Manley's Blog

Round One – The Day After

Posted in Uncategorized by mattmanley on November 4, 2009

A busy day one of state tournament soccer is in the books and, naturally, there’s a lot to talk about. I saw three games, saw we’ll start with what I actually witnessed.

Toms River North defeated Midd. North in typical fashion, controlling the game, outshooting the opponent and barely winning. At no point was TRN behind and it never looked like the game was out of their control, but Midd North wasn’t that far from tying the game at 2. It wasn’t the most impressive victory and the score probably indicated the play on the field, but Middletown North has been a quality team over the past two weeks.

I’m starting to see why Dave Mitchell is playing all these sophomores. Replacing Todd Webb, Dan Klein, Paavo Prima and Kevin Meinert will be difficult, but juniors Matt Hertgen, Tom Defino and Jeff Scheck, as well as sophomores Ryan Groffie, Tanner Sica and Kevin Istvanditch all look like major players heading into 2010, and are key players right now. Groffie has moved into the center mid spot and looks like a player to keep watching over the next couple of years.

Ocean beat Monmouth on a penalty kick by Jacob Rubinstein, and after watching the foul called on Monmouth’s Steve Cooper in the box in slow motion, it looked like the wrong call. One defender actually slides at Doug Dombrowiecki’s legs and misses. Had he hit him, that would have warranted a foul call, but he did not make contact with Dombrowiecki. After that, Cooper is on Dombrowiecki’s hip and it was actually Dombrowiecki who, inadvertently took out Cooper’s legs and cause Cooper to fall on top of him. In real time, it looked like Cooper, might have tackled him, but the replay showed otherwise. This was an even game, although not the prettiest game, and it was pretty clear in the minutes before the pk that a break one way or the other would decide it.

Raritan was dominant without Pat Langan, who was sick today and missed the game. Matawan had a nice flurry in the middle of the first half and had the shots at 6-2 in favor of Raritan at one point, but Raritan outshot them 20-3 the rest of the way. I can see why Matawan was a tough team this season, but Raritan is on a different level than the rest of A Central.

Onto the other games, an we’ll do it by section.


So much for close games. Marlboro discarded Old Bridge like old trash with a 4-0 win. That’s Marlboro’s largest margin of victory this season and they have some real momentum going into a game against East Brunswick, which won in pks over Sayreville. East Brunswick is dangerous in its attack, but its hard to imagine a team that could give up three goals holding Marlboro down.

Freehold Township didn’t have it so easy, but the Pats moved on by beating a pretty good Monroe team 1-0. Ross Caruso has fit in at forward and has created som chances for a team in desperate need of some finishing. They’ll need to be sharp against Rancocas Valley Friday, who routed Howell 4-0.

Jackson Memorial and Colts Neck both lost tough games, with Jackson hanging close with the defending sectional champion North Brunswick and Colts Neck losing to a big, physical Montgomery club. Neither result surprised me in the least, Jackson has lost nine games by one goal this season, so Tuesday was pretty much the story of the Jaguars’ year. Montgomery is a dangerous team because of its size and talent and both showed in a battle of the Cougars. If Montgomery can use its superior size to dominate the air and play some soccer when the ball is on the ground, they are going to give TRN and possibly North Brunswick trouble. Good season for Colts Neck, who should be even better next year in a weaker division.


Wall and Freehold both win high-scoring affairs, which may be a little bit disconcerting from a defensive standpoint, but both seemed to control the game. Freehold may have its hands full with Ocean, who is looking forward to a third crack at the Colonials.

Kudos to Neptune for going to top-seeded Princeton and hanging with the Tigers in a 1-0 loss. They’ll be a good team over the next couple of years.

If you read my story on Ocean on the website, you’ll see how this season’s team is looking eerily similar to the 2007 team.

Holmdel loses a tough one to Nottingham in overtime and while it’s easy to say Holmdel is jet-set for next year, they’ll have to say goodbye to Pat Strickland and Ashwin Kambhampati while wondering what could have been this season. There’s a good chance, Sean Davis will join the fray next season, which would make Holmdel loaded with senior talent, but this season was supposed to give us a glimpse of things to come next year and while they were a pretty team to watch, a one-and-done in states has to be disappointing. Dan Marino play in goal despite being pretty sick, according to coach John Nacarlo, so once again, the Hornets ran into some bad luck. One good sign is that Dan Metzger really started to assert himself and should take off in his senior season.


