In predicted order of finish

Ocean

Head Coach: John Terlecsky, second season
2017 Record: 18-4-2 (13-1, first in Class A Central)
Returners: Santieno Harding (Sr., Forward), Luke Yates (Sr., Midfield/Defense), Zach Sintic (Sr., Defense), James Schutz (Sr., Midfield), Erick Vasquez (Sr., Forward), Max Winters (Sr., Goalkeeper), Mark Mauro (Sr., Defense), Eli Brandimarte (Jr., Defense), Andrew Shaw (Sr., Forward), Max Pardon (Sr., Midfield), Sean Reid (Sr., Forward), Griffin Adolf (Sr., Midfield), Brent Gaber (Sr., Defense)
Key Losses: Steve Carton (Sr., Forward), Job Cajas (Sr., Midfield), Frank Astudillo (Sr., Defense), Mark Butler (Sr., Defense), Thomas Gleason (Sr., Goalkeeper)
Newcomers: Leo Montesinos (Sr., Midfield) – Transfer from Shore; Rob Lopes (Jr., Midfield), Kirk Jones (Sr., Forward), Aidan Tisony (Fr., Midfield/Forward)

Photo by Steve Meyer.

After losing on its home field in both the Shore Conference and Central Jersey Group III Tournament championship games, Ocean will be out for vengeance this season with a whole lot of scoring back, and then some. Striker Santieno Harding, center midfielder Luke Yates, center back Zach Sintic and keeper Max Winters give Ocean all-division selections at every level back from last year’s team, with Harding and Sintic earning All-Shore Second Team honors.

Ocean’s big addition this season is Shore Regional transfer Leo Montesinos, who was also a Second-Team All-Shore selection by Shore Sports Network after scoring 16 goals for the Blue Devils. He will join Sintic in the middle of the field. James Schutz, Erick Vasquez and Andrew Shaw all return to the attack as seniors and senior Mark Mauro returns to the back line after scoring six goals as a marking back in 2017.

A 7-1 loss to Holmdel in the SCT final and a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Toms River South in the sectional final are wounds that may not have totally healed, but there are seven starters and a number of significant bench contributors who have a chance to atone for those losses this season. With that chip on its collective shoulder and one of the Shore’s top returning players in Montesinos now in the fold, Ocean is arguably the most dangerous team in the Shore Conference heading into 2018.

 

Wall

Head Coach: Garry Linstra, 17th season
2017 Record: 10-11 (6-8, fifth in Class B North)
Returners: Riley Powers (Sr., Forward), John Volpe (Sr., Midfield), Tagg Acrum (Jr., Defense), John Vaccaro (Sr., Forward), Ryan Garibay (Jr., Forward), Jack Gotsch (Jr., Midfield), Aidan Newbury (Sr., Forward), Jeff Burdge (Sr., Defense), Ryan Walsh (Sr., Defense), John Knight (Jr., Defense), Sam Gisoldi (Sr., Midfield)
Key Losses: Jeremy Thompson (Forward), Kevin Kile (Midfield), Nick Surgent (Midfield), Owen Crane (Defense), Brendan Embon (Goalkeeper), Robert Stoddart (Midfield), Lorenzo Ramos (Midfield), Justin Zucker (Defense)
Newcomers: Matt Penkethman (Jr., Defense), Bladmir Vasquez (Jr., Defense), Sebastian Campanile (So., Goalkeeper), Sean Campbell (Sr., Forward), Justin Bak (Sr., Midfield), Jake Connellan (Sr., Defense), Liam Neuffer (Sr., Midfield), Nick Paterno (Sr., Goalkeeper), Dominic Saenz (Sr., Defense), Jake Pepe (So., Forward)

Photo by Steve Meyer.

Wall is coming off its first losing season in 11 years, but 2017 still saw the Crimson Knights do some positive things over the course of their season. After barely qualifying for the Shore Conference Tournament, Wall took out Brick Memorial in the opening round. The Crimson Knights also beat Steinert in the Central Group III first round, giving them two postseason wins in what was otherwise a down season by its high standards.

