TOMS RIVER – Only one boys soccer team in the Shore Conference Class A South division lost a higher percentage of its goal-scoring from a year ago than Toms River North, and through a full preseason and the regular-season opener, it showed.

Over the last three games, two of which were against teams ranked in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, Toms River North has not just solved its scoring woes: the Mariners have been the best scoring team in the Shore Conference.

Junior Joey Hertgen recorded his first career hat trick and senior Ryan Cheslock added two goals for the second straight game Tuesday night to help No. 7 Toms River North rout No. 6 Brick Memorial, 6-2, in Class A South.

Cheslock and Hertgen combined for four goals over a stretch of 10:18 of the first half, turning a 1-0 deficit in the 21st minute into a 4-1 lead by the 31st.

“It’s kind of surprising to see how much we’re scoring,” Hertgen said. “We know we have guys on this team who can score goals, and we really felt like we were going to score enough to win every game, but I don’t think anyone expects to score six goals.”

Since dropping a 4-0 decision at Kearny to open its season, Toms River North has won its last three games by a cumulative score of 13-7. Cheslock has scored five goals during that stretch, including two in each of the last two games. Cheslock and Hertgen combined for all three goals in Friday’s 3-2 win over Lacey.

“We tried some things in the preseason that didn’t really work the way we wanted them and after the Kearny game, we knew we needed to find a way to be more dangerous up top, specifically somebody who could hold the ball,” Toms River North coach Joe Mahon said. “We moved Cheslock up there against Wall, and it was something that we had to do because he’s really the only guy we have with that kind of size who can also hold the ball.

“We have five or six defenders on the team who are capable starters, so I felt fine moving (Cheslock) from the defense. He’s playing where we need him and he’s done a real nice job so far.”

Brick Memorial opened the scoring Tuesday on a Kevin Simek corner kick, with senior defender Alejandro Fernandez pushing up and volleying the service out of the air in the 15th minute. From there, Toms River North took over the game behind a storm of scoring that began five minutes after Brick Memorial grabbed the lead.

Hertgen evened the score 19:46 into the game on a shot to the far right post from 18 yards out off an assist from Mitch Reed. Just 22 seconds later, Cheslock gave Toms River North the lead by taking a pass from Kevin Lysaght, dribbling between a pair of defenders and tapping a shot to the far right corner of the net.

Cheslock and Hertgen connected for the third goal of the run, with Hertgen serving a free kick from near midfield into the box, where Cheslock flicked a header into the goal for a 3-1 Mariners lead in the 26th minute. Hertgen later capped the two-man, four-goal outburst with a direct kick to the upper near corner from 25 yards out on the right side 30:04 into the game.

Hertgen capped his hat trick in the 48th minute with a textbook finish to the lower left corner from a steep angle on the right side of the 18-yard box. Tommy Butz set up the goal by taking the ball up the left flank and sending a pinpoint cross in the air that landed at the feet of Hertgen, who settled it quickly and struck a firm, low shot past Brick Memorial goalkeeper Kurt Reber.

“Every shot felt like I hit it perfect,” Hertgen said. “It was just one of those good nights, I guess.”

Lee Sheck capped the scoring with a deflected shot from the right side that carried into the goal in the 73rd minute.

Brick Memorial cut Toms River North’s lead to 4-2 in the 33rd minute on a penalty kick by Simek, who also drew the foul by dribbling by a defender and being taken down in the box. Simek later worked his way to a point-blank shot on the left side of the goal during the final seconds of the first half, but Toms River North goalkeeper Brian Brannagan smothered the shot to send the Mariners to halftime with their two-goal lead intact.

Brannagan also pushed a header over the crossbar with a leaping save and the game still scoreless in the first half. Within a minute of Toms River North taking a 2-1 lead, Brick Memorial senior Tom Hernandez drilled a shot square off the crossbar.

“They are a dangerous team with a bunch of dangerous guys out there,” Mahon said. “We haven’t really defended all that well so far this year, so I knew it was going to take three, maybe four goals tonight. To score six was pretty unexpected.”


Box Score

Toms River North 6, Brick Memorial 2




Brick Memorial (3-1, 1-1)




Toms River North (3-1, 2-0)





Goals (Assists): (BM) Fernandez (Simek) 15’, Simek (PK) 32’; (TRN) Hertgen (Reed) 20’, Cheslock (Lysaght) 21’, Cheslock (Hertgen) 26’, Hertgen (DK) 31’, Hertgen (Butz) 48’, Scheck 73’
Saves: (BM) Reber 3; (TRN) Brannagan 3
Shots: Brick Memorial, 9-8