Boys Soccer – 2015 Preview: Class B North
In a division that lost a lot of talent from a year ago, Ocean and its nine returning starters, impact freshman class and Monmouth-University-bound standout senior leader look like the class of Class B North.
In Predicted Order of Finish
Head Coach: Tom Reilly, 31st season
2014 Record: 9-8-2 (8-3-1, tied second in B North)
Returning Players: Wadneson Alexis (Sr., Forward/Midfield), Marlhens Nasanes (Sr., Forward), Luis Araya (Sr., Defense), Ryan Wells (Sr., Defense/Midfield), Yianni Kavarakas (Sr., Goalkeeper), Joe Abrams (Sr., Midfield), Brandon Holland (Jr., Defense), Ian Dwyer (Jr., Midfield), Jordan Franco (Sr., Defense), Braylin Estrella (Sr., Defense), Tom Amato (Sr., Defense/Midfield), Kevin Astudillo (Sr., Midfield), Jordan Ornowski (Jr., Midfield), Cosimo Franze (Jr., Midfield), Mike Mauro (So., Defense), Stephen Carton (So., Forward)
Key Losses: Claudio Martins (Midfield), Teddy Eugenis (Midfield)
Newcomers: Sergio Periera (Jr., Defense), Job Cajas (So., Midfield), Santino Harding (Fr., Forward), James Schutz (Fr., Midfield), Thomas Gleason (So., Goalkeeper)
With a talented, junior-heavy team last year, the Spartans probably would like to have squeezed more out of that roster than a 9-8-2 season that ended with a first-round NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III Tournament exit that came after a loss in the Shore Conference Tournament round of 16. On the bright side, almost the entire roster returns this year and will have a chance at redemption this year. The Spartans return a group that lost just two senior starters and will infuse a talented collection of newcomers with one of the most talented senior classes in the Shore Conference.
Fresh off committing to Monmouth University, senior Wadneson Alexis returns for his fourth varsity season after a preseason knee injury hampered him during the early part of his junior campaign. Alexis was a first-team All-Shore forward as a sophomore, a second-team midfielder last year and with two All-Shore seasons and a key role on an SCT championship team as a freshman, he has the most decorated résumé of any Shore Conference player in his class and the talent to match. The Spartans also return dangerous striker Marlhens Nasanes (six goals in 2014), athletic 6-foot-3 goalkeeper Yianni Kavarakas, steady central defender Ryan Wells, speedy defender Luis Araya and versatile midfielder Joe Abram as seniors.
Juniors Brandon Holland, Ian Dwyer, Cozimo Franze and Jordan Ornowski will play roles in the formation again this season and the freshman duo of Santino Harding and James Schutz will contribute right away while representing a deep class of Spartans rookies. Ocean’s 2014 was a down year following an SCT semifinal appearance in 2013 and a conference championship in 2012, but with a stacked senior roster back and some incoming talent to boot, last year looks like a minor bump in the road for one of the Shore’s top programs.
Head Coach: Adrian Castro, fourth season
2014 Record: 11-7-2 (6-5-1, fourth in B North)
Returning Players: Juan Carlos Merino (So., Midfield), Ygor DaSilva (Sr., Defense), Diego Galiz (Sr., Defense), Leo DaSilva (Sr., Midfield), Caique Sousa (Jr., Defense), Kevin Solano (Sr., Goalkeeper), Gilberto Matildes (Sr., Goalkeeper), Hernan Acevedo (So., Forward), Joao Pessoa (Jr., Midfield), Jairo Castro (Sr., Midfield)
Key Losses: Guillerme De Novaes (Forward), Sam Hernandez (Midfield), Manny Camacho (Midfield), Gibranni Padilla (Midfield), Marco Fonseca (Defense), Gregory Borba (Forward)
Newcomers: Vanancio Fernandes (So., Midfield), Daniel Santos (So., Defense), Mario Galiz (So., Defense), Derick Rodriguez (So., Midfield), Lucas DePaula (Sr., Forward)
After a 2013 season that unraveled from the preseason through its conclusion, Long Branch bounced back with a strong showing in 2014 that yielded mixed results during the regular season before a steady stream of quality performances as the postseason hit. The Green Wave hopes to have found its groove at the tail end of coach Adrian Castro’s third year, and the system will have to be part of the solution for a team that graduated a heap of production, as well as senior leadership with the departures of Guilherme DeNovaes (23 goals), Sam Hernandez (3 goals) and Manny Camacho (six goals).
