Boys Soccer – 2018 All-Shore Teams
2018 Boys Soccer All-Shore Team
Teams selected by Senior Staff Writer Matt Manley based on input from coaches, statistics, impact on team success and first-hand accounts of each player.
Anthony Arena, Sr., Holmdel
2018 Totals: 18 goals, 13 assists
Postseason Totals: 9 goals, 8 assists in nine games
For the second straight year, Arena is the Shore Sports Network Player of the Year after leading Holmdel to another NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II championship. Read more about Arena’s All-American senior season for the Hornets in this Player of the Year Profile.
Wilby Alfred, Sr., Neptune
2018 Totals: 38 goals, 7 assists
Postseason Totals: 7 goals in four games
In a season dominated by three championship teams in Holmdel, Ocean and CBA, Alfred was the Shore’s most dynamic scorer in helping put Neptune soccer back in the forefront. The senior was an unstoppable combination of blazing speed, strength, foot skill and power – all of which conspired to give Alfred 38 goals in 21 games in 2018. Alfred scored a goal or more in 17 of those 21 games and accounted for more than one goal in 11 of them. Four hat tricks is not an unthinkable number for a season, but three of those hat tricks included single-game totals of four, five and six goals. Alfred erupted for six goals in a 6-3 regular-season win over Middletown North, went for five in a regular-season win over Toms River East and unleashed four in a Central Jersey Group III opening-round win over Red Bank.
Neptune reached the sectional semifinals of the state tournament behind a big state tournament by its star striker. After putting up four goals against Red Bank, Alfred scored two against Northern Burlington in the sectional quarterfinals, including the golden goal in the fourth minute of overtime to send the Scarlet Fliers to the semifinal round. In that Central Jersey Group III final four game, Alfred opened the scoring in the sixth minute for his seventh goal in three state tournament games, but Colts Neck rallied to beat Neptune 2-1 and deny the Fliers a chance to host the sectional final.
Alfred scored against teams of all kinds during his season, including five in five games against teams ranked in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 (one vs. No. 2 Ocean, none vs. Wall, two vs. No. 7 Manasquan and two in two games vs. No. 10 Colts Neck). He has extended a non-binding verbal commitment to continue his career at Rowan University next season.
Santieno Harding, Sr., Ocean
2018 Totals: 20 goals, 7 assists
Postseason Totals: 7 goals, 4 assists in 10 games
Harding saw this season – particularly the Shore Conference and the Group III Tournaments – as a redemption tour of sorts and indicated as much to his head coach, John Terlecsky, during the Central Jersey Group III championship game. After a frustrating stretch of the game in which the Cougars’ physical play slowed down the Spartans’ 20-goal scorer, he referenced the 2017 sectional final in which he and his team could not overcome a whistle against him in a 2-1 loss to Toms River South. There was no stopping Harding this year: the senior striker scored the game-winner in the 76th minute to beat Colts Neck to highlight a huge individual postseason performance as Ocean captured both the Shore Conference and Group III titles.
Of Harding’s 20 goals and seven assists, seven finishes and four helpers came in tournament games, including a goal and an assist in a penalty-kick-round win over Holmdel in the SCT semifinals. Even when it did not show up on the stat sheet, Harding was involved in some of Ocean’s biggest goals of its historic season. He also fought off multiple CBA defenders to earn the throw-in that led to Leo Montesinos’s golden goal to win the SCT championship. He also helped wake up a dormant Ocean attack in the Group III final with a series a shots on goal before teammate James Schutz finally came through with the winning goal in the 74th minute.
In his four-year varsity career, Harding finished with 45 goals and two All-Shore campaigns, saving his best season and first First-Team All-Shore selection for his senior year.
Dan Russo, Jr., Jackson Memorial
2018 Totals: 20 goals, 10 assists
Postseason Totals: 6 goals, 1 assist in seven games
Russo’s steady climb to the top of the list of “Best Players in the Shore Conference” continued this season after his breakout 18-goal season as a sophomore in 2017. During his junior campaign, the Jaguars striker upped his goal-count to 20 while also reaching double-digit assists for the first time. The biggest development for Russo this year, however, was his postseason performance. After scoring just one goal combined in the SCT and South Jersey Group IV Tournament as a sophomore, Russo posted six goals – three goals in each – in this year’s postseason.
