Boys Soccer – Class A Central Preview
The top five teams in the 2014 Class A Central standings all lost their top scorer from a year ago and defending defending champion Matawan and runner-up each lost its top two, which makes for a competitive, open race in the upcoming 2015 season.
In Predicted Order of Finish
Head Coach: John Nacarlo, 13th season
2014 Record: 12-7-3 (7-4-3, second in A Central)
Returning Players: Tyler Marchiano (Sr., Goalkeeper), Leo Lobrega (Jr., Midfield), Hunter Chapman (Jr., Forward/Midfield), Nick Chrystal (Sr., Midfield), Dante Marino (Sr., Defense), Michael Carannante (Sr., Forward), Nick Saizan (Sr., Midfield), Rohan Ghandi (Sr., Forward), Sean Gross (Sr., Forward)
Key Losses: Gino D’Agostino (Forward), Menos Hiras (Midfield), Eric D’Aleo (Midfield), Nick Zolofra (Defense), Brian Healy (Defense), Tom Rogan (Defense), Rob Ceriello (Defense), Brendan Wall (Midfield) – transferred to Ranney
Newcomers: Kevin Healy (Jr., Defense), Justin McStay (So., Defense), Nick Guga (So., Defense/Midfield), Joe Arena (Fr., Midfield), Torre Avitable (Fr., Defense), Jesse Dopelt (Sr., Defense), Parker Aldredge (Sr., Defense), Nick Zito (Sr., Forward/Midfield), Matt Leone (So., Forward), Mikey Neff (So., Midfield), Jack Murray (Fr., Goalkeeper)
A mix of accomplished senior experience and young talent was not enough to help Holmdel win a fifth straight Class A Central championship or reach a fourth consecutive Shore Conference Tournament semifinal. The Hornets lose eight starters from last year’s team, so youth will be an even bigger factor for Holmdel this season.
Senior goalkeeper Tyler Marchiano is a three-year starter who was a third team All-Shore goalkeeper as a sophomore before battling through injuries during the first part of his junior year. A quad injury hampered him leading into the preseason, but Marchiano is ready to lead the way as a senior and with so much inexperience around him, he may have to.
Senior midfielder Nick Chrystal emerged as a reliable player for Holmdel last season and will help anchor the middle of the field again in 2014. Junior Hunter Chapman began to find a scoring touch with four goals last year and will be a leading scoring option up top along with senior Rohan Ghandi. Sophomore Justin McStay has been impressive at sweeper so far and midfielder Joe Arena will be one of two freshman starters for the Hornets, along with defender Tom Avitable. Defending division champion Matawan took a hit to graduation as did St. John Vianney, so relative to the rest of the A Central field, Holmdel is in good shape for 2015.
Head Coach: Will Gould, third season
2014 Record: 5-13-3 (4-6-2, sixth in A Central)
Returning Players: Jamie Martin (Sr., Forward), Christian Ciardiello (Sr., Defense), Dean Criscitiello (Sr., Defense), Peter Halliday (Sr., Midfield), Nick Calabrese (Jr., Midfield), Markar Krikorian (Jr., Goalkeeper), Sam Sapnar (Jr., Midfield), Jeremy Nives (So., Midfield), Matt Maisto (Sr., Forward), Emmett Debree (Sr., Midfield)
Key Losses: Shaemus Ffrench (Defense), Paul Criscitiello (Defense), Danny Susser (Midfield), Jack Luby (Midfield), Mike Slutz (Forward)
Newcomers: Jack Balestro (Jr., Defense), Ben Cooper (Sr., Defense), Luke Destefano (So., Midfield), Owen Greengrove (So., Midfield), Tristan Kipler (Jr., Midfield), Tyler Lubin (Jr., Forward)
Of all the teams in Class A Central, Rumson-Fair Haven is the only one that returns most of its starting lineup from a year ago. Last year’s Bulldogs team was tasked with replacing nine starters from one of the best teams in school history and then had to play almost the entire season without injured striker Mike Slutz, the top returning scorer from the previous year.