Long Branch returns one of the breakout players in B North last year in sophomore Juan Carlos Merino, who was one of 18 finalists in the national Sueño MLS competition. The competition is a national search for undiscovered talent featuring players from all over the world and Merino was one of five players selected at one of the three initial tryouts – in his case, hosted by Orlando City FC in Fla. – to go on to the national competition in Los Angeles. Merino scored four goals to go with eight assists as a freshman starter for the Green Wave.
Seniors Ygor DaSilva and Diego Galiz return to anchor the defense in front of the returning senior goalkeeper tandem of Kevin Solano and Gilberto Matildes. With DeNovaes and his 23 goals gone, Long Branch will also rely on sophomore forward and Brazil native Hernan Acevedo, who has grown into his 6-3 frame after playing in spurts last year. Those goals will be difficult to replace, but there is still plenty of young talent on the attack and strong senior presence on the defense that should help Long Branch remain competitive again in 2015.
Head Coach: Garry Linstra, 14th season
2014 Record: 14-5-2 (9-2-1, first in B North)
Returning Players:, Zach Ferry (Sr., Defense), Dan Frisch-Harmon (Jr., Midfield), Reilly Barcas (Sr., Midfield), John Callaghan (Sr., Defense), Jordan Bloom (Sr., Midfield), Ben Kernis (Jr., Defense), Ryan Gordan (Jr., Forward), Dakota Dobrovich-Fago (Jr., Midfield), Tyler Skelly (Sr., Forward), Nolan Cloney (Jr., Goalkeeper)
Key Losses: Brendan Barcas (Midfield), Zach Hetzel (Forward), Joe Tashjy (Midfield), Matt DeGenova (Defense), Jack Wishart (Goalkeeper), Zach Aylett (Defense), Colin Nies (Defense), Michael Wheeler (Midfield), Dean Sabo (Forward), Gerardo Medina (Midfield) – Transferred to St. Benedict’s, Connor Fry (Forward)
Newcomers: Jeremy Thompson (So., Forward), Robbie Wood (Sr., Defense), Chris Fay (Sr., Defense), Pat Cole (Sr., Defense), Jim Byrnes (Sr., Defense), Colin Douglas (Jr., Defense), Kevin Kile (So., Midfield), Roshen Eapen (Sr., Midfield), Brett Deane (Sr., Midfield), Nick Surgent (So., Midfield), Japheth Sequra (Sr., Forward), Brendan Embon (So., Goalkeeper)
This season was set to challenge the depth of the Wall program to begin with, but circumstances have left Wall heading into 2015 with only two returning starters from last year’s Class B North division championship team and Shore Conference Tournament runner-up. In addition to graduating first-team All-Shore midfielder Brendan Barcas and all-division players Joe Tashjy, Zach Hetzel, Matt DeGenova and Jack Wishart, the Knights also lost current senior Gerardo Medina to St. Benedict’s Prep and senior Connor Fry (eight goals in 2014) elected not to play high school soccer this year.
That leaves coach Garry Linstra to tap into the lower levels to build around returning starters Dan Frisch-Harmon and Zach Ferry. Frisch-Harmon earned a reputation as one of the Shore Conference’s top defensive center midfielders as a sophomore last year and will hold the formation together again this year while Ferry returns to the back four. Senior Reilly Barcas also played significant minutes last season and scored a pair of goals as an early-option of the bench.
