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When Wall junior Joe Tashjy transferred from Christian Brothers Academy to Wall for this school year, he would have been safe to assume that he would not be facing his former team at any point during the soccer season. Wall and CBA had not played each other since the 2000 season and that was a pick-up game between the Shore Conference and NJSIAA Tournaments.

Wall junior Joe Tashjy, a transfer from CBA, set up the Crimson Knights' game-winner in a 1-0 win at CBA on Saturday. (Photo by Matt Manley)

Fittingly enough, the arrival of Tashjy to Wall coincided with the first postseason meeting between his current team and his former team since 1998. Eerily enough, the ball was at his feet with the Shore Conference Tournament round-of-16 game on the line.

Tashjy chipped the ball over a CBA wall on a free kick from 30 yards out in the 74th minute and Brendan Barcas headed the well-placed service the far right corner of the goal for the game-winner in 11th-seeded Wall’s 1-0 win over the No. 6 Colts Saturday at Christian Brothers Academy.

“To be honest, I was more dreading this than anything,” Tashjy admitted. “I’m still friends with those guys over there and I have nothing but respect and admiration for Coach (Dan) Keane and Coach (Jeff) Matson. They treated me as well as I could have been treated, so there were no feeling of revenge or wanting to beat them or anything like that. I just wanted to help my team win, whoever it was against and today, it happened to be CBA.”

Wall advances the SCT quarterfinals to play No. 3 Rumson-Fair Haven, 1-0 winners over Monsignor Donovan Saturday night. The Crimson Knights will look to advance to their first SCT semifinal since 2004 with one more win on the road. Since a string of four straight ties that put them at 4-1-6, the Crimson Knights have ripped off seven straight wins.

“We were just having a lot of trouble finishing goals during that stretch, but that has all changed,” said Barcas, who scored off a free kick that was awarded after freshman Dan Frisch-Harmon drew a foul in the middle of the field. “First of all, we got Tashjy back after he sat 30 days. Having a guy who can hold the ball in the defensive center midfield just opens up the field for the guys who are looking to go forward and it’s allowed us to be more dangerous.”

[onescreen item="5153964"]According to Wall coach Garry Linstra, Tashjy was an instrumental part of the preparation for CBA because of his familiarity with the Colts players and style. Tashjy was specifically helpful in preparing for speedy junior forward and Colts leading scorer Russell Romano.

“Joe was real helpful in practice as far as giving our guys an idea of what to expect from their big players,” Linstra said. “With Romano, we knew he was fast and we asked Joe if our center back, Cameron Wenz, could run with him and Tashjy said he could. With that in mind, we didn’t have to completely commit to putting defenders behind him. He did get some chances, but those were the result of some breakdowns in our formation that we corrected.”

Tashjy’s input helped his teammates anticipate CBA’s tendencies and when he had a chance to help his team, he went away from his usual practice. Tashjy had taken two shots on free kicks earlier in the game and with CBA anticipating another shot, he decided to change things up.

“Those guys know I’m going to shoot the ball,” Tashjy said. “I did it earlier in the game a couple times and it’s what I’ve always done on direct kicks, so I was just looking to change it up on them a little bit. They were getting ready for the shot, so I just looked to chip it over top of them and I knew Brendan was going to be there.”

“We were totally on the same page on that play,” Barcas said. “He didn’t need to give me a look or anything. We knew we were going to try that play at some point, so I set up to make the run and once he played the ball, I went and got it.”

Tashjy scored three goals as a sophomore for the Colts while playing mostly up top in CBA’s formations. After sitting his required 30 days as a transfer who did not change residence, Tashjy has fit into the defensive center midfield role. Meanwhile, the Colts have bounced back from their first ever losing season under Keane by reaching the SCT again with its youngest lineup ever.

“Joe is a great kid and he was a pleasure to have in the program for the time he was here,” Keane said.  “His family has been a part of CBA and he made a decision that was best for him and there are never any hard feelings when that happens. I’m glad he’s happy and that he is getting a lot out of playing for Garry and that Garry is getting a lot out of him. It’s worked out well for everybody involved, even though it would have been nice if we won today.”

Each team had scoring chances prior to Wall’s breakthrough with both goalkeepers making key saves. Wall senior Chris Barcas, older brother of Brendan, ripped a screaming shot from 25 yards out that CBA goalkeeper David Krall defected just enough to lift the ball up off the crossbar in the 38th minute. That shot by Barcas was Wall’s first shot on goal of the game after CBA had created three shots for itself.

[onescreen item="5153992"]“I thought this game had overtime written all over it,” Tashjy said. “Both teams were possessing in the midfield and we were defending against their possession a lot. When they get the ball, it’s almost like a half-court offense in basketball, they work it around so much. There weren’t going to be a lot of shots and the first team that took advantage of a chance was going to win.”

The Colts made some dangerous runs in the first half, but their best chance to score came in the 53rd minute when Romano broke through the last line of defense for a breakaway against Crimson Knights goalkeeper Jack Wishart. After Romano took a touch toward the goal, Wishart came out to meet the shot and deflected the attempt over the crossbar.

“In situations like that, I know the shooter is supposed to score and I know he’s thinking that, so I just try to put the pressure on him,” Wishart said. “When I saw Romano coming at me, my first instinct was to charge him, cut down the angle and make him rush the shot.”

[onescreen item="5153994"]Wishart and the defense were able to keep CBA off the scoreboard, with the junior keeper making three saves. He also got help from the defense, especially from Wenz, who ran down Romano early in the first half when Romano had dribbled through the defense and appeared to be in the clear. As Romano wound up for a shot, Wenz stormed from behind and cleared the ball away from Romano’s feet.

[onescreen item="5153993"]Although Wall is still looking to clear the last hurdle before the Shore Conference final four for the first time in nine years, the win over CBA marks the most significant win for the Crimson Knights since they won the NJSIAA Group III title in 2005. Most seasons since 2004 have been like the 2012 campaign, during which Wall lost to Jackson Memorial in the SCT quarterfinal and eventual Group III co-champion Princeton in the Central Group III quarterfinals. Both teams were formidable opponents that were just out of Wall’s reach. Saturday, the Crimson Knights went on the road and defeated a CBA team that, while still the youngest varsity squad in program history, is an overall power in the Shore area.

“This is a huge win for the program,” Linstra said. “We have been losing kids to CBA for years, so this sends a message to kids who are making that decision that they are going to have a chance to play for something at Wall. We’ve started to get some kids to come back and to stay, but it’s an ongoing battle to keep kids here. A win really helps to deliver the message that we have a winner right here.”

Box Score

Wall 1, CBA 0




Wall (11-1-6)




CBA (9-4-2)




Goals (Assists): B. Barcas (Tashjy) 74’
Shots: Tied, 5-5
Saves: (W) Wishart 3; (CBA) Kral 2