Manley's Blog

TR South wins thriller, sun sets in West

Posted in Uncategorized by mattmanley on November 18, 2009

What else did you expect? Toms River South keeps its improbable run through the Group IV playoffs alive with a wild 4-3 overtime victory over crosstown rival Toms River North that defeats a very tough field in the “Game of the Year Category.” What’s that you say? They play one more game? Okay, well maybe it’s not the game of the year yet.

To recap, Dan Chrashewsky scored the game-winning goal 1:50 into overtime after North’s Tanner Sica scored with 22 seconds left in regulation to send it to OT. Chrash hit a shot from around the top of the 18 that was well-placed and had enough on it to get past Kevin Meinert.

Chrashewsky had a hand in all four TRS goals, scoring the first goal of the night for South and assisting on two others. His first goal tied the game at 1, answering Rafael Vergara’s goal that put TRN ahead early. TR South took a 2-1 lead on a goal by John Nogiewich and Todd Webb tied the game with a second half goal. Steve Petrosino scored his ninth goal to give the Indians the lead late in the second half and Toms River South looked like it might win its least thrilling game of the tournament until Sica’s goal.

Toms River South has won now won three straight overtime games after it had won its first two games with game-winning goals in the final 30 seconds.

I didn’t see the game, we didn’t have anyone at the game and I couldn’t even get Ed Leibe on the horn, so I only have to judge by the scoring, but how about Dan Chrashewsky and Steve Petrosino? Chrash has been outstanding for two years now and he’s finishing his high school career with a state tournament performance most players can only dream of. He’s up to 15 goals and 16 assists for the year, and while his three playoff goals aren’t eye-popping, two of them have been golden goals and the other came Tuesday as part of a two-goal effort to beat his team’s crosstown rival to reach the school’s first ever state final. Not bad.

Petrosino, in my opinion, is the number one reason the Indians are here. Sure Chrash, Sean Casey and John Nogiewich are all comparable players, but Petrosino’s breakout seemed to coincide with the team shaking off its early-season funk. Petrosino scored one goal in Toms River South’s fist six games, in which the Indians went 2-3-1. Since, Petrosino has scored eight times, insluding two goals in Toms River South’s win over Lacey that pulled them up to 3-3-1 and started the run. And for those who may have forgotten, Petrosino is a stopper with those numbers. All of his numbers have also come with an improvement by the South defensive unit, so Petrosino has been able to create offense while anchoring an improved defense. But improved defense or not, the story was South putting up four goals on TRN in a little more than 80 minutes, the highest total the Mariners have allowed all year. The defense had been so good for North over the course of the playoffs, allowing two goals in the first four games, and as a matter of fact, the North defense had allowed two or more goals in a game this year only once, a 3-1 loss to Toms River East during the regular season.

So what happened to the TR North defense? The only witness to this game I got a chance to speak with was Toms River North coach Dave Mitchell. He was obviously disappointed to see his team bow out after it played so well to get to this point. Like any coach in his position, he thought his team made a few too many mistakes that allowed the opposition to capitalize, but when I asked him how in the world his defense gave up four goals in a game when they never even give up two, he didn’t say anything about not playing well or bad luck or falling asleep. His first response was the following:

“Because they’re dangerous. They have good forwards and they put pressure on you for the whole game.”

Of course he acknowledged that his team made some critical mistakes, and that’s what happens in 4-3 games: defenses mess up. But getting past the exhaustion in his voice, I could tell that he was impressed with South, was proud his kids scored with 22 seconds left in regulation and kept fighting back and was amazed by an amazing game.

“I’ve never seen a game like that. I’m not happy to be on the losing end, especially because it’s one game away from the state title game and it’s against an A South team and a Toms River team, but it was a fun game to coach in and fun game to be a part of.”

The Tom River North defense was the best defense I have seen all year, with Seton Hall Prep’s defense coming in a close second. That’s just out of the team’s I’ve seen, but their defense is legit, so receive word that South was scoring goal after goal was jaw-dropping to me. I would have been only mildly surprised to hear that South won a 2-1 0r 1-0 game, but 4-3? Not a chance.

“What else did you expect ?,” I ask. Apparrently I didn’t expect a wild game, because I was at the Non-Public finals where CBA and St. Rose both lost, but alas, two state titles were about to be decided. I always hated the Non-Public titles being decided on the same day as the two state final spots because I can never go watch a semifinal because CBA is almost always playing for a state final on the same day. The girls separate the days. Why can’t the guys?

I’m looking forward to the South-Clifton game, when the Indians will face a seemingly jaded Clifton team that has reached two straight Group IV finals, but have only a co-title and a loss to the Rancocas Valley machine last year. We’ll get more into that one on Thursday and in the chat tomorrow night.

Seton Hall Prep 1, CBA 0

You think Clifton feels jaded? Think how CBA and St. Rose feel. I’ll have stories on each game up on the site in a little bit, so I’ll spare you the details in this space. All I’ll say is that I thought CBA was slightly better than Seton Hall Prep, but one thing I loved about SHP was how organized they were in the back. Their defense was terrific and while CBA got some good opportunities, none were so good that you’d have to call Seton Hall Prep’s defense lucky. I thought they were somewhat fortunate to find the net, but defensively, they are a worthy champ.

Scott Thomsen turned his left ankle in the first half and it swelled up on him during halftime. He played the rest of the game, but he was visibly hobbled during the second half. He played most of the half up top instead of in the midfield, as CBA played with three up top for a lot of the second half.

In my opinion, CBA played very well and just couldn’t put one in. It’s easy to say they continued to struggle in championship games, but they really did play well and just couldn’t break through against a tough defense.

Gill St. Bernard’s 3, St. Rose 0

St. Rose was without Dylan Marx, who was violated school policy, according to coach Tim McInerney. Marx is the Shore Conferences leading scorer, and – B Central schedule or no B Central schedule – that’s a huge loss, one the Roses could not overcome. To be honest, I know the exact reason he missed the game, but I don’t like to get into details in situations like this, kind of like the Tyler Wynn situation for TR East. I’ll just say that it’s not a personality issue or anything like that. Dylan is a good guy and he just made a mistake and I’m sure he’s hurting more than he deserves to right now.

Even with him, I don’t think it would have helped much. Gill St. Bernard’s simply outclassed St. Rose in the second half and while Marx’s absence might have been demoralizing, Gill’s attack was too much. They came up short last year and got it done this year.

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