Russo connected on just one hat trick this season – in an 8-2 rout of No. 9 Manalapan – but scored multiple goals in seven games this season, including twice in a tournament setting. Russo scored two goals in an SCT win over Lacey and later posted two goals in first-round win over Vineland in the South Jersey Group IV Playoffs. He also scored another goal in a win over Manalapan in the SCT quarterfinals and notched the golden goal in a sectional quarterfinal win over Kingsway.
As the only non-senior on this year’s All-Shore First Team, Russo will be a Player of the year frontrunner for a very experienced, talented Jackson Memorial squad heading into 2019.
Joe Arena, Sr., Holmdel
2018 Stats: 8 goals, 7 assists
Postseason Totals: 4 goals, 2 assists in nine games
While his cousin, Anthony, set school scoring records and collected various All-State and All-American, all Joe Arena has done is serve as the heartbeat of the Holmdel machine for the past two seasons. Not only has he been a dynamic offensive player, but Arena has also turned 50-50 balls in the midfield into 80-20 balls for Holmdel. His work-rate and vocal leadership were observably contagious among his Holmdel teammates. He has been a veritable coach’s dream for coach John Nacarlo for four full seasons of high school soccer and the coaches around Monmouth County took notice, voting him the Player of the Year in Monmouth County.
With Anthony Arena sidelined by a hamstring injury and All-Shore defender Jack Russo missing a brief stint as well with a foot injury, Arena was instrumental in making sure Holmdel did not slip up during the regular season. Under Arena’s leadership, Holmdel went 6-0 without Anthony Arena, including gutting out five straight wins in which the normally-high-scoring Hornets scored two goals in each. In fact, over the course of the entire season, Holmdel never scored fewer than two goals in a game and let up more than one just one time – which proved to be the only game it failed to win. He scored two late goals to carry Holmdel to a win over Rumson in September and later scored a goal in each of Holmdel’s first three NJSIAA Tournament wins.
After another standout season for a Holmdel team that finished No. 1 in the state, a number of Division I programs have expressed interest in Joe Arena, including NJIT and St. John’s.
Leo Montesinos, Sr., Ocean
2018 Stats: 10 goals, 8 assists
Postseason Totals: 3 goals, 3 assists in 10 games
Montesinos entered his senior season of high school soccer with an All-Shore selection already under his belt after scoring 13 goals at Shore Regional during his junior campaign. His senior year was all about winning and while he would have had the chance to do that with a Shore team that reached the Central Jersey Group II championship game without him, Montesinos and his family moved to Ocean Township and joined the Spartans soccer family. The fit was a seamless one, as Montesinos joined a senior-laden squad filled with players whom have played with Montesinos in club soccer going back to middle school. While Ocean brought back most of its 2017 starting lineup, it lost a top scorer up top and a center midfielder and in Montesinos, the Spartans killed two birds with one stone.
While Montesinos scored 10 goals, dished out eight assists and came up with some key plays throughout Ocean’s run to two postseason tournament titles, his presence, competitiveness, skill and vision in the midfield were as important as any numbers the senior put on paper in 2018. He and classmates Luke Yates and James Schutz made up a midfield trio that could go toe-to-toe with every team on Ocean’s challenging schedule that included two games vs. No. 3 CBA, one vs. No. 1 Holmdel, two vs. No. 5 Wall, two vs. No. 10 Colts Neck and a state championship game against a perennial Group IV contender in Millburn.
Montesinos scored a goal in each of the games against CBA, including the golden goal that won Ocean its fifth ever Shore Conference championship. He later scored in a 3-0 win over Seneca to catapult the Spartans into the Group III final and once there, he came through with the assist on Schutz’s game-winner in the 72nd minute to knock off Millburn and give Ocean its first state title in 22 years. On a team that was built to make a run at championships with all its senior talent this year, Montesinos proved to be the piece that pushed Ocean over the top.