Despite losing a few players from last year’s starting lineup to graduation, Wall returns its top two scorers in Riley Powers and John Volpe, as well as junior center back Tagg Ancrum – who has been a starter from game one of his freshman season. The incoming junior and sophomore classes should begin to make an even greater impact this season as Wall aims to make a run at Ocean in the Class B North race. Wall will play a challenging schedule outside of B North and will wrap up its divisional slate at Ocean on Oct. 10 in a game that could be for the division championship.

 

Neptune

Head Coach: John Knight, 13th season
2017 Record: 9-9 (5-8, sixth in Class A North)
Returners: Wilby Alfred (Sr., Forward), Mickenna Church (Sr., Midfield), Seamus McAnee (Sr., Goalkeeper), Ryan Gallagher (Sr., Defense), Jett Tinik (Jr., Defense), Marlon Morales (Sr., Midfield), Anderson Galindo (Sr., Forward), Kyle Schembri (Jr., Forward), Ryan Gannon (Jr., Midfield)
Key Losses: Bobby Newman (Defense), Dylan Schembri (Forward), Ryan David Lizarazo (Defense), Victor Martinez (Midfield)
Newcomers: Louis Pennington (Jr., Defense), Gavin Latshaw (Jr., Defense), Marvin Garcia (Jr., Midfield), Batur Yaman (Jr., Midfield)

Photo by Steve Meyer.

Few teams at the Shore return a better offensive duo than Neptune does with striker Wilby Alfred and center midfielder Mickenna Church, who helped the Scarlet Fliers reach the .500 mark while playing in one of the Shore’s toughest divisions. The schedule looks more forgiving this season and with only two regular starters gone via graduation, Neptune should improve on last year’s 9-9 mark.

The key to Neptune making the leap to Top 10 contender and postseason threat will be how its formation around Alfred and Church performs. Seniors Ryan Gallagher, Jett Tinik, Marlon Morales and Anderson Galindo all return to the field with experience and Seamus McAnee is an established keeper as a senior. There is some scoring to pick up with the graduation of Dylan Schembri (10 goals), but junior Kyle Schembri can cover some of that production from his brother. The defense will have to rally around McAnee and health will be key, but if those two factors break right, Neptune can go a long way behind Alfred and Church.

 

Colts Neck

Head Coach: Art Collier, 21st season
2017 Record: 6-10-1 (4-9-1, seventh in Class A North)
Returners: Paul Tepedino (Sr., Forward), John Farfan (Sr., Forward), Brooks Condon (Sr., Midfield), Ethan Kilmnick (Sr., Midfield), Jimmy Powell (Sr., Midfield), Christian Rivero (Jr., Midfield), Parker Ballingall (Sr., Defense), Anthony Fiorello (Sr., Defense), Jadyn Fankhauser (Sr., Defense), Kyle Stivala (Sr., Defense)
Key Losses: Zach Ferchak (Forward), Zach Shaffer (Midfield), Chris Strzalkowski (Defense), Jayson Visco (Defense), Danny Gaines (Forward), Rob Mannino (Jr., Goalkeeper) – Academy commitment
Newcomers: Ely Ferro (Jr., Midfield), Michael Calderaro (Sr., Midfield/Forward), Rudy Gonzales (Sr., Forward), Dylan Jacobs (Jr., Goalkeeper), Chris Ciccarone (So., Defense), Michael Diorio (Sr., Midfield), Max Gordon (Sr., Forward), Michael Neustater (Sr., Forward), Bradley Polkowitz (Sr., Midfield), T.J. Briscoe (Sr., Defense), Brandon Andreyko (Sr., Goalkeeper), Christian Gomez (Sr., Goalkeeper)

Coming off a rare losing season, Colts Neck is looking to bounce back by getting away from the Class A North schedule and proving its worth in B North. The Cougars can trace last year’s shortcomings back to a 2-6 record in games decided by one goal, as well as some issues scoring goals. Outside of scoring 11 goals in two wins over Marlboro, Colts Neck scored two goals in a game only four times and won only two of those games.

While the Cougars did not lose any big goal scorers from last year, they also don’t return any. Paul Tepedino is a candidate to emerge as a source for offense after matching a team-high with three goals and senior midfielder Ethan Kilmnick is healthy after missing most of last year due to injury. Those are two of 18 seniors in the program this year, which is sure to help Colts Neck make up some ground in the standings.