The trials and tribulations of 2014 – which included six one-goal losses – have positioned Rumson for a bounceback 2015 season. With Slutz on the shelf, Jamie Martin led the team in scoring as a junior with nine goals and five assists and returns as a senior who also played significant minutes on Rumson’s 2013 team. Juniors Sam Sapnar and Nick Calabrese each played heavy minutes as sophomores, while Christian Ciardiello, Dean Criscitiello, Peter Halliday, Matt Maisto and Emmett Debree also return with experience. Junior goalkeeper Markar Krikorian also had a strong showing in his first season as a starter.
A wave of sophomores will also join the mix, led by Jeremy Nives, Owen Greengrove and Luke Destefano, which should set Rumson up for a run this year and beyond. A lack of varsity experience was too much to overcome last year, but if returning experience is any determining factor for success this year, Rumson will be dangerous again in 2015.
St. John Vianney
Head Coach: Brian Grimm, 14th season
2014 Record: 11-7 (7-5, third in A Central)
Returning Players: Mark Urbealis (Sr., Midfield/Forward), Austin Schlessinger (Sr., Defense), David Kamenar (Sr., Forward); Michael Clancy (Sr., Defense), Zack Richards (Sr., Midfield), John Caracappa (Jr., Midfield), Kyle Tuschmann (Jr., Midfield), Kyle Kane (Jr., Defense), Cameron Richards (Jr., Forward), Phil Wojtowicz (Jr., Forward), Justin Bruno (Jr., Forward)
Key Losses: Christian Bruno (Defense), Davin Eugenio (Midfield), Andrew DeRosa (Midfield), Alex Politi (Forward), Lello Scotto di Clemente (Defense), John Kazmac (Goalkeeper), Vinny Durso (Forward), Andrew Zimms (Goalkeeper)
Newcomers: Ben Coburn (Sr., Defense), Alain Troisi (Sr., Defense), Nick Edinger (Sr., Defense), Will Scherer (Sr., Midfield), Will Forman (So., Defense), Lucas Aquino (So., Midfield), Anthony Cendagorta (Sr., Goalkeeper), Matt Ross (So., Goalkeeper)
Midway through October of last year, it appeared that St. John Vianney had missed its chance to accomplish anything of note in 2014 as some early-October losses knocked the Lancers out of contention for a Class A Central title. They still had the postseason, however, and Vianney made the most of the second season by making a run to the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals as a No. 25 seed – the highest seed to ever reach the SCT semifinals.
The Lancers lose leading scorer and third-team All-Shore forward Alex Politi, as well as second-team defender Christian Bruno, who were both instrumental during the SCT run. Seniors David Kamenar and Mark Urbealis return to lead the attack, while senior Austin Schlessinger will move from the midfield to the back along with returning senior Michael Clancy. Senior Zack Richards, junior John Caracappa and junior Kyle Tuschmann all return with some starting experience in the midfield, where the Lancers should be able to get by.
Goalkeeper will be a question mark, as senior Anthony Cendagorta and sophomore Matt Ross each compete for the spot without any varsity experience. A couple of holes in the lineup could hamper the Lancers, but Vianney returns enough talent in the midfield to make an impact in Class A Central.
Head Coach: Tom McGill, second season
2014 Record: 9-9-1 (6-5-1, fourth in A Central)
Returning Players: Mike Lyons (Sr., Defense), Brendan Kelly (Sr., Defense), Beau Bradley (Sr., Midfield), Kevin Dempsey (Sr., Forward), Brian Comer (Sr., Goalkeeper), Tolga Guven (Sr., Midfield), Mike Howell (Sr., Midfield), Thomas McGill (Sr., Midfield), Ryan Shafer (Sr., Midfield), Tyler Shafer (Sr., Midfield), Matt Del Guercio (Sr., Midfield), Dan Del Guercio (Jr., Forward), Fran Bautista (Jr., Forward), Aaron Kocienski (Jr., Midfield), Jack Long (Jr., Goalkeeper), Bryan Tapia (Jr., Midfield), Spencer Westcott (Jr., Goalkeeper), Chris Black (So., Defense)
Key Losses: Enrique Perez (Forward), Jake Cardelfe (Midfield), Tyler Bradley (Midfield), Noah Drake (Defense), Parker Black (Defense), Ed Franzonie (Forward)
Newcomers: Sean Rogers (Sr., Defense), Liam Couzza (Jr., Midfield), Pat Felsted (Jr., Defense), Marty McHugh (Jr., Defense), Logan Roddy (Jr., Defense), Matt Forcillo (Jr., Forward), Nick Billotti (So., Midfield), Chris Capone (So., Midfield)
The Warriors were a factor in a tight Class A Central race last season and return a nice dose of starting experience from a postseason team. The issue the Warriors have to overcome is the loss of most of their scoring firepower from a year ago. Ed Franzonie (10 goals) and Enrique Perez led the Manasquan attack and both graduated in the spring.