Jack Gill, Sr., Christian Brothers Academy
2018 Stats: 9 goals, 13 assists
Postseason Totals: 3 goals, 2 assists in eight games
Whether playing up top in a three-forward formation or checking back into the midfield, Gill was a productive player for CBA as both a finisher and facilitator in his senior season. He kicked off CBA’s memorable 19-win, championship season with a goal in a season-opening win over Delran and remained a steady presence on the attack the rest of the way. Gill did not score more than a goal in any one game but he recorded multiple assists three times. He set up two goals in both a win over Marlboro and CBA’s regular-season win at Ocean and also dished out three assists in a 4-1 win at Freehold Township.
CBA reached the Shore Conference Tournament championship game and later won the NJSIAA Non-Public A championship with Gill pitching plenty in along the way. The senior headed in the first goal of CBA’s 2-1 overtime win over Jackson Memorial in the SCT semifinals and scored a goal and an assist each in state tournament wins over Bishop Eustace and St. Augustine – the latter of which was a 4-1 victory over the Hermits in the South Jersey Non-Public A final.
Gill was a regular contributor off the bench on CBA’s 2016 state championship team and capped his career with a total of 23 goals, 21 assists and a second state title.
Dominic Bellomo, Sr., Christian Brothers Academy
2018 Stats: 9 goals, 6 assists
Postseason Totals: 2 goals, 3 assists in eight games
Bellomo is one of four players to repeat as a first-team All-Shore selection and the only player not from Holmdel to do so. CBA’s creative center midfielder tied Gill for second on the team with nine goals and has shown up in a number of key spots for CBA over the past two seasons. He scored in the Colts’ 3-2 regular-season win over Ocean and found the back of the net twice in a 4-1 win over Freehold Township that clinched CBA the outright Class A North division title.
During the postseason, Bellomo also made his presence felt at a handful of key junctures. He assisted both Colts goals in a 2-0 win over Manasquan in the SCT quarterfinals and also set-up the game-winning golden goal by Luke Pascarella in the 2-1 win over Jackson Memorial in the SCT semifinals. In the NJSIAA Tournament, Bellomo helped CBA get off on the right foot with two goals in a 6-0 win over local rival Red Bank Catholic.
With 18 goals and two First-Team All-Shore selections in two varsity seasons plus a key role on CBA’s seventh Non-Public A championship team – one that captured a championship with one the great wins in program history – Bellomo has cemented a special place in CBA soccer history.
Jack Russo, Sr., Holmdel
2018 Stats: 6 goals, 8 assists
Postseason Stats: 3 goals, 7 assists in nine games
Russo was a Jack of all trades, if you will pardon the pun, as a junior, when he played both as a defender and later as an outside midfielder. This season, Russo was an outside back from start-to-finish and was part of the Shore’s best goal-prevention unit by goals allowed and goals per game. He was also a dangerous scorer out of the back, racking up six goals and eight assists for a Holmdel squad that averaged 3.8 goals per game – good for the fifth-highest total on the team of the season.
Come tournament time, Russo was at his best. On top of his usual lockdown defense, the St. John’s commit was Holmdel’s third-leading scorer during its run to the Group II championship, with most of his scoring contribution coming in the form of assists. Seven of Russo’s eight assists on the season came during tournament time, including one in each of Holmdel’s six state tournament wins. His set piece service led to the winning goal in the Group II final vs. Glen Rock. The senior also scored three goals during the Group II run, including the opening goal in the 2-1 win over Delran in the Group II semifinal. Russo also set up Anthony Arena for the game-winner in that win over Delran.
While Anthony Arena has been Holmdel’s most celebrated player over the last two seasons, Joe Arena was named Player of the Year by the Monmouth County coaches and Jack Giamanco led the team in scoring, Russo made a case as Holmdel’s most indispensable piece during its unbeaten season.
Jack Hempstead, Sr., Christian Brothers Academy
2018 Stats: 1 goals, 5 assists
Postseason Stats: 1 goal, 1 assist in eight games
Hempstead was one of the many juniors on the 2017 CBA team that made a strong first impression in their first season as starters at the academy. The Colts graduated 10 starters from the 2016 state-title-winning team and players like Hempstead, Bellomo, Gill, Joe Lozowski, Charlie Daly and Liam Mulvey stepped in and delivered strong junior seasons to help CBA make a smooth transition from its star-studded 2016 roster.
