Manley's Blog

Quickies from Monday

Posted in Uncategorized by mattmanley on September 14, 2010

Just a few quick hits from what we saw on Monday:

– CBA’s Scott Thomsen said his knee is coming along and Monday was the first time he ran since he tore his ACL in April. He had been riding the stationary bike to help strengthen it and keep himself in shape and while all he did was run around the perimeter of the soccer field once, it’s definitely progress. Again, don’t expect to see him play for CBA next year, but for the sake of his bright future, let’s hope he returns in the not so distant future at 100 percent.

– There are two major differences between this year’s CBA team right now and last year’s team. First off, they don’t have a sweeper like Kevin Romano, which is not all bad. Romano could bring the ball forward and distribute which is a tremendous asset, but it also left CBA vulnerable to counters. CBA started Dan Pissimenti at sweeper Monday against Freehold Twp., but the junior hurt his left ankle and had to leave the game. CBA would love to find a player in the mold of a Romano, but at the very least, they could put a body back there to be more of a source of protection for Kyle Dillaway.

The other difference is that their not as dangerous inside the 18, at least not yet anyway. This group hasn’t missed a beat in the midfield, but once they get into the attacking third, they are still a little hesitant. Brian Smith and Tim West look like they’re going to be the guys up top and West, in particular showed an ability to be dangerous, but CBA had five guys lke that last year, whereas Smith and West have been the only guys to really attack the goal so far. Zach Hicks showed some ability and I think Nick Villani will find a groove at some point, but right now, the Colts are looking for a few more players with a nose for the goal.

– I love that Middletown South came out and put one on Howell early on before ultimately going down in a 2-1 loss. I have little doubt that Howell will have a good season in Class A North, which means what we saw Monday was a tough Middletown South team that is ready to compete in A North. They were the one team I thought could be overmatched before the season started, but it looks like the players they’ve brought through the lower ranks are more than capable. I’m not saying they’re going to go 7-5 in the division, but they could snag a few wins and make a run at the postseason if they keep playing games like the one they played on Monday.

– I don’t think there were any bigger winners Monday than Tom Vazquez and Middletown North. There have now been three hat tricks in the Shore Conference so far this season, but only two have been integral in the team’s win. Harold Hester of Manchester scored three in helping his team get out to a 5-2 lead against Asbury before winning 5-4. While that performance was big for the Hawks, the manner in which Vazquez completed his hat trick was about as clutch as possible. He scored in the final three minutes of regulation to tie the game at 3, then scored the winner with five minutes left in overtime. Vazquez’s older brother, Anthony, might be the best player to come out of Middletown North in the last decade and now baby bro is lookgin to leave his mark on the program in his senior year. This is a major win for Middletown North and a devastating loss to Manalapan, which had trouble protecting leads last year as well.

– There is really nothing else to say about the TR East-TR North game other than TR East completely dominated. I talked to three A South coaches who were at the game and they all had positive things to say about Toms River North, as did East coach Ted Gillen following the game. The main observation was that they had so many players who were skilled with the ball, and while that’s true, they couldn’t do anything with the ball because East just took it away for the 40 minutes that the teams played (the game was called due to rain after one half). East outworked them and they were far more dangerous on the attack than North was. Matt Wedding said after the game that the team did more work on the track this offseason than in previous years and it definitely showed. I though TR South had the most speed on any Ocean County team of the past few seasons, but I find it hard to believe there are going to be many teams in Ocean faster than the Raiders.

– The pregame ceremonies at the TRN-TRE game were so awesome that I even mentioned them in the game story. The Bagpipes were the perfect touch and with the two student sections making noise with the vuvuzelas, the atmosphere couldn’t have been better. TR North’s fans planned a white out for the game and in response, the East kids organized a black out on their side. The East fans are great when they get up for a game and they have this sort of counter-culture about them that makes them a fun group to play in front of. I hate the Oakland Raider schtick in the NFL, but I like this Raider Nation. It’s grown on me. A word of advice though: You can’t be the best fans in the Shore Conference if you don’t travel better. TRE has played three games in Neptune in the Shore Conference Tournament in the last four years and the turnout on the Raiders side was pretty weak. The Manalapan and Marlboro fans don’t have the same numbers, but they travel better, so I give them the edge for now, but Raider Nation is tops when they show up.

– I thought the Jackson-Southern game would be a telling one in the A South landscape, but the 0-0 tie leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Even though Jackson freshman Garrett Muzikowski is going to score a lot of goals, I still see the Jags as a team that will play a lot of 1-0 games this year because of their defensive-oriented style. Southern is still searching for an identity, but I think they have the potential to be very stingy about allowing goals. The have become much more organized in the back since Marlboro worked them over for five goals in the preseason and if they get they gain some confidence in the midfield, they could be a very tough team to score on.

– With TR South blowing past Brick Memorial, I think the only thing we learned Monday is that TR North has a long way to go. We knew TR East we be very good, but we still can’t be sure how good they are relative to the top teams in Monmouth County. Toms River East is obviously dangerous, but they beat two inexperienced teams in Mon Don and Brick Memorial. We should learn a lot more about A South on Wednesday when TR South has to play Jackson on the natural surface -historically a challenge for the Indians – and TR North plays Southern on the road. Just know that a Jackson win would not be a dramatic turn of events, because they always play TRS tough at home and with a more experienced team, they could easily win.

– I apologize to Barnegat for putting the jinx on your team. I really thought the Bengals had a shot to go at least 5-1 through the first six games and I guess they technically still do, but I did not envision a loss to Pinelands. Not only did the Wildcats beat Barnegat, but they jumped all over them in taking a 3-0 lead. Barnegat was the consensus sleeper in B South before the season, but maybe we all missed the boat on Pinelands. They have a handful of good players back, led by Sammy Ackah and Matt Cardillo – who scored two goals on Monday – and coach Jason Asch may be turning a corner. It’s not a deep program at all, but with a few good players, they could pose some problems.

– Everyone I have spoken to has said that Mon Don did well for itself in a 1-0 loss to TRS on Friday, although South definitely controlled that game. With that said, either the Griffins didn’t have it Monday, or Point Boro is going to be really dangerous after winning 3-0 over the Griffins in C Central. I’ve already put the upset alert up to threat-level orange for the Panthers game against the No. 1 Indians on Saturday and the win over the Griffins certainly doesn’t change that. Wall and Point Boro are off to great starts and both should be the last two standing in the new division.

– Rumson-SJV is a 6:30 start tonight, which means I can’t cover both that game and the Long Branch-Neptune affair at 7, which is what I originally planned. Apologies to the Neptune and LB crowd, but I’m going to take the opportunity to see what Rumson has, as well as to see how the Vianney freshmen look. I owe you one LB and Tune.


One Response

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  1. MD2K11 said, on September 15, 2010 at 12:39 am


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