Seniors Mike Lyons and Beau Bradley were key contributors last season – Lyons on the defense and Bradley as a midfielder who scored a pair of big goals for the Warriors during the season. Lyons will lead the back four this season along with returning senior Brendan Kelly, while senior Tolga Guven will have a chance to make an impact in the midfield again. Senior goalkeeper Brian Comer also returns after taking over in goal last year.
With so many teams in A Central looking to replace graduated talent, Manasquan has a chance to benefit, as long as the returning talent can replace the scoring the Warriors lost.
Head Coach: Tyler Isaacson, first season
2014 Record: 12-6 (9-3, first in A Central)
Returning Players: Bronson Dhume (Sr., Midfield), Colin Thompson (Sr., Goalkeeper), Amil Muminovic (Sr., Midfield), Keleb Mehari (Jr., Defense), Tyler Chin (Jr., Defense), Jacob Labinger (Jr., Defense)
Key Losses: Alex Cella (Forward), Matt Isaacson (Midfield), Sada Mehari (Defense), Abisai Gutierrez (Forward), Denir Radoncic (Forward/Midfield) – Academy Commitment
Newcomers: Griffin Heyward (So., Midfield), Tyler Walling (Jr., Midfield), Charlie Costello (Jr., Forward), Liam Nappi (Jr., Defense), Anthony Quattrocci (Jr., Midfield)
Last year’s Class A Central title was the first division championship in the history of the Matawan boys soccer program, so this is the first Huskies team that will play a season as a defending division champion. Losing all-division players Alex Cella (second team All Shore) and Matt Isaacson puts a major dent in goal-scoring, but senior Bronson Dhume was a key cog in the attack as a midfielder last year and returns as a senior captain and four-year letter-winner. Dhume scored five goals to go with five assists last year.
Senior goalkeeper Colin Thompson and midfielder Amil Muminovic are also back and the rest of the Matawan starting lineup will consist mostly of the Huskies deep junior class, which had a significant impact during the team’s championship 2014. The defense has potential with the return of juniors Keleb Mehari, Tyler Chin and Jacob Labinger in the back in front of Thompson.
Matawan probably won’t scare teams like they did last year because the Huskies don’t have a one-two punch like Cella and Isaacson, but Dhume is a quality leader in the middle and with a collective effort up front and a step forward from the juniors in the back, Matawan will put up a hard-fought title defense in A Central.
Head Coach: Darren Spadevecchia, 12th season
2014 Record: 9-11-1 (5-7-0, fifth in A Central)
Returning Players: Ross Spadevecchia (Sr., Forward), Bobby Riordan (Sr., Midfield), Erik Caban (Sr., Midfield), Fabian Burgos (Sr., Midfield), Austin DeOrio (Sr., Defense), Joel Burgos (So., Forward)
Key Losses: Matt Doucette (Midfield), Matt Vincenti (Goalkeeper), Jorge Camargo (Defense), Kyle Wire (Defense), Matt Moynihan (Defense)
Newcomers: Nicco Ludden (Sr., Defense), Ryan DiBella (Sr., Defense), Kevin Ross (Sr., Goalkeeper), Jason Wolff (So., Forward), Evan Kowslowski (Sr., Midfield)
The Falcons came up one win shy of qualifying for the Shore Conference Tournament last year and that run at the postseason was a step in the right direction after struggling in recent years. While replacing top scorer Matt Doucette and standout goalkeeper Matt Vincenti will be difficult, the Falcons are in good position to continue to compete up and down the division.
