By DAVE O’SULLIVAN
Faith Slimmer was a player unlike any that Cape-Atlantic League soccer fans had seen in quite some time. She came into high school with the foot skills of a seasoned college veteran and seemed to toy with defenders throughout her high school career. Before she graduated in 2021, Slimmer had amassed 100 career goals and 65 assists, including 65 goals in her final two seasons.
She graduated with the Ocean City High School scoring record, and at most schools a number like 100 would stand the test of time for decades. This record, however, didn’t even last six months.
Summer Reimet is a much different player than Slimmer was — taller and stronger, with the ability to rocket shots from 40-plus yards away into the back of the net. She burst onto the scene as a sophomore, playing Robin to Slimmer’s Batman, scoring 35 goals and adding six assists — including a pair of goals against Ramapo that led the Red Raiders to their first state championship in program history.
In last year’s covid-shortened season, Reimet still managed to drive home 23 goals, and as a senior she was the best player in New Jersey, finishing with 62 goals and 22 assists and making first-team all-state. She finished her career with a now new school record 131 goals, and only one team — rival Mainland in mid-October — held her without a goal this season. It wasn’t just one of the best seasons in South Jersey history, but state history.
“We knew the potential was there, she’s always just been kind of sharing the duties along the way, which only benefitted our program. The expectation was there, we were just hoping everybody else would be able to keep up. We knew we couldn’t just rely on Summer, and a lot of girls did put some decent numbers up. We relied a lot on Summer, but her teammates were there when we needed them, too. But yes, she met and exceeded all expectations, for sure,” said Lisa Cuneo, a longtime assistant coach under Kelly Halliday who has now been the head coach the past two years. “We had a talk even before our first scrimmage about breaking those school records. Every goal she scores just helps our program, and that’s where we were this season. She was at another level. The preparation she puts in — she’s never out of shape and never not game ready. She’s going to roll right into college and that should be an easy transition for her. She can motor, she never stops, even when she is facing double- and triple-team defenses. That’s a testament to her work ethic. She puts the work in, even when we’re not practicing.”
“I just tried to improve on everything. I wanted to focus on my individual game because passing and finding open teammates is one of my better skills, so I wanted to focus on being able to take on defenders myself. I wanted to focus on stuff like that because I know I’ll need those skills in college,” said Reimet, who has committed to play at Monmouth University next fall. “I was expecting to have this type of season. I knew who we had coming back, with players like Hope (Slimmer) and Kasey (McDonnell), and we just had to build on what we had done the last three years while teaching the freshmen coming in how we play, and using what they brought to the team also. Everything worked out well. Being able to put all our skills together was awesome.
“It was more just if I score goals, if anyone else scores goals, that’s how we’ll win games — and if we can win games, we can win championships. It was more just focusing on the big picture while also trying to take things step by step.”
Ocean City won another Cape-Atlantic League championship this season, going 21-1-1, falling only to Mainland during the regular season. Mainland also knocked Reimet and the Raiders out of the state playoffs with a penalty kick shootout win in the South Jersey Group 3 semifinals.
“It was challenging. Not many people know this, but we’ve been playing soccer together since we were 8 years old. So we’ve been going against each other and have even been on the same team. She’s an outstanding player. She has speed, she has skills — she has it all. I knew how to defend her, and so did Ava (Tenaglia), so we just tried to build off each other and always made sure we had an eye on her because she’s so quick,” said Mainland senior Sydney Kaes, one of the Mustangs charged with trying to slow Reimet down this season in their four meetings. “In the game we won, we held her to no goals, and that was an awesome feeling to know we were able to do that. When she gets the ball, she already knows where she’s going with it. She’s such a smart player, and you find that a lot, but something about her with having that speed, being a skillful player and a smart player, that’s a triple threat. Not many players have all three of those things. It was fun to play against a player that good.”
What makes Reimet’s feats this season even more impressive is the fact that the top priority of every team Ocean City faced this season was to stop her. She faced multiple defenders nearly every time she received the ball — the entire season — and still scored 62 goals. In only six of Ocean City’s 23 games was she held to one goal or less.
“She definitely had a target on her back. The scouting report was pretty obvious against us. But, again, it’s just a true testament to the kind of work ethic she put in and her ability to produce. You couldn’t stop her with one person, and sometimes not even two,” Cuneo said. “I think it was just that she wasn’t sharing that role. She had a little more freedom, just because of the dynamic of the team. We had Faith last year and they were both goal-hungry, which made our team really successful. This year it was solely on her shoulders because we weren’t sure who her counterparts were going to be coming into the season. She knew she had to put up numbers for us to be successful, and — records or not — she knew she had to be one of our go-to goal scorers. I think that was the biggest change coming into this season, she just knew (scoring) was her job.
