ASBURY PARK - Unlike last year, when it won 18 games and won an NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I championship, the Asbury Park boys soccer team has felt what it's like to be the team that opponents gear up to beat.

The games at the beginning of the season have been more challenging than they were a year ago, but the results, to this point, have been the same.

The Blue Bishops improved to 4-0 on the young season Wednesday by beating perennial Shore Conference Class B Central contender St. Rose, 4-2, for a third straight time dating back to last season.

Asbury Park senior Davensky JoinVilmar. (Photo by Matt Manley)

"We've been down, we've been in overtime and we have some new guys playing for us so to still be undefeated is good for us," Asbury Park coach Jean Dortissant said. "I like where we are. I knew it was going to take a little bit of time to build the chemistry like we had last year and today (Wednesday), I really liked what I saw. There was more communication on the field, which we did a lot last year."

At the center of Asbury Park's strong start is senior Davensky JoinVilmar, who also led his team in scoring as a junior and was the primary catalyst in the Blue Bishops' 9-0 start in 2016. On Wednesday, JoinVilmar recorded his second hat trick of the season by scoring twice in the first seven minutes of the game and scoring the game-winning goal in the 58th. He now has nine goals in four games, including three game-winners - two of which were golden goals in overtime.

"He's had to be a leader for us this year," Dortissant said of JoinVilmar. "It's an adjustment for him, which is why I didn't make him captain. I didn't want him to feel any extra pressure, but he knows we need him to do a lot for us as a leader on the field."

During its 4-0 start to this season, Asbury Park has already played two overtime games and faced a 2-2 tie into the middle stages of the second half against St. Rose. During their nine-game winning streak to open last year, the Blue Bishops went to overtime once, which was also the only game they won by one goal.

Losing three of its top five scorers and an all-division goalkeeper from last year's team, the Bishops and Dortissant had their work cut out for them in 2017, but bringing back the top scorer has helped. JoinVilmar scored four goals in a wild, 6-5, opening-day, overtime win over Metuchen and also scored the golden goal in a 2-1 win over Mater Dei Prep on Monday.

Tuesday initially looked like it would be another lopsided win for Asbury Park against St. Rose, whom the Bishops outscored 9-1 in two meetings last year. JoinVilmar scored 4:44 into the match and converted a pass from senior teammate Widmaier Beaubrun 1:40 later to stake the Blue Bishops to a 2-0 lead.

Asbury Park took that 2-0 lead into the second half despite the fact that JoinVilmar spent the last 12 minutes of the first on the bench after getting kicked in the shin. St. Rose came out firing in the second half, scoring on two goals by junior Evan Walters in the first 3:01 of the half.

The Bishops switched freshman goalkeepers at halftime, with Woodley Cagilus taking over for Walter Duarte. Walters scored in the second minute on a hard-hit shot that one-hopped into the goal and scored again 1:07 later on a 50-yard free kick that took a high bounce off the turf, over Cagilus and into the goal.

"Both of those guys are getting better and I think by the end of the season, we'll be solid there," Dortissant said. "(Cagilus) is very athletic and we're just trying to get him some confidence."

In the 57th minute, Asbury Park earned a corner kick and senior Stevenson Jean Baptiste swung the ball into the middle of the 18-yard box. JoinVilmar stormed into the box from the opposite side of the kick and one-timed a volley out of the air into the goal for the go-ahead score.

The Bishops capped the scoring in the 65th when senior Jean Osner Pierre headed in a long free kick from junior defender Wenderlens Garius.

Asbury Park has now outscored St. Rose 13-3 over the last three meetings between the teams. On Wednesday, the Purple Roses played without junior center midfielder Jonathan Caputo, who was home sick from school, according to head coach Brian Pringle.

Wednesday's win puts Asbury Park in an ideal position going forward as the Blue Bishops build  chemistry and confidence for their new starters around returnees like JoinVilmar, Beaubrun, Garius, Jean Baptiste and senior Schown Narcisse.

"I like what I've seen," JoinVilmar said. "So far, so good, but we've got to keep practicing, keep working and hopefully win the championship again."


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