Wall will look to junior Nolan Cloney to replace Wishart in goal, as well as to junior Ryan Gordan and sophomore Jeremy Thompson for scoring punch up top. The defense will also go through an overhaul, with senior John Callaghan and junior Ben Kernis looking to take over larger roles after coming off the bench last year. There will be more turnover at Wall than was expected this year, but the return of Frisch-Harmon alone will keep the Crimson Knights in the mix while the new starters jell.
Red Bank Catholic
Head Coach: John Butler, first season
2014 Record: 8-13 (3-9, sixth in B North)
Returning Players: Jake Wosledger (Sr., Defense), Kyle Bates (Sr., Midfield), Jack Pelech (Sr., Forward), Sammy Robertson (Sr., Defense), Luke Riley (Sr., Defense), John Corcoran (Sr., Forward), John Keefe (Jr., Midfield), Sebastian Pena (So., Midfield), Blaise Tamburri (So., Forward)
Key Losses: Chris Cesario (Forward), Kevin Davey (Midfield/Forward), Bryan Andrews (Midfield), Connor Fogler (Goalkeeper), Sammy Ettore (Defense)
Newcomers: Chris Lamb (Sr., Defense), Mike Dell’Anno (Sr., Defense), Paddy Sciortino (Jr., Forward), Jack Taylor (Jr., Midfield), Vince Renna (Jr., Goalkeeper), Mike Culkin (Jr., Midfield), Ryan Cinque (Jr., Defense), Matt Obermann (So., Defense), Andrew Schweizer (Fr., Goalkeeper), Alex Nichols (Fr., Forward)
The Caseys took their lumps during a challenging Class B North schedule and then caught fire heading into November for the NJSIAA Non-Public A playoffs. Now, RBC will look overcome the loss of its top three scorers from a year ago to build on its run to the South Jersey Non Public A, which ended with a 4-0 loss to CBA, the No. 3 team in the conference at year’s end.
While Chris Cesario, Kevin Davey and Bryan Andrew accounted for 32 combined goals last year, the emergence of Jack Pelech and John Corcoran – both of whom will play forward as seniors this year – helped spark the seven-game winning streak that concluded with two NJSIAA wins over Donovan Catholic and Gloucester Catholic. The senior striker tandem will lead the attack while the defense remains largely intact with the return of seniors Jake Wosledger, Sammy Robertson and Luke Riley.
The midfield will look different this season with senior Kyle Bates, sophomore Sebastian Pena and junior John Keefe taking on larger roles this season. The goalkeeper spot is also open with the graduation of Connor Fogler and junior Vince Renna and freshman Andrew Schweizer are up for the job. Under new coach John Butler, the Caseys will compete for a better showing within a division that appears to have a heavy favorite in Ocean but is otherwise inexperienced.
Head Coach: Art Collier, 18th season
2014 Record: 8-9-1 (6-6-0, fifth in B North)
Returning Players: Tice Smit (Sr., Goalkeeper), Rob Berdel (Sr., Midfield), Owen Keusch (Jr., Defense), Chris Greco (Sr., Forward), Michael Martinho (Jr., Forward), Logan Thomsen (Sr., Midfield), Dean Raynor (Sr., Defense), Ryan Tompkins (Sr., Defense), Noah Baker (Sr., Goalkeeper)
Key Losses: Taylor Demick (Midfield), Brian Knauf (Midfield), Josh Fox (Defense), Mick Lee (Forward), Kevin Murch (Forward), Kevin Colonna (Defense), Brett Cohen (Forward), Colten LaLima (Defense), Louis Reale (Midfield) – Academy Commitment (Argentina)
Newcomers: Zach Ferchak (So., Forward), Connor Sager (So., Midfield), Zach Shaffer (So., Defense), Chris Strzalkowski (So., Defense), Jason Visco (So., Defense), Cristian Saavedra (Jr., Midfield), Amro Dewedar (Jr., Midfield), Jake Moore (Jr., Forward), Geoff Bartner (Sr., Defense), Palmer Demick (Sr., Midfield), Rafat Mowla (Sr., Defense), Brian Chehanske (Jr., Defense)
Like Wall, Colts Neck returned to the field this year a little shorter than anticipated. In addition to losing seven senior starters to graduation, junior midfielder Louis Reale moved to Argentina to try out for the Boca Junior Youth Academy in Buenos Aires. That is six more goals the Cougars will have to replace and they will have to do it with a young lineup lacking in varsity experience.