 

Matawan

Head Coach: Tyler Isaacson, fourth season
2017 Record: 8-8-3 (5-5-2, fourth in Class A Central)
Returners: Mal Mehari (Sr., Defense/Midfield), Marcelo Colonna (Jr., Midfield), Mike Porceli (Sr., Midfield), Chris Dietrich (Jr., Midfield), Luke Zibbel (Jr., Defense), Marco Medel (Jr., Midfield), Gavin Klamm (Jr., Midfield), Ryan Leonard (Jr., Forward), Justin Sumner (Jr., Defense)
Key Losses: Griffin Hayward (Midfield), Ryan Cavanaugh (Midfield), Matt Weisburg (Defense), Bobby Johns (Forward), Giovani Barsoum (Forward), T.J. Boutote (Midfield/Forward)
Newcomers: Andrew Wells (So., Forward), Dylan Frye (So., Midfield), Mike Mallozzi (Jr., Goalkeeper)

With three of the four teams top teams this particular projection boasting senior-heavy rosters, Matawan is the team lying in the weeds with a junior-heavy outfit that might be ready to arrive a year early. The Huskies battled to a .500 record last year and outperformed their seed in both the Shore Conference and Central Jersey Group II Tournaments, even taking eventual Group II champion Holmdel to penalty kicks in the Central II semifinals as a No. 13 seed. That pedigree is now embedded in the returning players, so despite losing some key pieces from that team, the young core is getting used to winning.

Mal Mehari and Mike Porceli are the only seniors that figure to be in the starting lineup at the outset of the season, with Mehari providing some stability in the back. Marcelo Colonna is Matawan’s top returning attacking player and finding some players around him to finish will be crucial in Matawan’s pursuit of second division title in three years. Given the makeup of its roster and the division, they might still be one year away, but these Huskies have already proven to be a team that should not be taken lightly by anyone – even the best the Shore has to offer.

 

St. John Vianney

Head Coach: Kyle Kane, third season
2017 Record: 4-14-1 (2-9-1, sixth in Class A Central)
Returners: Kieran Kane (Jr., Midfield), Nico Clark (Sr., Midfield), Anthony Altomonte (Sr., Goalkeeper), Colin Kane (Sr., Defense), Dylan Nguyen (Sr., Defense), Armond Valentino (Jr., Forward), James Corcoran (Sr., Midfield), Chris Ward (Sr., Defense)
Key Losses: Lucas Aquino (Midfield), Matt Ross (Goalkeeper), Brett Schneider (Forward), Jack Molly (Defense)
Newcomers: Danny Vitale (So., Midfield), Johnny Troiano (Fr., Midfield), Lucas Esposito (Fr., Defense)

Photo by Steve Meyer.

The Lancers have endured a rebuilding phase since reaching the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals in 2014 and there are signs heading into the year that Vianney might be ready to emerge from that stage and into one of competing for postseason success. Despite a 2-9-1 record in a tough Class A Central division, St. John Vianney was more competitive last season and return its most established scorers in Kieran Kane, Nico Clark and Armond Valentino. Kane led the way with six goals last year and will be one of the division’s top playmakers as a junior.

Anthony Altomonte scored three goals last year but found his ultimate calling for the Lancers in goal, where he will play as a senior. Seniors Colin Kane, Dylan Nguyen and Chris Ward lead an improved defense that could vey well hold the key to a turnaround season for the Lancers.

 

Middletown North

Head Coach: Fred Napoli, 16th season
2017 Record: 9-12 (5-9, seventh in Class B North)
Returners: Mike Del Grosso (Sr., Defense), Peter Angelucci (Jr., Midfield), Dane Calhoun (Sr., Defense), Aidan Cardella (So., Forward), Jake Carey (Sr., Defense), Brendan McCartney (Sr., Midfield)
Key Losses: Liam McGregor (Midfield), Ryan Binn (Midfield), Ryan Rhatigan (Forward), Pat Gallagher (Midfield), Kevin McCarthy (Defense)
Newcomers: Alex Bogues (So., Goalkeeper), Denzel Boetang (So., Midfield), Alex Perez (So., Midfield), Alex Dulin (Jr., Forward), Branden Del Grosso (So., Midfield), Matt Rozinsky (Jr., Defense), Pat Sarin (Sr., Forward)

Photo by Steve Meyer.

