Manley's Blog

Howell-Freehold Twp. Thoughts and More

Posted in Uncategorized by mattmanley on October 8, 2010

Rob Hart’s shot that pulled Howell even with Freehold Township Thursday evening and sent the game to overtime pretty much summed up the season for these two teams in the Class A North season. As big as Hart’s shot was, I couldn’t help but think about how his potential game-tying rip a day earlier against CBA sailed wide left, while this one found the net. It seems like someone is going to need to catch a break to beat CBA and Howell’s break came a day late. Meanwhile, Freehold Township is looking like it did last year when it couldn’t buy a big win down the stretch even in games in which the Pats played well. They played Thursday without leading scorer Ryan Morris and still played well behind a big effort from Matt Jeffery, but could not get a win for the third time in four games. Once Howell got the tying goal, though, luck was not on their side. The Rebels missed about three golden opportunities to win the game, but ultimately came up empty.

That means that now CBA is just a win away from locking up the division title, which is essentially a formality right now. I went into this week thinking that someone in A North would pick them off (I’ve been leaning Marlboro ever since the Colts’ 5-1 win over Township) but after these last two games, I’m starting to think the planets are aligned for an undefeated season in A North. The way Hart’s shot missed on Wednesday but found the net on Thursday. The way Nick Villani’s game-tying goal Wednesday ricocheted off a Howell defender and bent perfectly, enough to get by the keeper before curving inside the post. That highlight is more remarkable every time I watch it. It makes me think CBA is going to be the team that rides the wave of good fortune – and of course good soccer – to an SCT title and perhaps even beyond.

Wild win clinches A Central

For the third straight year, the game that clinched an A Central title came down to overtime, but this time, it wasn’t Raritan winning it. Holmdel shook off Red Bank with a 5-4 win in overtime after squandering a 4-2 lead in the second half. I talked to Holmdel coach John Nacarlo about it and while it’s only one account, it sounded like a weird game. Holmdel went up 3-2 at half and Dan Metzger then had to leave because of a club commitment after a two-goal half. The Hornets them made it 4-2 and proceeded to moss three breakaway attempts, one of which was a great save by Jake Simon in goal.

From there, Red Bank scored to make it a one goal game and then got their second penalty kick of the game on a yellow card after keeper Dan Marino secured the ball. Alex Castiglia bailed the Hornets out though, coming off the bench in the middle of the second overtime and scoring 30 seconds later for the game-winner, his second goal of the game. Holmdel had allowed only five goals in nine games before allowing four on Thursday, and while the number may be eye-opening, it appears to be a blip on the radar. Red Bank has some dangerous players and two of the goals came on penalty kicks, so I wouldn’t jump off the Holmdel bandwagon based on one game. Some might say that it’s been four years and I’ve never jumped off the Holmdel bandwagon for anything anyway. Why start now?

Newsflash

I don’t think this is news, but I still don’t know what to make of B North. Colts Neck handled a Long Branch team that is all of the sudden in a fight to stay in the SCT field and while it’s not surprising that Colts Neck plays well, I’m a little on edge every time I open coach Art Collier’s emails now. I used to expect a 4-0 Colts Neck win, but the pack has caught up to them at this point. If they get healthy, they’ll be okay, but at this point, they still need to do some work to win the division.

Just when it looked like Red Bank Catholic was hitting on all cylinders and Monmouth was losing steam, the Falcons pull out a tie against RBC . That probaly takes RBC out of the picture for the outright division title, but they could still be dangerous against a team like Colts Neck in the near future.

Championship Friday?

Lacey sure hope so. The Lions can become the second team to clinch a division title if they can beat Central on its home field. Even though Lacey has been dominant in its division and is currently on a six-game winning streak, I’m expecting a big performance out of Central. They have been a terrific home team over the last two seasons and when the Golden Eagles have talent – and they have talent this year – they are next to unbeatable at home, at least against divisional opponents. Central is still playing from behind int he division because they have a tie and Lacey does not, but a win would at least give Central a decent win to take them into the postseason.

The Wall-Point Boro showdown is probably even more intriguing because the winner will most likely be the division champion. If Wall wins, they could lose one of their last three games in the division and still win the first ever C Central championship. While Wall will have the most flack on their proverbial rope if they win, Point Boro would be set up well in their own right with a win Friday. If the Panthers win, they would need only two wins – both against Lakewood – to lock up the division. I’ve seen each team a couple of times and I think they are pretty even with a slight edge to Wall simply on depth. Boro, however, is battle-tested and very even with Wall as far as talent goes and could very easily put up a 2-0 win on their home field. Call me crazy, but I smell overtime.

In other action…

Toms River North will try to stay hot when its hosts TR South at 7, while Southern is all of the sudden in desperate need of a win to stay in the SCT hunt as they prepare to host TR East Friday. A lot of top seeds would breathe easy knowing they did not have to prepare for Ethan Decker.

Marlboro and Manalapan face off in what I believe is a must-win for both squads. At 3-5, Marlboro needs to get it going, especially considering they have CBA, Freehold Township and Colts Neck still waiting on the schedule, while Manalapan has Howell and CBA waiting. Not a friendly schedule for either team, especially coming off a loss.

Two more days left in the week and then we hit the stretch run leading up to the SCT. We’ll have an idea how C Central and B South look after tomorrow and we could see Toms River North thrust itself into the A South mix to further complicate that picture. A South and B North are discussions for next week and should give us plenty of regular season drama to close out the year.

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One Response

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  1. Nick said, on October 13, 2010 at 3:41 am

    I want to see CBA vs Holmdel in the State Finals…I think Holmdel is taking this thing to the house!


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