Manley's Blog

Week 2: Monday and beyond

Posted in Uncategorized by mattmanley on September 22, 2009

I’m trying to move away from using the blog as a scoreboard, so I’ve started posting scores right on the website. Just click on “scoreboards” along the top menu and it will bring you to each day. I’ll still probably put stuff on the blog, but only because I can update it from my blackberry. So I probably won’t post goal-scorers, just scores.

That’s it for the administrative stuff, so let’s look at what we’ve got coming up this week.

The big Monday stories come out from Freehold and Manasquan, both of which picked up impressive victories over quality opponents. Freehold improved to 3-0 after defeating Ocean 4-2 in its first major test of the season. The Colonials opened the season with wins over Long Branch and Neptune, which have a combined record of 3-8 and are both extremely young units, but they beat a somewhat flawed, but still dangerous Ocean team. Alex Castruita has been phenomenal so far and is playing like one of the most improved players in the Shore Conference this year, currently sitting at five goals and two assists after putting two more in the back of the net Monday.

Class B North still has to sort itself out a bit, but we should learn a lot in the next few days. Monmouth and Freehold will play one another on Wednesday at Freehold and the winner of that one will have an inside track to second place, assuming we all like Wall to win it. If that team is Freehold, you have to then like their chances to make a run at the division, because they still have two games left against Wall. Monmouth on the other hand, has not seen Ocean yet and has beat up the bottom of the division to get to 3-1. They did however, hang with Wall, 2-1 on Saturday.

Speaking of Wall, the Crimson Knights looked very ordinary in a 3-0 loss to Manasquan. Ben Drake looks like he’s going to go for 15-plus goals again, maybe even 20, although A Central is not an easy division in which to score. He scored two in the second half to put some distance between the Warriors and Wall. To be honest, I thought Wall was starting to gain some steam and that run would continue against Manasquan, but it looks like the Warriors are putting some good soccer together. I think the loss to Matawan was an aberation and I know some have said that Holmdel outplayed them, but Manasquan has always been a team that makes runs rather than builds possession, especially now that Colin MacMahon and Dan Maher are gone. The game against SJV is a big one, because I think the winner has the best chance of challenging Raritan for the division. By the end of the week, though, we should know whether or not Raritan is going to run away with this thing.

Congrats to Henry Hudson on a great win over Point Beach and a belated and long overdue congrats to Southern for winning its first A South game since 2007 on Saturday. When’s the last time there were three A South games in a day and the only winner was Southern. Good things happening in Stafford. As for Hudson, they really struggled in the preseason and first two games in B Central, so much so that I started to think they might go winless. To get off the deck this early says a lot about their kids.

Week Ahead

-Big Marlboro-CBA showdown tomorrow. I’ll be all over that one so check out the site later in night and on Wednesday morning. This is CBA’s first major test in A North, although they were pushed by Howell. Marlboro is one team that will play soccer with them and they are good enough to beat them at their own game on any given day. I think CBA will be ready and looking forward to the challenge and beat Marlboro this time. I think if the Stangs are gonna knock them off, it’s the second game. I’m really looking forward to it thought, it’s going to be a fun one.

-As good as Lacey has been to start the year, this week might be an even bigger test for the Lions. Brick and Toms River South look like they’ll challenge for a top spot in the division and although Lacey has played the best of the three to start the season, that doesn’t put goals on the board this week. If Lacey gets out of this week still neck-and-neck with Toms River North or better, it’s officially time to take notice. If you ask me they have the midfield to play with anyone in the Conference and they showed me a lot defensively against TR North.

– Point Boro has a date with Monsignor Donovan this week and a win would give the Panthers a big edge in the division race. You can’t count out Central and Lakewood against Point Boro either, but it’s looking like Donovan, Manchester and Boro are the three major contenders. The reason I liked Boro better than the rest is because while they lost a lot, they returned a little bit at each level. As it turns out, they have a lot of good players who were in reserve/JV roles last year, like Bryan Brodeur and Tori Remondelli, who is a really nice looking player as a sophomore.

– If Manchester keeps playing like it did against Mon Don, Liam Cahill has to be a POY candidate. A lot of good players reside in the A divisions, but Cahill has skill and impact that rivals Ocean’s Jacob Rubinstein, who had to be considered on the preseason POY watch list.

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