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Manalapan senior Matt Dizenhaus had already had two overtime chances to end his team’s game against Shore Conference Class A North rival Christian Brothers Academy Friday, and instead of lamenting his two missed chances, he readied himself for his third and final try.

Dizenhaus scored the game’s lone goal with 17 seconds left in the second overtime and the Braves – the No. 3 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 – continued their strong start to the season by stunning the No. 6 Colts, 1-0.

With time running out in the game, senior Brandon Garcia gathered a ball played into the box and struck it off a CBA defender and toward the left post. The ball rolled to Dizenhaus, who punched a shot past CBA goalkeeper David Kral to set off the Manalapan celebration.

Dizenhaus took a clean shot from 10 yards out on the right side right at Kral and, later in the second overtime period, ripped a 20-yard shot off the crossbar in the 94th minute.

“I knew I was going to get another shot,” Dizenhaus said. “We have a team that never stops believing we’re going to win the game and as long as there’s time on the clock, we think we’re going to score.”

CBA also had a quality chance in the 96th minute when Manalapan goalkeeper Ethan Siegel left his line and went down to the ground, leaving the goal exposed. The ball sat near the six-yard box, but before a CBA player could get to it, Adam Weisbeger slid in to clear it out of the box.

Siegel made his biggest save in the 61st minute when he pushed a shot by Colts sophomore Tom Lozowski over the crossbar. Lozowski got past the Manalapan defense and had a clean shot at Siegel, who came through with the save.

Manalapan split goalkeepers in the game, which has been the norm over the last two weeks. Sophomore Matt Rosenberg stared the game and Siegel relieved him in the second half.

“We didn’t plan on splitting keepers, but it’s worked out that way because of how both have played,” Manalapan coach John Natoli said. “Matt has the advantage of having more years left in the program and Ethan is the experienced leader. We’ve been taking it game to game and that’s probably the plan for the time being.”

The Braves' defense helped the goalkeeper duo keep the Colts off the board for Manalapan’s seventh shutout of the season. Mike McNicolas, Garcia, Brian Dolan and Chris Colen combined to limit CBA to five shots, two of which were on goal. The Braves enjoyed a 17-5 advantage in shots.

“A big difference for us this year has been our fitness level,” Natoli said. “Our guys came into this year in great shape and that makes our job as coaches so much easier because you don’t have to spend that time with conditioning, and once you get on the field, you can ask any of the players to do a lot of different things and they can handle it.”

Manalapan has endured two straight losing seasons and three losing seasons in the past four years after a successful run during the first eight years of the new millennium that included a Shore Conference Tournament championship, two NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV titles and a Group IV co-title in 2007. With a 7-1 record through eight games, Manalapan remains in first place in Class A North and is positioned to do what neither of its Group IV finalist teams could do in 2006 or 2007: win a division title.

“These guys have spent a lot of time playing with one another, and it’s starting to show,” Natoli said. “In the past we’ve been known for our physicality, but this team is made up of more technical players. It’s fun to coach them. I’ve always believed that you play with the hand you’re dealt. If you get big athletes, you play physical. If you get skilled players, you try to open things up and let them play.”

The Braves have won two straight games after taking their first loss of the season on Monday. Colts Neck beat Manalapan 3-0, which was also the first time an opponent had scored on the Braves this year. Through eight games, Manalapan has scored 15 goals and allowed only three.

“I think (the loss) might have been a good thing for us,” Natoli said. “I think the guys were starting to get the idea that winning was easy and that we didn’t have to go out and earn it every day. There are plenty of teams out there who can beat us if we don’t show up and if you’re going to keep winning, you have to keep earning it every day.”

After nearly 100 minutes of soccer against a division rival, Manalapan will travel to Jackson Memorial on Saturday against a Jaguars team that is in the thick of the Class A South race.

“It’s going to be a tough, physical game,” Dizenhaus said. “It’ll be a tough game to win, but we are looking forward to it.”

Box Score

Manalapan 1, CBA 0

Final

1

2

OT

OT

F

Manalapan (7-1-0, 7-1-0)

0

0

0

1

1

CBA (5-3-1, 5-3-1)

0

0

0

0

0

Goals: (M) Dizenhaus (Garcia) 100’
Shots: CBA, 17-5
Saves: (M) Rosenberg 1, Siegel 1; (CBA) Kral 5