“We knew she was never going to stop working for us in trying to score, and we knew there was potential for her to score no matter how many people were marking her. Even if she was man-marked or quadruple-teamed, it opened the door for somebody else to try to put one in. Hat’s off to Summer, she was a workhorse no matter who was covering her.”
“Toward the end of the season there were multiple players man-marked on me, but as a team we practiced that and focused on how to get the ball to other players on the team and how to create chances for them to score. We had Hope in the middle and she was able to get the ball forward to Naomi (Nnewihe) and (McKenna) Chisholm — so, just creating opportunities for other people was our main goal (down the stretch),” Reimet said. “The first few times it happened — I think the first team to do it was Mainland — and it took us back a little bit. We were like, ‘OK, this is something we’re going to have to deal with.’ So we thought about it and created ways for us to get past defenses. We continued to win games, so the plan was working, but it got more difficult and challenging. I just had to keep moving and not just focus on having a stationary position. I was a center forward and that’s all I was, so defenders knew where I was going to be, so I focused on moving to the left or right, or dropping into the midfield and moving around so (defenses) wouldn’t always know where I was going to be.”
Reimet will graduate with a trunk full of awards and trophies. Aside from all the individual stuff, she helped lead Ocean City to a state championship, multiple league titles and the first Coaches Cup championship in program history, as the Red Raiders beat Bishop Eustace this year in the finals to win that prestigious tournament.
“It was a great season. I’d say this was my favorite season out of all my high school seasons. I wanted it to end differently, but we still played great . We won the Coaches Cup for the first time ever and we were the first CAL team to do that, and we also won our conference and the CAL. Although it didn’t end great, we still did a lot that we were happy with,” Reimet said. “The Coaches Cup semifinals and final, that was when personally and as a team we really had to step up and play the best we could because Rancocas Valley and Bishop Eustace were really good teams. It was good competition that we had to be ready for, and we played great — probably the best we had all season.”
“This is my ninth year in the program, and besides Faith coming through and making her mark, I don’t see too many people coming through here and having the kind of impact Summer did,” Cuneo said. “We’re at a place with our program — thanks to Summer and Faith, and Hope and those types of players who have raised the bar of our program — there is no going backward now. It makes everyone else have to work harder to put those kinds of numbers up because we’re at a level where we’re going to seek out tougher competition. It’s not going to be an easy task for any future Red Raider.”
Cuneo said she believes Reimet is more than ready to compete for a starting job when she gets to Monmouth next fall.
“She’s a worker. She’s a quiet worker, though, nothing really gets her rattled. And she has a funny sense of humor. She’s kind of that quiet warrior who is going to be out there doing her job and leading by example. The girls knew whenever Summer was around we had a chance to win every game, and that’s hard to duplicate. You can’t say that about too many players. She’s a player everybody wants in their program, a kid who you can say just go out there and do your work,” Cuneo said. “I love to see her at Monmouth, that fits her personality. She’s a down-to-Earth kid who is kind of a homebody, and it’s nice that her parents and friends can go up and support her. I hope she makes an immediate impact there, and I don’t see how she can’t. She’s definitely the total package for college, we just hope she fits into whatever Monmouth’s expectations are and what their lineup looks like. I can’t imagine her not getting playing time. She deserves all the articles anybody wants to write about her. She’s had such an impact on this program, it’s hard to put into words how certain kids can turn programs around.”
“That (competition) is what I’m looking forward to the most and what I can do to prepare for that is big. I started that months ago. I came into the high school season thinking about playing how I would need to play (in college), so that was the main focus. I’m excited to play at Monmouth and to play at that next level — and be ready for it,” Reimet said. “Monmouth has a great soccer program, a great location, great academics — everything is great. I met the team and the coaches and I loved them. It just seemed like a good fit.”
Now that her high school soccer career is in the rearview mirror, does Reimet ever sit back and think about what a crazy number 62 goals in a season is?
“Even now people will say how I scored 62 goals this year and that’s mind-blowing to me. The boys record at Ocean City is 63 by a guy named Chad Severs from about 20 years ago, and I remember thinking, ‘63 goals?’ I can’t imagine getting that amount. So the fact that I was able to get that many is pretty cool. I had great teammates. This year I had Hope in the middle giving me the ball and in years past I had Carly Reighard giving me the ball — so many teammates I was able to work with. It’s awesome that I had such a great team to be able to achieve those records,” she said. “Just being able to play at this high school and represent Ocean City has been great, and I’ll have that forever. I think it’s great to always have that, and to be able to play with some of my best high school friends will always be a great memory.”
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: email@example.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays
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