Manley's Blog

Kings for a Day

Posted in Uncategorized by mattmanley on September 18, 2010

When I first looked at Monsignor Donovan’s schedule this year, I wondered how in the world the Griffins were going to be able to get to .500 with so many new starters, not much returning scoring and a schedule with a more difficult division slate and a brutal set of non-division games that includes Toms River South (loss on Sept. 10), Central, Toms River North, Manchester and Toms River East. In a division that includes Manasquan, Wall and Point Boro, a 5-5 season for Donovan wouldn’t be so bad, which means they’d have to go 3-2 in those five games to make the Shore Conference Tournament.

That’s why Mon Don’s overtime win over Central was so big on Friday. A 6-4 finish in Class C Central would be a pretty good achievement, and if the Griffins can swing that, they will make the SCT despite the tough schedule. I talked to Ken Oliver about it before the season, and this was basically the blueprint: stay above water in the new division and win two or three of the games outside of it. These games against Lakewood and Jackson Liberty are not gimmes, while Squan is tough and Point Boro and Wall are just straight up good. The win over Central now gives Donovan hat extra game it can play with and even allows them to add a game at the cutoff date if necessary.

Adam King has been the man for Mon Don in the early going. With the Griffins graduating the overwhelming majority of its goals from last year, the junior forward has stepped into a prominent scoring role. In four games, the Griffins have only scored four goals, but King has scored two of them, including Friday’s game-winner in overtime.

Even more encouraging for the future prospects of Monsignor Donovan is this little tidbit: of the five players who have contributed either a goal or an assist, none are seniors. Two juniors – King and Andrew Hemberger – and three sophomores – John Underwood, Colin Covello and George Bardis – have accounted for the goals this season with King and Hemberger (goal, two assists) carrying the load. Seniors Tom Zanowich, Derek Koch, Paul Gunteski, Shamus Matthews and Sean Sullivan will still lead the way but there is going to be a large chunk of contribution coming from the younger crop of players, which hasn’t happened at Mon Don in some time.

On the flip side, Friday was a potentially devastating day for the SCT seeding prospects of Class B South, which went 0-5 outside the division a year after going 0-5 in the first round of the SCT. Central definitely suffers the most because not only to they lose a head-to-head game with a team that is likely to be around the .500 mark if they get in at all, but this was one of Central’s few chances to show what they can do outside the division. The Golden Eagles still get a shot at St. Rose – who usually has its own problems earning respect in the SCT seeding procedure – but winning a B South title does not appear like its going to get Central or Lacey much other than a guaranteed home game.

Lacey was banged up for its game against TR East on Friday, playing without two starters in sophomore forward Kevin Tonkovich and senior midfielder Mike Rinato. TR East just wore them out over the course of the game, and regardless of injuries or fatigue, giving up three goals in five minutes will demoralize a team.

We may be seeing another Toms River team become a turf team. Toms River East has been great in two games on turf against two pretty good teams, but struggled against a rebuilding Brick Memorial team on grass. It could be that Brick Memorial is better than everyone thought, but I’m betting that TR East is another team that has developed its timing on turf and is still learning to adjust on the natural surface. TR South was able to get a big grass win at Freehold Township in the SCT last year, and the Raiders will be good enough to win a game like that in time, but right now, they look like a turf team.

For the second straight year, Middletown North gets its first win against Middletown North with a 1-0 victory late. This time, though, it didn’t take a PK, so more and more, the Eagles are becoming a legitimate A North team. I’d set the revised division wins over-under at three for Midd. South, and if they can win its next game against Manalapan, they look poised to top that. With a close call against Howell and a win in their pockets, the Eagles look like a tough out if nothing else. I’d like to see them add to their out-of-division schedule, which includes games against Matawan and St. John Vianney.

Connor Saker scored his fourth goal for Jackson, while freshman teammate Garrett Muzikowski added his third. I thought Jackson would play a lot of 1-0 games, but with the way the one-two punch for the Jags is going, they’ll play a lot more 3-0 games than I thought.

It’s not every night that you see a player score seven points in a game. It’s certainly not every night that you two do it in the same night. It’s almost never that you see two players score seven points in a game, with one of them being a freshman. Lakewood senior and Jackson Liberty freshman Anthony Mandola each scored three goals and added an assist in their teams wins. Jackson Liberty set a program record with six goals in one game and matched its win total from all of last year with a 6-1 drubbing of Manchester. Lakewood also picked up its first victory, a 4-2 win over Pinelands, with Ortiz scoring the Piners first three goals, two of which were assisted by keeper Juan Ortiz.

Tomorrow is another light schedule with just five games on tap, but there are two games I really like. SJV at St. Rose should be a well-played competitive game, while Point Boro should give Toms River South all it can handle on the Indians’ turf. Brick Memorial will try to give Wall as much trouble as it gave TR East while Mater Dei and RBC try to pick up non-conference wins against teams in their respective NJSIAA Non-Public group.


2 Responses

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  1. Oceansoccer said, on September 21, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Matt, Just look at the scoreboard and the Ocean-Neptune results were just a little incorrect. First things first Mike Ryan no longer plays with Ocean so he did not score. Ocean’s first goal was scored by Junior Jerry Pierre(assisted by Andres Rivero). Their second goal was not an own goal, it was scored by Bobby Vetrano (assitsted by Marc Spirito), third goal was correctly reported but the assist was not credited that was also Andres Rivero.

    • mattmanley said, on September 22, 2010 at 12:10 am

      Thank you. I think some of it was lost in translation, but it’s fixed now anyway.

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