 p.m.
At Volunteer Park
Oct. 18 Union Catholic, 4 p.m.
At Volunteer Park
Oct. 20 at Johnson, 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 at Nutley, 4 p.m.

UCT BOYS’ SOCCER
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SCORES
1966-2015:
1966: Edison Tech 2, Westfield 1
1967: Union 2, Westfield 1
1968: Edison Tech 1, Pingry 0
1969: Scotch Plains 2, Johnson 1
1970: Pingry 0, Scotch Plains 0 – co-champs
1971: Gov. Livingston 1, Pingry 0
1972: Gov. Livingston 1, Johnson 0
1973: Gov. Livingston 1, Edison Tech 0
1974: Pingry 1, Westfield 0
1975: Pingry 1, Johnson 0
1976: Summit 1, Pingry 1 – co-champs
1977: Pingry 2, Scotch Plains 0
1978: Union 2, Linden 0
1979: Gov. Livingston 3, Westfield 2
1980: Summit 2, Westfield 2 – co-champs
1981: Westfield 3, Summit 1
1982: Westfield 8, Scotch Plains 0
1983: Pingry 2, Westfield 1
1984: Westfield 4, New Providence 1
1985: Westfield 3, Scotch Plains 2
1986: Scotch Plains 1, Westfield 0
1987: Scotch Plains 2, Westfield 1
1988: Westfield 2, Scotch Plains 1
1989: Scotch Plains 1, Westfield 0 (shootout)
1990: Union 3, Elizabeth 0
1991: Westfield 1, Cranford 0
1992: Scotch Plains 2, Westfield 1
1993: Westfield 2, Scotch Plains 1
1994: Gov. Livingston 2, Westfield 1
1995: Johnson 2, Union 1
1996: Westfield 1, Rahway 0
1997: Scotch Plains 3, Elizabeth 0
1998: Scotch Plains 2, Cranford 0
1999: Union 2, Scotch Plains 0
2000: Scotch Plains 2, Johnson 0
2001: Scotch Plains 1, Johnson 0
2002: Scotch Plains 1, Cranford 0
2003: Linden 1, Scotch Plains 0
2004: Scotch Plains 1, Union 0
2005: Elizabeth 4, Scotch Plains 3
2006: Scotch Plains 4, Union 2
2007: Scotch Plains 4, Elizabeth 0
2008: Elizabeth 1, Summit 0
2009: Cranford 1, Westfield 0
2010: Westfield 2, Scotch Plains 1 (OT)
2011: Scotch Plains 1, Union 0
2012: Scotch Plains 5, Gov. Livingston 2
2013: Scotch Plains 4, Elizabeth 2
2014: Scotch Plains 2, Westfield 1
2015: Scotch Plains 1, Elizabeth 0 (OT)

UCT CHAMPIONSHIPS
1966-2015:
Scotch Plains 19 (1 shared)
Westfield 10 (1 shared)
Pingry 6 (2 shared)
Gov. Livingston 5
Union 4
Edison Tech 2
Summit 2 (both shared)
Elizabeth 2
Johnson 1
Linden 1
Cranford 1

UCT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
APPEARANCES
1966-2015:
Scotch Plains 28
Westfield 22
Elizabeth 10 (includes Edison Tech 3)
Pingry 8
Union 8
Gov. Livingston 6
Johnson 6
Summit 4
Cranford 4
Linden 2

COMMENTS