Senior Tice Smith enters his third year as the starting goalkeeper to give Colts Neck some stability behind an all-new starting defense. Seniors Rob Berdel and Logan Thomsen return to the midfield after starting as juniors, but the list of returning starters ends there. On the plus side, junior Michael Martinho scored three goals in part-time duty last year and will see an increased roll at the top of the formation. Junior Owen Keusch and seniors Dean Raynor and Ryan Tompkins all return as defenders with varsity experience and sophomores Zach Shaffer, Chris Strzalkowski and Jason Visco will bring some youth to the back.
Sophomores Zach Ferchak and Connor Sager will add to the attack and junior international transfers Cristian Saavedra – who moved from Santiago, Chile - and Amro Dewedar (Egypt) will contribute in the midfield. With so little returning production, 2015 has the look of a rebuilding year for Colts Neck but the Cougars do not typically stay down long. At some point this year, the young lineup is likely to be competitive with the top teams in the B North and, eventually, the conference.
Head Coach: John Knight, 10th season
2014 Record: 1-14-1 (0-12-0, seventh in B North)
Returning Players: Danny Fonrose (Sr., Midfield), Vinny Tremarco (Sr., Forward), Ming Connors (Sr., Defense), Tyler Schembri (Sr., Midfield), Irving Rodriguez (Jr., Goalkeeper), Matt Jegou (Sr., Midfield), Greg Schemazel (Sr., Defense)
Key Losses: Urial Santiago (Forward), Eliezer Santiago (Defense), Casey Schembri (Defense), Spencer Holt (Defense)
Newcomers: WilbAlex Alfred (Fr., Forward), McKenna Church (Fr., Midfield), Bobby Newman (So., Defense), Stephan Jenkins (So., Midfield), Dylan Schembri (So., Midfield), Sebastian Cardinas (Jr., Midfield), Alex Canjura (Sr., Midfield), Jake Gibbon (Sr., Midfield), Take King (Sr., Defense)
Class B North featured six teams that all had a good run at some point during the season, and the only team in the division not in that group was Neptune. Coming off a one-win season, the Scarlet Fliers return seven seniors to the starting lineup. While returning starters from a 1-14 team does not guarantee a turnaround, most of the division features teams looking to replace starters, which should help Neptune catch up.
Seniors Vinny Tremarco and Danny Fonrose return to the lineup as three-year starters who will help lead the attack – Tremarco at forward and Fonrose in the midfield. Senior Tyler Schembri returns after missing the season due to an injury he suffered in goal, after which returning junior Irving Gonzalez replaced him in the net. Senior Matt Jegou is also back in the midfield, while seniors Ming Connors and Greg Schemazel return to the defense.
If the returning players should give the Scarlet Fliers some direction, the youth movement could push them over the top. Freshmen WilbAlex Alfred and McKenna Church will both make an instant impact, with Alfred taking a spot up top as a goal-scoring threat. Asking a pair of freshmen to ignite a complete turnaround is probably unreasonable, but with a core of returning starters already in place, Neptune has a chance for a significant turnaround.