That transition culminated with a Non-Public A championship this season and the Colts could not have won it without Hempstead. Not only was Hempstead his usual steady self on the outside of the back line and in CBA’s possession game, but he also picked the perfect time to unleash the first and only goal of his varsity career. With CBA trailing Delbarton, 1-0, in the 75th minute, Hempstead ran onto a loose ball and ripped a perfect shot to the near upper 90 for the equalizer. Luke Pascarella scored the golden goal with 19 seconds left in the second overtime and CBA scored one of the biggest wins in program history by ending Delbarton’s 57-game unbeaten streak.
Hempstead finishes his high school career with two All-Shore selections – one First Team – and as part of a defense that conceded 38 goals in 47 games over the past two seasons. Throw in a second state title in three years to wrap up their careers, Hempstead and his fellow CBA seniors made their mark on the Shore’s most decorated soccer program.
Torre Avitabile, Sr., Holmdel
2018 Stats: 1 goal, 2 assists
Postseason Totals: 1 goal, 2 assists in nine games
Holmdel’s defense was a multi-dimensional force during the season, not only suffocating opposing attacks but also accounting for a combined nine goals and 17 assists between its four starters. Outside backs Jack Russo and Mark Walier provided an offensive threat on either outside and Pete Vassilakos was the Hornets’ throw-in specialist. Avitabile, meanwhile, was once again the defensive captain in the center for a team that allowed fewer goals – both total and per game – than any team at the Shore. The 12 goals allowed were the lowest total among Shore teams this year and the 0.52 opponents goals per game were comfortably ahead of Wall and Jackson Memorial (0.73) for the top mark in the conference.
Scoring was not a big part of Avitabile’s game during his career as a four-year starter for the Hornets but his presence in the back was a big reason Holmdel played in a state final in three of his four seasons and posted a postseason record of 23-3-3 in SCT and NJSIAA Tournament games. Over the past two seasons, Holmdel gave up just 26 goals in 47 games and in four years, the Hornets allowed 84 goals in 91 games. While those numbers will be part of the legacies of Avitabile and Joe Arena – the only two four-year starters on this year’s Holmdel team – nothing can top the two Group II championships, the 2017 Shore Conference title and the No. 1 finish in the state in their final season.
Zach Sintic, Sr., Ocean
2018 Stats: 2 goals, 9 assists
Postseason Totals: 2 assists in 10 games
Ocean had a lot of heroes during its memorable 2018 season that included 21 wins, a Shore Conference Tournament title and an overall Group III championship. As the captain of the defense, Sintic’s contribution might have gone underappreciated on a game-by-game basis while teammates Santieno Harding, James Schutz, Leo Montesinos, Luke Yates and goalkeeper Max Winters made highlight-worthy plays in the Spartans’ biggest wins. While his teammates stole the show, Sintic remained a rock in the back for an Ocean defense that played its best when the lights were at their brightest.
As historic as Ocean’s Group III title was and as dominant as the defense was during it (two goals allowed in six games), the Spartans defense played its best in the final two games of the Shore Conference Tournament. In those final two games, Ocean gave up a combined shot disadvantage of 47-12 against Holmdel and CBA and still managed to advance past Holmdel on penalties and beat CBA in overtime. The Spartans decided to play defense and try to counter both teams and the Sintic-led back line made the strategy pay off.
Just one year earlier, Ocean’s defense had a very different experience in allowing seven goals in the championship game vs. Holmdel. With a chance at redemption, Sintic and the defense allowed four goals in 10 postseason games to capture three trophies for the senior-laden Spartans.
Max Winters, Sr., Ocean
2018 Stats: 13 shutouts, 19 goals allowed in 24 games
Postseason Stats: 7 shutouts, 4 goals allowed in 10 games
Winters might have collected more glory than his defenders Sintic, senior Brent Gaber, senior Mark Mauro and junior Elias Brandimarte during his All-Shore campaign, but his name was also attached to that seven-goal debacle last season. While that result might have tested his confidence at the time, Winters came back a confident goalkeeper in 2018 and it paid dividends for the Spartans. Although he gave up three goals twice during the regular season, one of those was a 3-2 loss to CBA in which Winters made five spectacular saves just to keep the game from getting out of hand. That performance set the tone for an even more memorable postseason.
