Facing a one-goal deficit on the road against a team known for making it difficult to score goals, the Toms River South boys soccer team faced its first test without its top goal-scorer from a year ago.

If goal-scoring in difficult situations was at all a question mark for thec Indians - the No. 2 ranked team in the Shore Sports Network Preseason Top 10 - they answered it against Shore Conference Class A South rival Jackson Memorial Monday by rallying from a one-goal halftime deficit to beat the Jaguars, 3-2.

Senior Dylan Parks, who was the second-leading goal-scorer for the Indians a year ago, scored two of the three Toms River South goals with classmate Tyler Egnatuk assisting both. He scored the first goal of the game and capped the scoring with the game-winner in the 68th minute.

Toms River South senior Dylan Parks (left) battles Jackson Memorial senior Christian Fryc for the ball. (Photo by Matt Manley)

"Going down a goal is always rough, especially against a good team like this," Egnatuk said. "We talked at halftime and said, 'We have to get it together.' We made simple passes and got it done."

Senior outside back Dylan Dannelson started the go-ahead sequence by winning the ball on the left side of the field, turning the corner near the endline and sent a left-footed cross into the box. Egnatuk headed the ball back toward the left post and Parks headed the ball out of the air and into the net.

Parks opened the scoring in the seventh minute by taking a pass from Egnatuk on a counter-attack, beating two defenders and slotting the ball into the far right corner of the net.

Jackson Memorial took control of the game by halftime with goals by senior Mike Schoener and freshman Dan Russo. Schoener took a long pass from freshman Ben Schnaake, cut the ball back to the middle and ripped the equalizer in from eight yards out in the 24th minute.

Schoener then flicked a free kick by senior Andrew Jenkins toward the net and Russo finished the play with a volley into the goal in the 28th.

The one-goal deficit was underscored by a 7-2 advantage in shots for Jackson Memorial at one point in the first half. Toms River South took the final four shots of the half to close that margin to 7-6 and outpaced the Jaguars, 5-4, in shots on goal.

Toms River South carried that momentum into the second half and tied the game in the 46th on a 12-yard strike by junior Isaiah Dominguez off a touch by Parks. Senior fullback Ben Brown served a free kick into the box and Parks got a head on it before it ended up on the left foot of Dominguez.

"It's a whole team effort," Egnatuk said. "We move up as a group, we get back as a group. That's pretty much it. We leave it to the forwards to score goals, so hopefully we can do it and get it done."

With Monday's comeback, Toms River South once again demonstrated goal-scoring prowess despite coming into the year needing to replace the 26 goals scored last season by Cameron Geerinck. During his team's run to the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals and the NJSIAA Group III final, Geerinck scored eight goals in 10 postseason games.

In two games this season, the Indians have scored nine goals, with Monday's three-goal effort following up a 6-1 opening-day win over Brick.

"Losing Cam is tough," Egnatuk said. "They put me up top, which is kind of a big deal for me. I just kept practicing and working hard to get ready before the game to do what I needed to do."

Toms River South also benefited from some back luck on Jackson Memorial's side. Schoener, who scored 25 goals as a junior last season and scored his third of this season in the first half, left the game late in the second half due to tightness in his hamstring, according to Jaguars coach Steve Bado, and did not return. According to Bado, Schoener's has been battling the nagging injury and although he tried to loosen it up and return at one point in the second half, he could not shake the discomfort.

"We figured he was going to come back and when he didn't, it made us a little more confident keeping those four guys in the back and letting them come up a little bit more," Egnatuk said of Schoener. "Having him out helped us a little, but one player doesn't make a team."

"He (Schoener) tried getting loose and I asked him, and he just kind of gave me a look," Bado said. "I didn't want to take any chances. It's unfortunate because he changes a game. When he was in, we were up 2-1 and they had to worry about the counters with Schoener on the field. If he's on the field for the second half, maybe it's a different outcome."

Box Score

Toms River South 3, Jackson Memorial 2

1 2 F
TR South (2-0, 2-0) 1 2 3
Jackson Mem. (2-1, 1-1) 2 0 2

Goals: (TRS) Dylan Parks (Tyler Egnatuk) 7', Isaiah Dominguez (Dylan Parks) 47', Dylan Parks (Tyler Egnatuk) 68'; (JM) Mike Schoener (Ben Schnaak) 24', Dan Russo (Mike Schoener) 28'
Shots: Jackson Memorial, 11-9
Saves: (TRS) Dom Pizzi 3; (JM) Nick Kinzler 5