MIDDLETOWN – Freehold Township senior Chase Berkowitz began his high school soccer career by scoring a goal against a Christian Brothers Academy team that finished the 2011 season 21-0, a strike from 25 yards out as Freehold Township coach Todd Briggs recalls it.

In his final regular season game at CBA Wednesday, Berkowitz helped ignite the Patriots – No. 2 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 – with another shot from long range, only this time, it was in a winning effort.

Senior Chase Berkowitz got Freehold Township off and rolling Wednesday with a goal just before halftime and the Colts finished with two second-half goals to beat CBA, 3-1. (Photo by Matt Manley)

Berkowitz hit a high-arcing, 30-yard shot in the final seconds of the first half, and the Patriots broke open an even game on goals by Tim O’Donnell and Jason Czajkowski to outlast CBA, 3-1.

“I don’t think about playing CBA any differently than I do about other teams, but they are always one of the best teams in (Class) A North,” Berkowitz said. “As a team, we always want to win championships, and it always seems like that road goes through CBA.”

Freehold Township dominated the first 32 minutes of the match only to enter the final stages of the first half scoreless with the Colts. After surrendering an 8-1 shot disadvantage over those first 30-plus minutes, CBA began to put possessions together to close out the half. The Patriots could not score during their earlier bombardment, but they still took a 1-0 lead to the half thanks to Berkowitz’s shot from 30 yards out that cleared the reach of CBA goalkeeper Dave Krall and landed in the net with six seconds left in the first half.

“This is a kid who stepped on the varsity field as a freshman and put in a shot from 20-to-25 yards out against that loaded CBA team,” Briggs said of Berkowitz. “He’s been that kind of performer for us since he’s come in here, and he might not always get the glory or the goals, but Chase is a huge part of what we do, and he was huge again today.”

Krall was instrumental in keeping CBA in the game during the first half, making five of his eight saves, which included two stops on breakaways by Tim O’Donnell and Kyle Czajkowski.

Despite surrendering the disheartening goal to Berkowitz, the Colts continued to control play during the first 15 minutes of the second half, which included the equalizer in the 54th minute. John Frycz turned the corner on the left side and slid a pass to Matt Thorsheim in front of the goal. Thorsheim poked the ball past Freehold Township goalkeeper Mike Christina to tie the game.

“We had (starting center midfielder) Mark Fasano come out of the game for a while with an injury, and we had some guys dealing with some health issues, so maybe we were a little vulnerable for a stretch there and to CBA’s credit, they settled into the game and started to work the ball,” Briggs said. “Our conditioning is our best asset, and I knew we would have our legs at the end.”

Freehold Township took the lead 4:20 after Thorsheim’s goal. Jason Czajkowski sent a ball to Tim O’Donnell, who made a run, tracked down the ball and finished a one-on-one opportunity with Krall by hitting a low shot to the far side netting. Contrary to the objection from the CBA bench, O’Donnell narrowly stayed onside and took advantage of CBA’s high back line, which Freehold Township turned into several first-half chances that did not amount to any scoring.

“We saw how high they were playing, and we wanted to get guys making runs and chipping balls over the top,” Jason Czajkowski said. “We have a lot of team speed and there was a lot of space to play the ball and run it down.”

“I think the defense played to our strength,” Briggs said. “We didn’t have to discuss it before the game, because that’s the way we are going to attack every game.”

The Patriots put the game away when Mike Maltese sent a cross into the box from left to right and Jason Czajkowski headed the ball into the net in the 73rd minute.

According to Czajkowski and Briggs, both Maltese and Jason Czajkowski had dealt with fevers earlier in the week and, despite productive games, were not at full strength on Wednesday.

“We talked about pacing ourselves and having enough energy to finish the game,” Czajkowski said. “We were still able to start the game off strong and even though we gave up the tying goal, we still knew we had plenty left in the tank.”


Box Score

Freehold Twp. 3, CBA 1




Freehold Twp. (4-0, 4-0)




CBA (2-3, 2-3)




Goals (Assists): (F) Berkowitz 40’, O’Donnell (J. Czajkowski) 58’, J. Czajkowski 73’; (CBA) Thorsheim (Frycz)
Saves: (FT) Christina 2; (CBA) Krall 8
Shots: Freehold Twp., 14-6