The goals-allowed numbers almost don’t do Winters’s play in the SCT and NJSIAA Tournaments justice, despite the fact they, too, are very good. He posted shutouts in seven of Ocean’s 10 postseason games – including in both championship games against CBA in the SCT and Millburn in Group III. It took 10 saves for Winters to secure that shutout against CBA and six against Millburn. Winters was even better in a 2-2 tie vs. Holmdel in the SCT semifinals, when he saved 12 shots during the 100 minutes of field play and two more during the shootout to carry the Spartans past the No. 1 team in the state and into the SCT final.
Winters will continue his athletic career as a baseball player at William and Mary next season, but his senior season in goal for the best Ocean boys soccer team in school history will be hard to top on the baseball diamond.
Luke Pascarella, Jr., Christian Brothers Academy – Forward was a loaded position at the Shore in 2018, which is the only explanation for why the Shore’s most clutch scorer this season is a second-teamer. Pascarella led CBA with 13 goals, scored against five different NJSIAA sectional champions (Delran, Ocean, Holmdel, East Brunswick and Delbarton) and against two other teams that reached a sectional final (Manasquan and Jackson Memorial). He scored the game-winning goal in the regular-season win over Ocean and scored two golden goals in tournament games. The first beat Jackson Memorial in the SCT semifinals and the second was a 33-yard free kick with 19 seconds left in the second overtime of the Non-Public A final against Delbarton – among the biggest goals in CBA history.
Jack Giamanco, Jr., Holmdel – One of five Shore Conference players to score 20 or more goals in 2018, Giamanco finished third in the conference with 23 goals and 56 total points (10 assists) and first on the Shore’s No. 1 team. Not only did his regular-season goal-scoring help make up for Anthony Arena’s injury-related absence, but he came through time and time again after Arena returned for the postseason. Giamanco scored 10 goals and three assists in nine Holmdel tournament games, including seven goals and three assists during the Group II Tournament. Giamanco scored twice in the sectional final vs. Shore and scored the equalizer in the Group II final vs. Glen Rock.
Kieran Sundermann, Sr., Pinelands – Not since 1989 has Pinelands had a run of success like the Wildcats enjoyed over the past two seasons. Sundermann’s 15 goals were good for ninth in the Shore Conference this season and he stepped up with two big performances during Pinelands run to the South Jersey Group III final. After recording a goal and an assist in a quarterfinal win over two-time defending champion Mainland on the road, Sundermann went off for a hat trick and an assist in a 5-0 rout of Cherry Hill West in the sectional semifinals. In four varsity seasons, Sundermann accumulated 35 goals and 32 assists while leading Pinelands to back-to-back B South titles in 2017 and 2018.
Ki Costa, Sr., Point Pleasant Beach – No Shore Conference player – not Anthony Arena, not Wilby Alfred, not Dan Russo – scored at least 20 goals in both 2017 and 2018…except one. Costa followed up his 20-goal breakout season in 2017 with a monster campaign as a senior that included 28 goals and 14 assists. Those 28 goals were second in the Shore to Alfred’s 38 and the 14 assists were fifth in the conference. Costa scored 10 goals in two days in early Octobert, including six in a 7-3 Garnet Gulls win over Manville – the No. 2 seed in the Central Jersey Group I bracket. During his four-year varsity career, Costa accumulated 58 goals and 27 assists.
Joe Lozowski, Sr., Christian Brothers Academy – It is always hard to key on one player when game-planning against CBA, but Ocean coach John Terlecsky said part of his winning strategy against he Colts was to surround Lozowski with two defenders. The senior midfielder was a standout performer on many occasions for CBA in 2018, including in a 3-2 win over Ocean and a 3-1 loss to Holmdel during the regular season. Lozowski also slammed home two goals in CBA’s impressive 4-1 win over St. Augustine in the South Jersey Non-Public A championship game. After seven goals and six assists this year, Lozowski finished his three-year varsity career with 20 goals, 10 assists and two overall state championships.