Senior forward Ross Spadevecchia is a proven goal-scorer who had to play in the back because of some injuries, while seniors Bobby Riordan and Erik Caban return to the midfield after productive junior years. Sophomore Joel Burgos scored three goals as a freshman and joins Spadevecchia up top, giving the Falcons some potential firepower, which will be key for a team that lacks experience in the back around returning defender Austin DeOrio and first-year starter in goal Kevin Ross.
Monmouth has the returning roster to put goals on the board, but goal prevention is a question mark for Monmouth heading into the season. Since every other team in the division has obvious question marks, that won’t be a disqualifier for Monmouth as the Falcons try to keep flying up the standings.
Head Coach: Ron Poll, eighth season
2014 Record: 4-12-1 (2-10-0, seventh in A Central)
Returning Players: Chris Medina (Sr., Forward), Louis DiLaurenzio (So., Forward), Chad Santopadre (Jr., Goalkeeper), Nick Benoit (So., Defense), Tom Savin (So., Forward)
Key Losses: Ryan Casciani (Forward), Rocco Ferrigno (Defense), Cassidy Tripolitis (Defense), Quinton Bivians (Sr., Midfield), Chris Leveroni (Sr., Defense), Barry O’Sullivan (Midfield), Angelo Fontanazza (Defense), Peter Amato (Midfield), Dan DelRusso (Midfield)
Newcomers: Mike Pruscino (Jr., Defense), Ryan Goggins (So., Midfield), Ryan Eusebi (So., Midfield), Matt Lazicki (So., Defense), Brian Busse (So., Defense), Nick Amodeo (So., Midfield), Zach May (Fr., Defense), Marco Vasta (Fr., Midfield), Anthony Sparacino (Fr., Midfield)
Last season began with cautious optimism for a Raritan team that had a handful of senior holdovers with a talented young core beginning to push into the starting lineup. The young roster took its lumps and finished in last place in A Central, but the Rockets were competitive game-in and game-out and had a solid core set to return in 2015.
Senior forward Chris Medina and sophomores Louis DiLaurenzio, Nick Benoit and Tom Savin are back this year, but a number of potential returnees opted not to play this season for various reasons, according to coach Ron Poll. DiLaurenzio led a balanced Raritan scoring effort with four goals last season and will likely carrying most of the scoring load with Medina up top. Benoit returns to lead a defense that will need to catch up in experience in front of junior goalkeeper Chad Santopadre, who will be one of the top goalkeepers in the division behind Holmdel standout Tyler Marchiano.
With a young roster that does not have a whole lot of depth, this year might have some more growing pains in store for the Rockets, but they are still on pace to get back into the Class A Central race. It just may take an extra year to get there.
Players to Watch
Jamie Martin, Rumson-Fair Haven – A nine-goal junior year was a solid follow-up to his sophomore year as a role player and a possible precursor to a big senior year.
Bronson Dhume, Matawan – Alex Cella and Matt Isaacson did most of the scoring, but Dhume was an instrumental as any player to Matawan’s success in 2014.
Hunter Chapman, Holmdel – Speed is a big part of Chapman’s game and it helped him emerge as a dangerous player on the attack by the end of last year.
Louis DiLaurenzio, Raritan – A four-goal freshman season suggests there is a lot more to come from the speedy Rockets forward.
David Kamenar, St. John Vianney – The leading returning scorer for the Lancers, Kamenar flew under the radar as a dangerous player up top alongside the now-graduated Politi.
Goalkeeper to Watch
Tyler Marchiano, Holmdel – Injuries slowed Marchiano last year, but the three-year starter has a body of work that stacks up against almost any goalkeeper in the state.
Breakout Players to Watch
Justin McStay, Holmdel – The line of solid sweepers continues at Holmdel with a sophomore in McStay who might have played as a freshman had he not opted to play with an academy.
Beau Bradley, Manasquan – A couple of big goals last season should help springboard Bradley to lead the Warriors attack this season.
Owen Greengrove, Rumson – The Bulldogs have a bunch of potential breakout players, with Greengrove joining the varsity program as a sophomore after electing to play for Match Fit Academy last year.