Manley's Blog

Story of the Day: B Central?

Posted in Uncategorized by mattmanley on September 25, 2010

It’s not very often that big news comes out of Class B Central. It’s usually “Shore wins, St. Rose wins, Point Beach or Mater Dei gets a key win, and the sun sets in the west.” Strangely enough, this was the only Friday with Class B Central divisional games scheduled and it turned out to be as crazy a day as could be. Asbury Park stayed hot with a 1-0 win over Shore on the road, while Point Beach shook off a 4-0 loss to those Blue Bishops and beat the defending division champion St. Rose 1-0, ending the Purple Roses’ 24-game winning streak in Class B Central spanning three seasons in surprising fashion.

The last team to beat St. Rose in the division? You got it. Point Beach in 2008. The Garnet Gulls were contenders in the B Central for the middle part of the decade, but went through a rebuilding phase last year and it continued with a rocky start to this year. The 4-0 loss to Asbury on Thursday appeared to be the final nail in the coffin for the Gulls this year, but a win over St. Rose opens up the possible scenarios in which the Gulls can do something in the Group I tournament. Joe Saverino is a senior standout on a very young team and he came up with another big goal on Friday. The impressive thing about it was that the Gulls had to hang onto the lead for 64 minutes against a team that’s usually very comfortable playing with three forwards. On their home field though, the Gulls have given the Roses fits and it continued Friday. In some ways, the home way isn’t a shocker, but St. Rose looked set up to run the division table and that all ended abruptly thanks to the Gulls.

While Asbury clearly showed signs of vast development, I don’t think many people took serious the notion that the Bishops could go to Shore Regional and beat the Blue Devils on their home field. Sure the Bishops took them to OT before losing the first meeting, but that was on a smaller field at Asbury Park. Surely, the regulation pitch would favor the Devils.

Not so. Asbury Park is a fast team with a host of newcomers who have come in and made an instant impact around returnees Patrick Garius and Jean Bartelus and they played Shore close for 65 minutes before finally breaking through on a goal by Clifford Cazeau. While he does not lead the team in goals, Cazeau has been the most consistent scorer on a game-to-game basis for the Bishops and is one of the newcomers who has made a major difference. He also scored the tying goal that sent the first meeting two overtime, making him a certifiable Blue Devil killer at this point. Junior Sergilles Casseus has been the hot hand on the team, with five goals in the previous two games before going scoreless on Friday. He is a 6-3 forward with speed and has caused serious problems up top for Shore in two meetings.

Asbury is now 3-3-1 and has won three straight since getting off to a frustrating 0-3-1 start. In those first four games, Asbury lost a one-goal game to Manchester, an overtime game against Shore and settled for a rain-shortened tie against Mater Dei when the Seraphs scored int he 74th to tie the game. The other loss was a 7-1 drubbing at Red Bank and since the Mater Dei tie, Asbury has not allowed a goal while topping Point Beach, Henry Hudson and Shore. The 4-0 win over a Point Beach team that just beat St. Rose makes the Tuesday meeting between Shore and Asbury a lot more intriguing than it seemed at the beginning of this week.

In case you couldn’t tell by the story the TRE-Jackson game was ugly. Jackson probably deserved to win because they controlled the pace and direction of the game, but the Jaguars have victimized many a team with a goal after the other team controlled play. Steve Bado put it best, and very refreshingly I thought: “You can play great between the 18s, but the point of the game is to score goals and keep it out of your net. We want to be good around the goal and give East credit. Maybe they didn’t play as well as they thought they could, but when they had a chance to score, they did.”

Look, I like watching a well-played game between the 18s. It looks much better and it’s certainly better for my highlights when it does lead to a goal. But Bado said what everybody thinks when they read and hear things like, “We controlled the game” or we out possessed them.” Of course possession is a means to an end for the teams that are looking for it, but why must every team that doesn’t play that style be regarded as some pretender team. I hear coaches scoff at the direct, kick-and-run style all the time and you can say all you want that the game should be played one way or another, but ultimately, isn’t the point to win within the rules of the game as enforced by the officials?

I told you Squan would play in a lot of shutouts. Since allowing four goals to Holmdel on opening day with two starters out of the lineup for ACT testing, the Warriors have allowed three goals in five games, but are only 2-2-1 in those games. Basically, when the Warriors scored they can win and if they could have done that today, they would have pulled off the stunner.

Wall losing opens the door for Point Boro to win the division if it can win its games leading up to its home match with the Crimson Knights. The Panthers played them tough the first time, so a Point Boro championship is far from impossible. By the way, apologies on the scheduling snafu. Point Boro plays Liberty on Saturday instead of  on Friday.

Central gets a dramatic win over Barnegat and they certainly needed it. Coach Rob Bechtloff has been a little disappointed with his team’s start and staring down a 2-0 deficit in the final seven minutes against Barnegat had to have the Eagles sweating it out. The win keeps them in the hunt and perhaps it will propel them into a bit of a groove. As well as Lacey’s played, remember that the Lions struggled once October rolled around, so don’t crown them just yet.

Zach Hicks continued his strong play with two goals to help CBA pull out a 3-0 win over Middletown North. You have to feel for the Lions. They’ve given up basically all of their goals against in the last quarter of the game since the opening day win against Manalapan. Speaking of which, if not for a three-goal outburst from Tom Vazquez, Middletown North could be looking at 0-6 right now. Things can always be worse and hopefully for the talented Lions, they’ll get better.

Brick Memorial had played tough in all but two of its games and was overdue for a win. They beat a team that has been the definition of inconsistent in scoring in Toms River North. Sophomore Travis Ciffarelli is fast emerging as a real player in A South and he scored another big goal Friday. It was bound to happen sometime, but I’m going to draw the parallel between this year’s TR North team and last year’s TR South team: 2-3 start, junior-heavy, trouble scoring, defensive issues to start the season, new goalie working into the lineup. The  junior talent is there around five key seniors, four of whom are in the starting lineup, so give the Mariners time. They’ll fly under the radar for the next few weeks, but they’ll be dangerous the second time through the schedule.

Marlboro is off to a 1-3 start, and while that’s not that surpising, I do find it surprising that the Mustangs are struggling to score. Marlboro has scored only three goals in four games, one of which was a penalty kick in a 4-1 loss to Howell and another was a tack-on in the final seconds in a 2-0 win over Middletown North. That should change eventually and if the Stangs can keep teams out of the net, I’ll still be waiting on the run toward the postseason.

Speaking of A North surprises, Manalapan has won three straight and will try to make it four Saturday against an undermanned Howell, which will play without Ozcan Onder, who will sit for the final game of his two-game red-card suspension. Manalapan isn’t that much of a surprise to this point, but a win over the current No. 2 team could thrust the Braves into the Top 10 mix.

I think the teams we’ll learn the most about Saturday are Long Branch and Raritan. The Rockets have a lot of new starters and can put a 3-0 loss far in the rearview mirror if they can top St. John Vianney at home. Long Branch remained strong in a win over Ocean and now must face a Monmouth team that has played pretty well so far. Long Branch hasn’t had the winning feel in a while, so we’ll see how the younger guys on the team handle it. Colts Neck also returns to action against Ocean, who could pose some problems. The days off should help the Cougars heal up after getting beat up over the last week, but Sheehan is not a shoe in to return in goal.

If Saturday’s is anything like Friday, stay tuned for some chaos in the next Top 20.

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