Manley's Blog

Rebels With a Clue, Reporter Without One

Posted in Uncategorized by mattmanley on October 27, 2010

I was going to make a mention of my picks record going into Tuesday’s quarterfinals, but two things stopped me: 1) Nothing crazy happened, so the picks I made were not all that earth-shattering, and 2) Why jinx it? As it turned out, my lack of picking prowess (I jinxed three teams in three state final games last year) finally reared its ugly head today and I went 1-3. In one case, I and everyone else who expected Holmdel to win can’t feel two incompetent because Holmdel was such a juggernaut and there wasn’t much to suggest this was coming just yet. Nothing obvious anyway.

The other two games, in hindsight, were just flat out wrong. Here’s what went wrong for my picks and right for everyone that advanced to Neptune on Thursday.

The Wedding Singer

My favorite Adam Sandler movie by a wide margin is The Wedding Singer and the Shore Conference’s version of Robbie Hart (Sandler’s character in the movie) continued to make a big impact in the SCT. Howell’s Rob Hart scored two goals off free kicks and Howell steamrolled through Wall in the first half and held on in the second to advance to an impressive fourth semifinal in the last five years. I, of course, picked Wall to knock off the Rebels and leave Hart and his Howell buddies singing “Love Stinks” to a horrified wedding party, but instead they spun Wall right ’round, like a record.

Howell clearly has enough to win this tournament on its best day, but I’m sure coach Rich Yuro still wonders what team is going to show up in the first half to some degree. Today, Howell came out on fire and the game was never in doubt and when Howell plays well, the other team is in for a fight at best and finished at worst. I thought the previous few performances by the Rebels were a bit of a red flag and they put any concerns to bed with the showing today.

I Guess They’re For Real

As great as Toms River South was to finish last season, the loss to Raritan really hung over them heading into this season because it created at least a little doubt that Toms River East could get it done in the Shore Conference Tournament. With a win over Toms River East on Tuesday, the Indians are in the semifinals for the first time in 19 years and can put put last year’s loss to Raritan in the rearview mirror. For the first 65 minutes of South’s win on Tuesday, I was thinking to myself, how could I pick this team to lose? Then Toms River East put a scare into South for the final 15 minutes and when the smoke cleared and Toms River South barely held on, I then found myself thinking…How could I pick this team to lose?

As East coach Ted Gillen said after the game, this group at South just gets it done. It doesn’t matter the style, the talent, the deficit; Toms River South has been finding a way. That’s why there could be no more intriguing semifinal game than the most talented team in the field against the team that refuses to lose. My head will tell me to pick CBA but there will be a part of me that remembers watching that state final against Clifton and watching this year’s team clear play after play off the line to secure games late. That part will believe in Toms River South, and while its way too hard to pick against the red hot Colts right now, Toms River South is the other team that I would bet the farm on to win a big game. More on the semifinal showdown tomorrow.

Upset City

Toms River North’s 2-1 win over Holmdel is every reason to love and hate soccer and sports in general. It all comes down to one truth: Sometimes, the better team doesn’t win. It seems so unfair that a team that demonstrates superior talent might lose, but then again, that a lesser team could still beat a more talented opponent is the reason we watch the games, and in most cases, it’s the reason we route for the underdog when all things are equal.

If you think I’m being too blunt or rushing to judgment about Holmdel outplaying North in a game I didn’t even watch, don’t take my word for it. Just listen to what Joe Mahon told Josh Newman about the game. I thought he was pretty honest is saying that his team had to pick its spots or that it would lose 4-0 or 4-1. Heck, they still could have lost by that margin had Holmdel cashed in on a couple of chances and sat on the lead, but Toms River North’s defense, which is second to none right now, held tight and limited Holmdel’s attack about as well as they could have hoped.

Mahon also talked to Josh about Dan Metzger and I thought his summary was right on the money and it’s  exactly what I thought of Metzger as soon as I saw him for the first time this year. He said that he couldn’t believe the difference between Metzger in his junior year and Metzger in his senior year and he went on to compare him to former Rancocas Valley star and current Duke star Ryan Finley, whose name Mahon could not remember in the quote. That comparison is both warranted and incredible when you consider that the book on Metzger last year was that he was skilled but not dangerous on the attack. Man amongst boys indeed.