Kevin Kiernan, So., Southern – During a season that ran hot-and-cold for the No. 8 team in the final Shore Sports Network Top 10, Kiernan offered a glimpse into a promising immediate future for Southern. Only a sophomore, Kiernan scored the second-most goals (14) of an player in Class A South and finished tied for 10th in the Shore Conference. On top hat tricks against Central and Toms River East, Kiernan was the man of the match in Southern’s 1-0 win over Jackson Memorial – the lone loss the Jaguars suffered in the regular-season. The only other teams to beat Jackson this season were Washington Township and CBA – the Nos. 2 and 3 team in the state, according to NJ.com.
Joe Schlageter, Sr., Jackson Memorial – Speaking of Jackson, the Jaguars were solid throughout the field and Schlageter held down the middle of the park for the Jaguars throughout their 15-3-1. For the second straight year, Schlageter stepped up and played his best in the postseason, scoring five goals and three assists in seven tournament games. The center midfielder also recorded a hat trick in a 5-1 win over Toms River North that clinched the Class A South title for Jackson Memorial. In his final two high school seasons, Schlageter helped lead the Jaguars to two a A South titles and two SCT semifinal appearances, as well as a South Jersey Group IV championship appearance this year.
James Schutz, Sr., Ocean – A groin injury slowed down Schutz at the beginning of the season and his team managed to stay afloat while he rounded into form. Once he did get his fitness and find his rhythm, Schutz was an instrumental as any player in Ocean’s postseason surge. The senior scored a go-ahead goal on a diving header against Holmdel in the SCT and later scored four goals during the Group III playoffs, including the winning header in the 1-0, Group III final win over Millburn. Schutz also scored in state tournament wins over Wall and Colts Neck on the way to recording 11 goals and three assists for the SCT and Group III champs.
Kip Byrne, Sr., Lacey – Byrne was one of the Shore’s top scorers while leading Lacey to a strong 2018 showing that included a second-place finish in B South and wins in each postseason tournament despite playing on a team that lost its top three goal-scorers from a year ago. Lacey improved on last season because of a revamped defensive mindset as well as Byrnes’ ability to score (13 goals) and find open teammates (15 assists) – usually junior forward Sean Moffitt (18 goals). Byrne finished as Lacey’s all-time assist leader with 47 for his career and his 15 this season were tied for third at the Shore.
Jonathan Santos, Sr., Middletown South – After spending his junior season as a center midfielder, Santos manned the center of Middletown South’s back line and was a dual threat for an Eagles team that had some memorable stretches while playing one of the more challenging schedules of any team in the conference. Santos tied Byrne for third in the conference with 15 assists, two of which came in Middletown South’s 2-1, Central Jersey Group IV upset of Hillsborough – which entered the tournament without a loss. He also added an assist apiece against SCT finalists Ocean and CBA and even picked up a two-goal game in a wild, 4-3 loss to Long Branch.
Ben Schnaak, Jr., Jackson Memorial – Jackson’s all-junior back line allowed 14 goals in 19 games this year and Schnaak had a hand in 14 on the other end as well with seven goals and seven assists. The seven goals was the most among players who played exclusively in the back this year and the 21 total points trailed only Santos among full-time defenders. Schnaak’s lone postseason goal came against the No. 2 team in the state – a header that cut Washington Township’s lead to 2-1 in the second half. The Jaguars came up a goal short of a sectional title but with eight starters and an entire defense due back, they will have a chance in 2019 to end Washington’s run of five straight sectional titles.
Mark Walier, Jr., Holmdel – Holmdel’s skill on the outside of its defense on top of all of its weapons on the attack made the Hornets nearly impossible to stop in 2018. While Jack Russo was the biggest scoring threat on the defense, Walier also proved to be dangerous when pushing forward. He scored two goals and three assists and one of his goals was an insurance tally vs. CBA in a big regular-season win. The junior defender will be among Holmdel’s top returning players and will try to keep the winning tradition alive as the captain of the back in 2019.
Nick Kinzler, Sr., Jackson Memorial – Kinzler took over as a starter as a freshman and after some injury trouble as a sophomore, returned with a fury for his final two seasons as Jackson Memorial’s goalkeeper. In his fourth and final year, Kinzler finished fifth in the Shore Conference with nine shutouts, likely losing a few due to Jackson sitting on large leads early in the game. He was tied for second in the conference in goals-allowed per game with Wall sophomore Sebastian Campanile and trailed only Jack Murray of Holmdel. Kinzler’s standout game was likely a loss – a 13-save effort in a 2-1 loss to CBA in the SCT semifinals in which the Jaguars were outshot, 31-8. His 31st and final career shutout was a 0-0 draw vs. Eastern in the South Jersey IV semifinals and Jackson advanced to the final on penalties.
