Manley's Blog

The Biggest Loser

Posted in Uncategorized by mattmanley on September 22, 2010

Out of everything that went down on Tuesday, I though the most telling game was Colts Neck’s 1-0 win over Long Branch. I think everyone agrees that Colts Neck is among the best five or so teams in the Conference and is deserving¬† of the preseason hype as an SCT and Group III contender, but not a lot of people knew what Long Branch was going to have this year, including Green Wave coach Joe Simon.

Simon was, however, optimistic and we’re starting to see why. Long Branch rolled to a 2-0 start and in their first major test, they passed, that is as long as you’re grading on a curve. It’s true that a loss is a loss, but Long Branch had the speed and the size to give Colts Neck some problems and while keeping the score close all the way through, the Wave gave themselves two very good opportunities to tie the game before ultimately falling short. Long Branch’s roster is comprised predominately of players who will be back next year and they showed they have some potential for this year as well with a strong effort in Tuesday’s loss.

Cougars Licking their Wounds

Colts Neck is already battling the injury bug and this bug might be a long-term ailment. Coach Art Collier and company learned this week that sophomore forward Alex Ramos will be out for 6-8 weeks with a back injury that Collier said developed while playing this past spring. Despite tallying two goals and three assists in the Cougars first two games, he had been in visible pain at times and now will likely miss the rest of the season. Fortunately for Colts Neck, they have some depth at the forward position with three other forwards who already have three goals or more. Sophomore Jay Mikula has stepped up in Ramos’ absence and leads the team with four goals.

The more uncertain injury is the one to keeper James Sheehan, who injured his knee against Brick Memorial on Monday. Collier said X-Rays on Sheehan’s knee were negative and the team and Sheehan’s doctor are hoping it is just a bone bruise. Sheehan will need to be cleared by an orthopedic doctor before he can return to action, according to Collier.

In Sheehan’s absence, senior Anthony Pistola shifted from defender to goalkeeper on Tuesday and turned in a big effort in the win over Long Branch. He saved seven shots, including two big ones late in the the game to preserve the 1-0 lead. Simon called Pistola “The best backup keeper I’ve seen.”

Sharper Sting

Holmdel will be a more dangerous team this year with Dan Metzger in the fold and a ton of senior talent around him. That’s not really disputable. What I’m still wondering about is if we can tell how good they are in this division. Last year, Class A Central was so good because of the talent that Raritan, Holmdel, Manasquan and St. John Vianney trotted out. Matawan even had its most talented team in a while, but couldn’t break out of the basement because the rest of the division was so loaded. This year, I just don’t see a team that can challenge Holmdel and that may mask some issues the Hornets may have when they have to play the big boys of the Shore Conference and the Walls and Colts Necks of the world in Group III. Maybe Red Bank will give them some trouble on Thursday on the Bucs’ field, but they are built in the mold of last year’s Raritan team and those Rockets had a more dangerous field through which to navigate.

On Metzger, he looked like a different player Tuesday than he did last year. He was a lot more assertive and if he’s playing loose and with a little bit of an edge, he’s going to be the best player in the conference this season, with apologies to Ethan Decker, Steve Petrosino and Ryan Morris. I thought he was tentative early last year and it sounded in talking to him that injury was always in the back of his mind while playing high school ball, but with his ride to Maryland set and a pair of championships as a real possibility for a senior-heavy team, he and the Hornets look like they’re on a mission.

Metzger is the best player for the Hornets, but that’s like saying “Like a Rolling Stone” was Bob Dylan’s best track on Highway 61 Revisited. Matt Sawaged and Evan Teitelbaum are off to modest statistical starts, but both are skilled and they’re all over the field. Juniors Sean O’Neill and Casey O’Gorman are really solid players who will both be two of the better seniors in the conference next year. Sophomore Erik Bulvid and Chris Moskal have been revelations at stopper and sweeper respectively, while senior Tim Centineo looks to me like one of the most improved players in the conference. In the back, Andrew Zheng is a four-year starter in front of four-year starting keeper Dan Marino. If Marino has the kind of year he’s capable of, the sky is the limit for Holmdel.

In Holmdel’s case, just remember that while there is a lot of talent, there is still a lot to prove.

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4 Responses

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  1. Nick said, on September 25, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Today Holmdel played Rumson Fairhaven and walked all over them. Tim Centineo scored the first goal of the game to put Holmdel in the lead, and came back in the second half and scored his second goal of the game to give them some breathing room at 3-1. Tim Centineo is one of the best soccer players in the conference and may even give the likes of Dan Metzger a run for his money. Tim has always been small for his age so has never got the respect or the playing time he deserved. Despite his size he is one the quickest and more skillful players on the team and makes players twice his size look silly. He is currently leading the team in goals although where he really shines is his vision of the field and his ability to set up plays. Now that he is finally getting his playtime, we are getting a little glimpse of what Holmdel has been missing the past few years

  2. Jon said, on September 25, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    ^^Ive played against the centineo kid, hes pretty small for his age, probably why we didnt see him play much in the past few years. 4 goals and 3 assists? I would be kicking myself if I was nacarlo for not gettin this kid on the field sooner

  3. Jose said, on September 26, 2010 at 12:28 am

    I do not know what the hype is about Holmdel. They have like seven or eight academy players and they are not even that good. They walked around RFH who has one academy player Forest Sexton and its an overstatement to say he is an academy player considering he was cut on match fit and started on NJSA because of how bad they were. Back to holmdel, they have metzger who is going to Maryland and no offense but if you are going to one of the best soccer universities you have to be dominating games like centineo is and i have seen three holmdel games and centineo is looking fresh for now until someone realizes to put a body on him. These kids have had high aspirations for so long and every year i have put them in my top ten but they are not as good as there cocky attitude thinks they are. Dan marino good goalie and plays on academy team but really if you put him up against a regular goalie in the Shore conference and asked me which one was on a academy team, its 50/50 at that point. He just does not stand out. I want to see these guys go far but lets be honest i just do not see it. They will win the division. Big deal. They should. These kids play soccer all year round on the best teams in the nation. SCT champions or state champs, lets not get ahead of ourselves.

  4. Nick said, on October 8, 2010 at 7:46 am

    This week Holmdel silenced all of the doubters when they crushed there division rival, Raritan 5-1. They also beat SJV 3-0 and then went on to Clinch the Shore Conference Central Division with a win against RBR. Holmdel is now 10-0 with the best record in the STATE! Not only is Holmdel undefeated but offensively they are scoring 4-5 goals a game crushing there opponents. Looks like those power rankings are about to go haywire! Holmdel is on pace to run the table in the Shore and retake the State Championship that they won in ’06.
    With the likes of Metzger, Centineo, and Castiglia up front and Zheng, Reidy, and Rieshi back on D, Holmdel seems to have the pieces in place to make the Championship a reality.


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