Allison Jones knows the pressure of the Hasbrouck Heights/Wood-Ridge girls soccer program and also the shortcomings of the program.
The new Heights head girls soccer coach graduated in 2000 from Hasbrouck Heights and was part of the success the Lady Aviators had for more than a decade when it comes down to girls soccer in the South Bergen area.
Jones takes over for Joe Mastropietro who was promoted as the new Hasbrouck Heights Middle School principal. Mastropietro, who took over for Ollie Pimm, had coached the last three years for the Aviators and won a league title each season while collecting an overall record of 52-8-5 record, one of the best marks in Bergen County.
Before coming to Heights as the head coach, Jones had been assistant coach for several different schools including a one-year stint as assistant coach to Mastropietro in Mastropietro's first season as head coach.
"I want to continue the legacy and the tradition of Hasbrouck Heights soccer," said Jones. "There is a little bit of pressure," she admitted.
Despite going from the Bergen County Scholastic League National to the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference Meadowlands, Heights continues to win league title after league title.
The Lady Aviators have won the first two NJIC Meadowlands B titles as they head into the 2012 season with a new realignment in the NJIC.
Instead of the six divisions in the NJIC, there are four divisions with the Lady Aviators/Blue Devils again in the Meadowlands with the same teams from the former B division of Saddle Brook, Immaculate Conception, St. Mary and Weehawken to go along with two schools from the former Meadowlands A division, North Arlington and Becton.
While not taking the division for granted, Jones knows that the school's success in the league has not mirrored in the state tournament.
Despite the bucket-full of victories Heights has only won one sectional title, 2008, "It is a little crazy to think in July and August that we are looking forward to the state tournament," said Jones. "That is something you talk about at the end of September, but that is what we are shooting for."
Last season was just one of the recent disappointments in the state sectional tournament. In 2011 Lady Aviators had another big season with a 16-3-1 mark and were the third seed in Group 2 North 1 but lost to the 14th-seeded Kittatinny. Jones remembers coming home and seeing the scoreboard last Halloween when the Lady Aviators were stunned by Kittatinny, 2-1.
It might have been one of the more heartbreaking state playoff games in recent history as Heights was ahead 1-0 when Kittatinny scored in the final minutes of regulation.
When she graduated in 2000 Jones did not have her home town on her mind as a head coach. "I had no idea because Ollie had been there a long time," said Jones who thought her coach would still be the Lady Aviators head coach when she jumped into the coaching job search.
But coaching was definitely on her mind after graduating from William Paterson University. "I wanted to help out the girls and to use the knowledge that I went through in my high school soccer career," said Jones. "I'm ready for the preseason to start. As a coach I have nervous energy."
For the new head coach the timing is perfect. She has a two-year-old boy and her family is all from Hasbrouck Heights. "It is perfect for me because my in-laws live in town and my parents live in town," said Jones.
After graduating from William Paterson, she was the junior varsity coach at Holy Angels for three years before having the one year stint at Heights as an assistant coach. In the same season she also did some coaching at Ramapo College. She also worked as an assistant coach at Fort Lee.
The team has been practicing two to three times a week since the start of July and she is still adapting to the head coaching experience. "I'm still learning the kids names and where they are from," said Jones.