Joe Weinstein, Jr., Manasquan – The other second-team keeper was Kinzler’s back-up heading into 2016 and Weinstein eventually earned playing time as a freshman with the Jaguars. An injury knocked Weinstein out in 2017 and his family moved to Manasquan before the 2018-19 school year, which gave him a chance to start again now that he was healthy. Weinstein did not disappoint, allowing 17 goals in 20 games with 12 shutouts. After allowing six goals in a rain-soaked loss to Neptune on Sept. 10, Weinstein conceded only 11 goals in 18 games the rest of the way and posted nine shutouts and three goals allowed during an 11-game stretch that spanned Oct. 2 and Nov. 5. His three straight shutouts in the NJSIAA Tournament got Manasquan to the South Jersey Group II final, where Delran broke through for three to end a resurgent season for the Warriors.
Stiviny Silva, Sr., Long Branch – The hottest scorer at the Shore to open the year, Silva and the Green Wave stormed out of the gate. Long Branch lost its three top scoring threats from 2017 but Silva quickly stepped up as a go-to target with nine goals in Long Branch’s first six games and 11 in the month of September on the way to a 13-goal season. He scored twice in a win over No. 8 Southern and also scored in a loss to No. 6 Howell.
Riley Powers, Sr., Wall – As is the case most years, Wall staked its stellar reputation on its defense, but the Crimson Knights also had a creative scorer on the other end of the pitch. Powers posted nine goals and five assists during his senior campaign, which included strong showings against two of B North’s best. The senior notched a goal and assisted another in a 2-1 in over Neptune and scored both goals in Wall’s big 2-0 win at Ocean to close out the B North schedule.
Tommy Johnson, So., Manasquan – Like Wall, Manasquan’s defense and goalkeeping was its calling card, but for the second straight season, Johnson was the Warriors’ standout player. Now drawing the full brunt of defensive attention in just his second year of high school, Johnson followed up his 14-goal freshman season with eight goals and five assists while committing himself to getting teammates involved. The result was Manasquan’s best season in a decade and a trip to the South Jersey Group II final.
Jake Fortune, Sr., Raritan – Fortune’s move to striker was a significant one for both the talented senior as well as his Raritan team. While Fortune finished his senior year with 12 goals and five assists, Raritan came alive in October, rallying its way into the Shore Conference Tournament and advancing past No. 12 Marlboro and No. 5 Freehold Township on the road as a No. 21 seed. Fortune struck in both of those wins, scoring an early goal and converting during the shootout in a win over Marlboro on penalties, then scoring in the opening minutes in the 2-0 Rockets upset of the Patriots.
Dylan Dougher, Sr., Howell – Dougher and the rest of Howell’s experienced senior class carried the Rebels to the No. 6 ranking in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 and Dougher served as their leading scorer with 10 goals and nine assists. That body of work included a strong showing in the postseason, during which Dougher recorded four goals and two assists in five games between the SCT and South Group IV Playoffs. He scored a goal and an assist in a win over a dangerous Rancocas Valley team in the SJ IV first round and also scored in a 2-1 loss at Washington Township, the No. 2 team in the final state rankings.
Peter Kozlej, Sr., Toms River East – An all-around leader for a Raiders team that made plenty of noise during the season, Kozlej paced Toms River East with eight goals and 11 assists and showed up in his team’s biggest wins. He scored in both wins over rival Toms River North, tallied a goal in a 2-0 road win over Manalapan and scored in an SCT win over Freehold Boro. He also assisted two goals in a 4-3 win over Pinelands and scored twice in a 3-2 loss to Howell.
Justin Goldberg, Sr., Manalapan – Manalapan’s season looked doomed after the Braves lost their first two games by a combined score of 12-2 but Goldberg and his fellow seniors would not give away their final season so easily. Goldberg’s best moment of the season was a second-half hat trick that wiped out a 3-0 deficit at Franklin and helped the Braves avoid missing the SCT thanks to a wild, 4-3 win. Goldberg finished his season with 10 goals and five assists and his play and leadership helped Manalapan overcome the loss of fellow senior center midfielder D’Angelo Reyes to a torn ACL.
