Manley's Blog

The Real Opening Day

Posted in Uncategorized by mattmanley on September 11, 2010

Football does it. Baseball does it. I guess every sport at every level must give us a light day of games before we get the beefy opening day schedule.

Okay, so Rosh Hashana is the main reason we got a sprinking of games as opposed to an entire menu, but I feel like the last few openings to the high school soccer season, or any season other than football for that matter, starts with a light day or two before the avalanche hits.

An quite frankly, Monday is the real avalanche, but at least there are more than 10 games Saturday with some key team we have not yet seen. The big ones to watch are CBA at Delbarton, which should have the highest level of play of game of the day, and Southern at Freehold Township. Southern took care of business against Manchester on Thursday night and will now face a true test when they tangle with the No. 3 team at the Shore.

One game that may fly under the radar is Freehold at Colts Neck, which pits last year’s B North winner against the heavy favorite this year. I’m leaning toward this game myself, since I’ll be watching Freehold Township and CBA on Monday and I like a built in story line to start my season off.

Of the rest of the lineup, I like the Manasquan-Holmdel showdown, which was always a battle when the two were in A Central. Holmdel could benefit a lot from a fast start after stumbling out of the gate in each of the past three seasons, while Manasquan will test out its new look team that doesn’t feature a dynamic scorer like Ben Drake was for the last three years. Shore-Red Bank is also an interesting one because the Devils are another team that usually starts slow and Red Bank has undergone a makeover with new head coach Sean Reid.

The nightcap features the rivalry game between St. Rose and Wall under the lights at Wall High School at 7 p.m. The Crimson Knights just survived an overtime scare against a Lacey team that I’m starting to think I underrated by quite a bit, and will have to use their depth to stay fresh against a tough St. Rose squad. I’ll have the video of that one as well.

Some thoughts on the first two days of games in the Shore Conference:

– Point Boro is going to be a problem for Wall in C Central. Wall has handled the Panthers in each of the past two years in nondivisional games, but this Point Boro team looks like it has some depth and a lot of dangerous players on the field. Tori Remondelli was excellent against Brick and looks even more confident than he did as a sophomore last year. He may be the best player on the field when the two teams meet later this month.

– Also from Boro, freshman Dan Hunt is gonna be a really good one for the Panthers. As coach Pete Casalino put it, “He looked like a freshman on Thursday, but every now and again, he’d show a little bit of that potential.” Boro not only has a chance to impress the SCT seeding committee in what looks like a slightly tougher division than B South, but they’ll play No. 1 TR South, No. 8 TR East, Southern and St. Rose before the cutoff. That schedule is going to look way better than the ones they’ve had going into the meeting in past years and if they can win three of them and get at least a share of C Central, you’re looking at a team with a real case for a top 8 seed.

– Brick looks like it will have to endure a rebuilding year this year. A lot of times, a team can surprise some people when it graduates a bunch of seniors from a great team and that’s what happened last year. There were a lot of new faces, but they played behind one of the better team’s Brick’s had in the last 20 years, so they were probably better than expected. Now, without Kris Barr and Christian Tunis, there just isn’t much scoring punch out of the gate. Steve Guedes and Cole Downs are nice players, but they look like they’re going to need some help if Brick is gonna run with Lacey and Central in B South.

– Ethan Decker scored three goals in 19 minutes. Granted it came against a very inexperienced Manchester team, but it was a pretty good start to his player of the year campaign. Coach Evan Brosniak thought his team played exceptionally well in the 5-0 win and if they play as he envisions, we’ll be talking about more than just Ethan Decker.

– The SJV freshman class – particularly goalkeeper Evan Louro – made its much-anticipated debut on Thursday, but it was the seniors who led the way in a 3-1 win over rival RBC. Joe DeLuca scored two goals, one on a PK and the other off a perfect feed from John Nicol. Mike Politz scored the third goal on a shot that RBC coach George Black called “one of the best shots I’ve ever seen in a high school game.” According to Black, Politz hit a shot about four feet off the ground from 25 yards out that hit the back far post and bounced back across the goal mouth. I’d use a baseball analogy, but that would be like when the Sportscenter announcers use golf analogies to describe plays in baseball or football. Who cares about golf?

– TRS survives a dogfight against Mon Don, but what else did you expect? Mon Don has played them very tough in each of the past two seasons and even with a great class of players back, you had too figure the Griffins would come at the No. 1 team hard. You have to love the sophomore combo of Vinnie Ignatowicz and Dmitri Loizes getting it done on Friday if you’re coach Ed Leibe. Loizes is a very talented player and if he plays like he did on Thursday, the Indians found at least some scoring to replace the 15 goals Dan Chrashewsky left behind.

– Barnegat picked up a 4-o win over Mater Dei behind its three senior leaders Kyle Kostka (two goals), Jake Kovacs (goal) and Ryan Fogarty (goal and an assist). The win by itself isn’t huge news, but take a look at Barnegat’s schedule over the next two weeks:

Pinelands
at Manchester
Monmouth
Lakewood
at Brick

With Monmouth and Brick looking down relative to their last few years and Barnegat appearing to have, by far, its best team in the school’s short history, there’s a distinct possibility that the Bengals could enter their Sept. 24 showdown with Central 6-0. At the very least, I think they’ll go 5-1, but 6-0 certainly manageable if the Bengals are as advertised. In the early stages of the 2010 season, I think we have found our Freehold Boro* of this year.

* – Team with a losing record from the year before that brings back key players and gets off to an unbeaten start on the way to the best year in a long time or, in this case, school history.

– I just put the finishing touches on a feature article on Sean Davis, the Holmdel kid who is considered one of the top players in the country in his high school class. It mostly focuses on Davis’ last six months or so but it also touches on his relationship with another Top 20 prospect and current Holmdel player Dan Metzger. Davis doesn’t get as much ink around here because he doesn’t play high school ball, but his story is definitely worth telling and reading. He really thought hard about playing this year but ultimately decided it just didn’t feel right. Anyway, click here for the article.

Also, if you’re interested inwatching Davis play, you can check him and Metzger out up at Red Bull Arena tonight, Sept. 11, after the actual Red Bulls game, when they’ll play in an exhibition. The Red Bulls play at 4 p.m. and the exhibition will be right after.

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