Head Coach: Sean Reid, sixth season
2014 Record: 13-6-1 (8-3-1, tied second in B North)
Returning Players: Louis Tiro (Sr., Midfield), Jacob Curtis (Sr., Defense), Chris Fuentes (Jr., Midfield), Max Lane (Jr., Midfield), Jake Lane (Jr., Defense), Jake MacIntyre (Jr., Midfield), Dee Caban (Jr., Midfield)
Key Losses: Justin Gilson (Forward), Sam MacPherson (Sr., Midfield), Dylan Fogerty (Midfield), Justin Delaney (Midfield), Randy Boehler (Midfield), Joe Malley (Defense), Connor Kelly (Goalkeeper), Aaron Williams (Defense/Midfield), Chris LeFever (Midfield), Brian Fuentes (Defense), Michael Colao (Midfield) – Academy Commitment
Newcomers: Raul Rodriguez (So., Defense), Ryan LeFever (So., Defense), Patrick Karr (Jr., Defense), Jack MacPherson (So., Goalkeeper), Colin Baker (So., Goalkeeper), Robert DeMarco (Fr. Forward), Chris Valdentano (Jr., Forward/Defense), Isreal Olivera (Jr., Forward)
With Neptune appearing poised to join the division race this year, there does not appear to be an easy win in this division, which means the team that finishes last will likely be a pretty good team. While Red Bank could certainly remain competitive within the division this season, the Bucs have to replace one of the most talented and productive classes the program has had. Justin Gilson scored 45 goals over the past two first-team All-Shore seasons and Sam MacPherson was a third-team All-Shore players in 2014 before moving on to play at Sacred Heart.
With only three starters back from last year’s squad, the Bucs will have to plug holes in the formation and find scoring. Senior Louis Tiro and junior Max Lane return to the lineup, while junior Chris Fuentes also chipped in last season with a goal and four assists. Senior Jacob Curtis and junior Jake Lane will also help out on defense, which will have to protect the winner of the goalkeeper competition between sophomore newcomers Jack MacPherson and Colin Baker. Michael Colao was slated to be a top returnee after missing most of his junior year due to a torn ACL, but elected to play academy soccer in lieu of his senior year of high school soccer.
The Bucs will have a lot of hurdles to overcome early on, but the good news is they are not alone among the B North crowd. While Ocean is far ahead of the pack when it comes to returning talent, the rest of the field has at least some issues on paper, which could allow Red Bank and any other team in B North to get in on the postseason chase.
Players to Watch
Wadneson Alexis, Ocean – An early-season knee injury could have slowed Alexis down last year, but Waldo developed his passing ability without his usual burst. This year, expect the Monmouth University recruit to have both.
Dan Frisch-Harmon, Wall – With the size and speed that make him a prototypical defensive center midfielder, Frisch-Harmon will be invaluable to a Wall team that has nine starters to replace.
Juan Carlos Merino, Long Branch – After a big freshman year and an even bigger spring and summer, Merino is poised to become one of the Shore’s top players.
Marlhens Nasanes, Ocean – With Alexis checking back more often, Nasanes becomes as dangerous as anyone making runs and will have a chance to roll up the goals after scoring six last year.
Ryan Wells, Ocean – Already a strong defender, Wells should excel this year now that the defensive group has had a full year to play with one another.
Goalkeeper to Watch
Yianni Kavarakas, Ocean – Kavarakas came along nicely in his first season as the starter and has developed into a legitimate top keeper with size and athleticism at 6-3.
Breakout Players to Watch
Hernan Acevedo, Long Branch – After playing in spurts last year, Acevedo returned more fit this year and he is still 6-3 with skill.
WilbAlex Alfred, Neptune – Shore coaches who have seen Alfred have come to an unofficial consensus: he is going to score some goals.
Santino Harding, Ocean – With good size and athleticism as a freshman, Harding looks like Waldo-lite. Like Alexis did as a freshman on a loaded team, Harding can be instant offense for short bursts thanks to his speed and athleticism, which make up for his still-developing talent.