Raritan and Shore took care of business and I stand by my belief that they will play each other in the semis. Shore coach Chris Gioia wasn’t overly thrilled with the way the Devils played, but they still won comfortably.

The big news in this bracket, though, was Manasquan losing 2-0 to Bordentown. The Warriors got a little taste of their own medicine by allowing only six shots and giving up two goals. Manasquan is often the team that makes the most of opportunities, but they were a victim of that Tuesday.

It’s hard to figure that result, but the events of the last week-and-a-half in the Manasquan community have to be weighing on those kids, at least a little bit anyway. I cannot possibly grasp the situation nor can I put myself in their shoes at all, so I won’t try, but I know they are a good group of kids and they’ll be okay when all is said and done, but I think everyone sympathizes with them right now. Same goes for St. Rose, who opens up on Friday against St. Joe’s Hammonton.


Toms River East put a less-than-shocking, but still-impressive 5-2 loss on host Absegami and once again, Craig Wagenblsast went off for two goals. He’s now up to 20 on the season and he’s carried East on the scoring side of things. Matt Wedding and Bill Bartels are both playing great as well and part of East’s 2010 outlook as well. If things weren’t going well enough for the Raiders, they may get to stay in Toms River until the sectional final. No. 15 Winslow upset No. 2 Eastern, so TR East gets a home game in the quarters and should Toms River South knock off Cherry Hill West on the road, the semifinal on that side of the bracket will be at South.

The Indians are still alive on a goal with three seconds left by Connor Voll, which broke the hearts of Vineland in a 2-1 South victory. This is looking more like a winnable bracket now that the first round is in the books and a South-East semifinal is a distinct possibility, especially with the mix of good play and good fortune South has had in the last month.

Southern capped a strong season with a 2-1 loss to Lenape, the team I picked to win the section. Rob Solorzano tied the game in the second half and took the game into the last six minutes tied, but couldn’t hold off the Indians. Coach Evan Brosniak said Ethan Decker hit an absolute rocket just a few few inches over the crossbar from about 35 yards out. The loss of Solorzano and the rest of the senior class hurts, but the Rams laid a foundation for winning and, going forward, they will often have the best player on the field over the next three years in Decker. As for those seniors, it’s a testament to them that Southern got as far as it did. It would have been easy to put the Rams on the back burner until 2010 or 2011, but guys like Solorzano, Sean Lockwood and Cody Kirk made Southern relevant this year.


There are guaranteed to be two Shore Conference teams playing for a spot in the sectional final because Central, Point Boro, Lacey and Manchester all took care of business. Lacey is the best of the four in my opinion, but Point Boro on the road is a tough game in the quarters. Neither team had much trouble in round one, so this will be the first challenge for both.

Central neither fell victim to a dangerous Brick team, but Tyler Shan saved the day with a goal in OT to help the Eagles hold serve at home once again. Central moved to 8-1 at home this season and will be on its home field for the rest of its sectional playoff run. Manchester jumped ahead early on hung on late and they will be a dangerous heading into Central, but again, Central has been awfully tough at home. I think Manchester has enough to take them down – they blew a 3-1 lead and lost 4-3 in overtime in the first meeting at Central – but Central has a scrappy group that is playing with a lot of confidence on its home field.


I didn’t preview this section much because there was only one Shore team and it was seeded ninth, but did Barnegat ever make some news with a 1-0 win over Audubon. That’s the first playoff win in Barnegat’s first ever playoff game and while the losing record suggests Barnegat’s run might end in the next round, remember that they’ve played Group III schools all year and that they’ve been competitive against pretty much all of them. I expect the Bengals to hang tough in the quarters against Woodstown and have a chance to steal one.

Non Publics

After taking care of Bishop Ahr, St. John Vianney will give St. Augustine a game in the quarters. The Lancers are quietly putting some good games together and they could knock the Hermits on their heals a bit next game.

Mater Dei got a chance to play a tournament game, but couldn’t keep up with St. Joe’s Hammonton in a 6-1 loss. The Seraphs made some progress this season and while they didn’t crack .500, they did finish in that fourth place spot in B Central beyond the three clear favorites and made the state tourny.


2 Responses

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  1. shoresoccer said, on November 4, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    So help us out Matt, what do you know about RV? Are they beatable by either FT or Marlboro? What type of game do they play?

  2. Sceregenevie said, on December 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    look at with confident for promotion code

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