Ethan Kilmnick, Sr., Colts Neck – An injury-marred season ruined 2017 for both Kilmnick and his Colts Neck team, which needed his midfield dominance to set the tone. Kilmnick’s return made all the difference in 2018 as Colts Neck overcame a 2-5 start to finish 12-8 and reach the Central Jersey Group III championship game, which it lost to Ocean, 2-1, on a goal in the final five minutes. Kilmnick finished the season with three goals and seven assists, which included a golden goal to beat Pinelands in the SCT first round and a goal and an assist in a big road win over top-seeded Neptune in the sectional semifinals.
Luke Yates, Sr., Ocean – Although he did not keep pace with teammates Santieno Harding, James Schutz and Leo Montesinos in scoring, Yates was just as important to Ocean’s formation, tying together the defense and the attack with his superb play as a holding midfielder. He also came up with key offensive plays throughout Ocean’s magic carpet ride, scoring twice in the state tournament and also ripping the shot on goal that started the scoring sequence in the 1-0, Group III championship win over Millburn. Yates was also a throw-in master and his throw in the SCT final found classmate Brent Gaber’s head before Montesinos headed in the golden-goal winner. In all, Yates posted three goals and six assists but his contribution to a 21-win team with four championships went well beyond those numbers.
Bennett Messinger, Jr., Freehold Township – In his breakout season junior season, Messinger led Freehold Township with 10 goals and five assists, including a pair of two-goal games as well as golden-goal winners in consecutive games in September. Messinger scored twice in wins over Fair Lawn and Matawan and sunk Freehold Boro and Rumson-Fair Haven with overtime winners on Sept. 21 and 24. The junior center midfielder also scored the game-winner in a 2-1 win over Howell that gave the Patriots an early leg up on the Rebels in a heated race for the A North public title. Messinger leads an army of returnees that should help Freehold Township return to the top tier of the Shore Conference next season.
Zack May, Sr., Raritan – A four-year starter, May has been Raritan’s leader in the back since his sophomore season, when the Rockets won a share of the Class A Central title. This year, he was once again a driving force for a Raritan team that rallied from an 0-4 start to the season to make the Shore Conference Tournament and made the most of the opportunity once the Rockets qualified. May scored the game-tying penalty kick to send Raritan’s first-round game at Marlboro into overtime before the Rockets eventual won on penalties. He then assisted both goals in a 2-0 win at Freehold Township to push Raritan through to the quarterfinal round.
Junior Bravo, Sr., Lakewood – Bravo capped a stellar career for the Piners as a leader who played in the back and the midfield depending on the situation. The senior captain registered nine goals and nine assists in 2018 to lead a Lakewood squad that won 11 games and knocked off Neptune in the opening round of the Shore Conference Tournament before giving CBA a hard time in the round of 16 before ultimately losing, 2-0.
Tagg Ancrum, Jr., Wall – The No. 5 team in the final Shore Sports Network Top 10, Wall finished the season tied with Jackson Memorial and behind only Holmdel in goals allowed and goals allowed per game. Ancrum led that defensive effort that conceded just 14 times in 19 games for a 0.73 per-game average. The junior and three-year starter also got into the mix on offense with three goals and two assists, including a goal in the Crimson Knights’ 3-0 win over Middletown North in Central Jersey Group III opening round. With Ancrum and goalkeeper Sebastian Campanile due back next season, Wall figures to be among the Shore’s top defenses again in 2019.
Jalen Folsom, Jr., Toms River South – For the first time in four years, Toms River South did not win an NJSIAA sectional champion and, in fact, did not even make it out of the first round of either the SCT or the South Jersey Group III Tournament. That was not on Folsom, who, along with his tough back line, permitted only 15 goals in 17 games and gave up a grand total of one in those two tournament losses to Lacey (in overtime) and Pinelands (on penalties). Folsom recorded eight shutouts during his second straight All-Shore season in goal and will be one of the Shore’s top returning keepers in 2019.