Current Monmouth University freshman Liam McGregor was one of the Shore’s most talented players in 2017, but he could not carry the load last year for a Middletown North team that lost a lot of talent from an accomplished 2016 squad. Despite McGregor’s best efforts (15 goals, including five in two NJSIAA tournament games), Middletown North finished with a losing record and could not get out of the Shore Conference Tournament first round.

On top of losing McGregor, the Lions also lose 12-goal scorer Ryan Binn and midfielder Pat Gallagher (12 assists). Between that trio, Middletown North is looking to replace 30 goals and 21 assists, and much of the task will fall on junior midfielder Peter Angelucci and sophomore forward Aidan Cardella. Middletown North will rely much more on a defense led by senior standout Mike Del Grasso, so look for the Lions to play a defensive-minded style that keeps some games close in a tough B North division.

 

Red Bank

Head Coach: Vincent Gruosso, second season
2017 Record: 2-15 (1-11, seventh in Class A Central)
Returners: Jon Paul Valencia (Jr., Midfield), Tor Haugenes (Jr., Midfield), Mark Brewer (Sr., Defense), Aden Castelle (Jr., Forward), Miles Cunningham (Jr., Defense), Sebastian Carroll (Jr., Goalkeeper), Eric Christie (Jr., Forward), Emilio Hernandez (Jr., Midfield/Forward), Cesar Ximil (Jr., Midfield), Ryan Karr (So., Defense)
Key Losses: Kevin Gomez (Forward), Raul Rodriguez (Midfield), Ian Birn (Midfield), Ryan Lefever (Midfield), Brandon Vuong (Forward), Colin Baker (Goalkeeper), Jack McPherson (Forward), Luke Devine (Defense)
Newcomers: Sean McCabe (Jr., Defense), Matteo Balderas (So., Forward), Jacob Kirkpatrick (Fr., Defense), Phil Stolfa (Fr., Midfield), Evan Cheevers (Jr., Midfield), Michael Espinoza (So., Defense)

Photo by Steve Meyer.

After winning just two games last year, Red Bank graduated a wave of seniors and will roster only two this upcoming season while playing in a division that has a good deal of seniors across the eight teams. Mark Brewer will be the lone senior starter and the overwhelming majority of the remaining starters will be juniors, led by midfielder Jon Paul Valencia and forward Aden Castelle.

Sebastian Carroll got some work in goal last season and will return as a junior this year with Brewer, Miles Cunningham and Ryan Knarr protecting him on the back line. This season will likely be a developmental one for Red Bank, but the Bucs have a legitimate opportunity to surprise a team or two on their schedule and set themselves up nicely for 2019.

 

XI to Watch (With 2017 Stats)

Santieno Harding, Ocean (11 goals, 7 assists)

Leo Montesinos, Ocean (16 goals, 3 assists)

Wilby Alfred, Neptune (18 goals, 6 assists)

Zach Sintic, Ocean (3 assists)

Riley Powers, Wall (11 goals, 4 assists)

Luke Yates, Ocean (4 goals, 7 assists)

Kieran Kane, St. John Vianney (6 goals, 6 assists)

Mickenna Church, Neptune (5 goals, 8 assists)

Tagg Ancrum, Wall (2 goals, 3 assists)

Marcelo Colonna, Matawan (3 goals, 2 assists)

Mark Mauro, Ocean (6 goals, 2 assists)

 

Goalkeepers to Watch

Max Winters, Ocean (9 shutouts)

Seamus McAnee, Neptune (3 shutouts)

Anthony Altomonte, St. John Vianney

Sebastian Camponile, Wall

 

Breakout Players to Watch

Jack Gotsch, Wall

James Schutz, Ocean

Ethan Kilmnick, Colts Neck

Aden Castelle, Red Bank

Aidan Cardella, Middletown North