Okay Toms River fans, you might not like this but I’ll come out and say it: I was hoping for the CBA-Holmdel final. Can you blame me though? It seems like every year, we end up with rematches from the regular season in the SCT semis and finals and it looked like this year, we might actually get to see two titans with long winning streaks collide. It was the best player (Metzger) vs. the best team and I thought it would have been a hell of a game.

The good news is we could still get an inter-divisional final with CBA-TRN or TRS-Howell. Or we could just get a classic between division rivals. I’m just dreading a 3-1 CBA win over Howell in the final. If someone is going to dominate the final, I at least want it to be a fresh matchup. So don’t take it personally Mariners fans. I’m just hoping for some variety, that’s all.

Oh yeah, and there’s that other team that won. CBA is just on another level right now. I don’t know if that means they can’t be beat or that no one can push them, but there were times today when I thought they were hoping Freehold Township made it a game. Then when they did make a move, CBA would step on their throat a little harder. I don’t know if I’d call it killer instinct with this team, but they don’t stop playing. They always want to sore a goal and if it means looking for a reason to do so, they’ll find one. This is not a flawless team, but their flaws are masked by an immensely talented roster that plays very well together.

The CBA coaches keep saying how good their players are on turf and I’ll believe their assessment more than my notion. I guess I should tell you my notion. I’m not so sure if they’re better on turf. Check that, I believe they are better on turf. I just don’t know if turf will be an advantage. CBA’s one loss this year came on turf, they were on the ropes against Marlboro on turf (they beat them 6-0 on grass) and went to overtime against Middletown South on the surface. Couple that with the fact that they are playing a team that basically plays every game on turf, and maybe you have the answer to beating them. I could be way off, but not much else has worked.

I’m going to get out to the girls games on Wednesday night and I’ll try to write up a spiffy preview on each game for Thursday and do some other stuff if I think of it and have time. Stay tuned.

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5 Responses

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  1. Nick West said, on October 27, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Matt,
    Great report.

  2. Nick West said, on October 27, 2010 at 11:14 am

    great report

  3. Nick said, on October 27, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I was at the TRN .vs. Holmdel game and it was clearly dominated by Holmdel. Holmdel was romping the TRN defense with unrelenting attacks and multiple shots on goal. Holmdel controlled the ball on offense for the majority of the game. The game easily could’ve been 4-1 or 5-1. Holmdel just couldn’t seem to put one in the net. TRN had very few opportunities on offense but they made the most of them by putting one in on a corner kick and a second on a free kick that was simply misjudged by Holmdels goalie Dan Marino. Officiating is something nobody seems to ever talk about it but it really seems to be a big problem on the high school level. The referees all season have performed mediocre or below par. Constantly either missing easy calls, or just making the absolute wrong call. I’ve seen the refs call fouls from 50 yards away or call a throw in from the other side of the field. You can’t make the right call in your not in the right position.
    The free kick that TRN scored on to give them the lead against Holmdel was a called foul for tripping against Holmdel by a ref who was standing no where near the play, meanwhile myself being right there saw that the TRN Player tripped over his own two feet. It sad to see lousy calls decide the difference in the game. Holmdel being on the offensive side of the ball for most of the game, were on a shooting frenzy inside the 18 and on at least 2-3 ooccasions a Holmdel player was seriously fouled or taken down in the box and there would be no call. Not trying to take anything away from TRN or use the officiating as a scape goat but the fact is the refs are atrocious and it has a serious effect on the sport and the game.

    I would still like to see Holmdel play CBA in a friendly, and don’t see why something can’t be scheduled. I know the kids would be stoked to play that game and the fans would as well. Holmdel and CBA are clearly the two best teams in the shore.

  4. Iwasatthegame2 said, on October 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Nick, your assessment of the game is completely correct but if you are going to talk about the officiating you have to mention that Metzger’s put back goal was clearly offsides. Also, physical play is a big part of soccer and just because Holmdel did not scores goals does not mean that they were fouled. If anything, I thought that Holmdel was the more physical team. Just saying!

  5. Nicotinic Acid said, on January 25, 2011 at 4:37 pm

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