TOMS RIVER - The last Shore Conference Tournament game that Toms River North played on its home field was an overtime heartbreaker last year, but within 30 minutes of its opening-round game against No. 18 seed Holmdel Thursday, the 15th-seeded Mariners put last year behind them with a first-half laugher.

The Mariners erupted for four first-half goals and six different players contributed a goal in a 6-0 rout of the Hornets that pushed Toms River North into the round of 16 Saturday against No. 2 CBA.

"This was probably the best game we've played just based on the fact that we were able to finish," Toms River North coach Joe Mahon said. "That's really been our main problem this year. We have stretches where we play well, but we don't really have a true goal-scorer on the field to cash in on the opportunities. Today, it looked like our guys had it in their minds they were going to shoot the ball if they saw a chance, which is what we need to be doing a lot more of."

Last year, Toms River North was the No. 3 seed in the tournament and lost to No. 19 Marlboro 3-2 in overtime in the round of 16 on its home field. The Mariners later went on to reach the NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV championship game and further buried the ghosts of last year's early SCT exit Thursday with a complete thumping of a Holmdel team that finished the regular season strong to qualify for the tournament.

"Last year's loss to Marlboro hurt just because of the way it ended," Mahon said. "I don't think it was really on anybody's mind today, but I do know that our kids really wanted to win this game. We got a game on our home field and they wanted to win at least one here and go to CBA and see what happens."

Senior Joey Hertgen opened the scoring a minute into the game with a 20-yard strike to the upper part of the net. Junior Mitch Reed - who also assisted on two goals - made it 2-0 with a low strike to the far left corner of the goal from 12 yards out and sophomore Jack Butz headed in a near-post cross from senior Kyle Burke 1:22 later to give the Mariners a 3-0 lead in the 23rd minute.

"Seeing the ball go in a minute into the game on a great shot like that definitely fire us up," Reed said, referencing Hertgen's goal. "We came out wanting to attack and to keep attacking. We didn't want to stop with one or two goals. We knew they (Holmdel) came in playing pretty well and if we had a chance to put them away, we wanted to go for it."

Junior Matt Benvenuto headed in a flick from Reed to blow the game open in the 30th. The Mariners tacked on two more in the second half, the first on a one-timed shot out of the air by senior Nick Moreno on a cross by Reed and the second on a steal, touch and shot combo by sophomore Harmony Ben Gam in the 56th minute.

Junior Kevin Ryan saved four shots to secure the shutout in goal. Ryan has filled in for injured starter Tommy Lynch, who is out for the remainder of the season after suffering a ruptured spleen.

CBA and Toms River North have battled in recent SCT history and traditionally square off during the preseason. The Colts beat the Mariners in three straight Shore Conference Tournaments from 2009 to 2011, twice beating them in the semifinals in 2009 and 2011 and in the championship game in 2010. CBA won a preseason meeting 4-2 in early September.

"They have a big field that makes them very tough to play against, but it's definitely good that we've been there and played on it already," Reed said. "We know how they are going to play and we're going to try to figure out a way to play them better this time."


Box Score

Toms River North 6, Holmdel 0

1 2 F
Holmdel  (6-6-2) 0 0 0
Toms River North (9-6-1) 4 2 6

Goals (Assists): (TRN) Joey Hertgen 1’, Mitch Reed (Raz Chabra) 22’, Jack Butz (Kyle Burke) 23’, Matt Benvenuto (Mitch Reed) 30’, Nick Moreno (Mitch Reed) 47’, Harmony Bel Gam 56’
Shots: Toms River North, 16-7
Saves: (H) Tyler Marchiano 2; (TRN) Kevin Ryan 3