Kimberly Hykey wins her 200th game as young Lyndhurst team builds momentum

When Kimberly Hykey got her 200th victory as the head coach of Lyndhurst on Wednesday against Secaucus it not only provided her an opportunity to reflect on the stellar teams and players she coached, but came to the stunning realization that Hykey is now in her 14th year as the program’s coach.

“It doesn’t feel like I’ve been coaching that long, but then when you look back and you realize it’s been (14) years it’s like wow,” said Hykey, a 2004 graduate and the program’s career scoring level. “To do it is special and to do it where I played means more. It’s pretty cool.

“You definitely reminisce about the journey and where you’ve been and where hopefully you’re going to go.”

For this version, the future looks very bright after this past week. Hykey’s milestone victory was the second of four wins the Golden Bears racked up last week.

One day after the win over Secaucus, Lyndhurst defeated Indian Hills, 2-0, in the first round of the Bergen County Invitational. On Sunday, the Golden Bears had perhaps their biggest win of the season, a 2-1 overtime victory at Paramus Catholic in the quarterfinals. The four-game winning streak has Lyndhurst at 7-5.

“This week was a great week for us so far,” Hykey said before the Paramus Catholic game. “It was a good week, we knew going into it what we wanted to do.”

Leading the way for Lyndhurst has been senior goalkeeper Mackenzie Sibello, a four-year starter. Sibello, who is committed to play at Long Island University, had three consecutive shutouts last week and is the unquestioned leader of this young group.

“This is Mackenzie’s team. She’s the ultimate teammate, she makes everybody around her feel comfortable and she’s super-friendly and tries to just make everyone feel a part of the team,” said Hykey. “While she’s super-valuable between the pipes, she’s more valuable as a teammate.”

Junior Kieran Meehan serves as the backup after transferring back to Lyndhurst after a year at DePaul and is very capable in net as well.

Sibello’s leadership has been especially vital in front of Sibello as Lyndhurst has started two freshmen the entire season on defense with Ava Shapiro as one of the center backs and Emma Marnik, who has filled in for Julia Tozduman at left back.

Elise Ferschweiler, is a returning starter at right back and has provided a significant boost to the offense on restarts. The senior leads the team with six goals and delivered the game-winner on a penalty kick at Paramus Catholic.

Junior Kyla Marino is a returning starter at the other center back spot. Senior Gabby Auteri, who filled in at right back when Ferschweiler was out with an injury earlier in the year, provides valuable depth off the bench as does Tara Tiyaloglu and Kiera Pilger. Senior Manya Gowda is another back, who has been limited by injury, but should see time when healthy.

With seven freshmen and two sophomores on the varsity roster, Hykey said she has never had to mix and match lineups more than years, noting they “haven’t had the same starting lineup (for consecutive games) all year long.”

One spot that has been solidified in recent days is the center defensive midfield spot where senior Julia Anthony has moved back after previously playing more of an attacking role. Anthony, a senior with three goals and three assists, still sees some time up top and had the other goal on Sunday against Paramus Catholic.

“She’s just so phenomenal on the ball. She brings it down out of the air better than anybody who has ever played for me,” said Hykey. “She uses her body so well, she’s so strong and a physical presence in the midfield, she wins so many balls, she’s just creating so much from winning punts and then building the attack. She’s not super tall, but she’s physical and she’s strong.”

Junior Skyler Montillo, who has four goals and four assists is the center midfielder. The outside has been a rotation of junior Julia Marnik (one goal, four assists), sophomore Nikalena Iacono and freshman Daniela Barbieri (four goals).

Freshman Avery Garing has been a versatile player all over the midfield. Senior Jayde Colon has played significant time as has junior Madeline Turano on man marks.

Another freshman, Emma Amaral, has split her time between midfield and forward, as well asIacono and Barbieri. Sophomore Zeynep Celik and freshman Nicole Marnik have also provided key minutes up top and Meehan brings added depth to the position.

Lyndhurst looks to keep this momentum rolling when it travels to rival North Arlington on Tuesday and at home on Thursday against Weehawken. The Golden Bears will play at Park Ridge in the Bergen County Invitational semifinals on Saturday.

“It’s all about confidence and right now they’re feeling it,” Hykey said. “We’re definitely a different team this week than we’ve been in previous weeks so hopefully we can keep things rolling.”

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.