By Jessica Barranco (Whetstone Staff Writer)
Quiet sniffles filled the air on Sept. 4 when the family of Julia DeFelice was brought onto the soccer field where their daughter once played.
DeFelice, 20, was killed on July 16 while jogging. She was hit by a minivan at the intersection of North Governor’s Avenue and William Street in Dover, a few blocks from Wesley.
An exercise science major from Tinton Falls, N.J., she had recently moved into Wesley’s top-20 all-time scoring list.
“She had just bought a new pair of [soccer] shoes,” said Edward Muntz, coach of the women’s soccer team. “It’s strange the things you think about when something like this happens”
Before the women’s soccer game on Sept. 4, a memorial was held in her honor.
Friends, family and former teammates attended. Her parents and younger sister stood among the group of her teammates.
Her father, William DeFelice, thanked the crowed and quickly left. His wife and daughter stayed and received hugs from Julia’s friends and coaches.
Teammates shouted, “Go Jules,” which brought Julia’s sister, Olivia, to tears.
“She was my one and only sibling,” Olivia said. “It was her and I against the world. I miss more than anything, my best friend, my big sister.”
Julia graduated from Red Bank Catholic High School in 2008, where she played soccer. In 2005, she was on the state champion squad.
“Julia was an athlete,” Olivia said. “I believe it was more of her attitude on the field that impacted other people. She loved playing and it always showed.”
This would have been Julia’s fourth year on the Wesley soccer team.
“She was so passionate,” Muntz said, “from recruitment to the time of her death.”
The weekend before she died, her teammates and friends – Amanda Horkey, Brielle Bogan and Sara Gergen – went to Rehoboth Beach in the rain.
“We had an awesome time,” Horkey said.
At the beach, the girls went to a restaurant and walked around.
July 7 was Olivia and Julia’s last trip to the beach together.
“Just the two of us,” she said. “We drove down together and spent the day on the beach. All day tanning, lying in the sand, swimming and talking about life. My last time at the beach with her couldn’t have been more perfect.”
Muntz and her teammates said that Julia was the heart and soul of the team.
“She pushed everyone to their limits and hoped for the best,” Gergen said.
Julia was supposed to attend the trip the soccer team made to Europe last summer.
Bogan and Gergen didn’t leave her behind, though.
“She loved Manchester United,” Bogan said of an English soccer team. “So when we were at the stadium, we left her (prayer) card, so she was there, too.”