Boys Soccer – 2017 All-Shore Teams
2017 Shore Sports Network Boys Soccer All-Shore Team
*Teams selected by Senior Staff Writer Matt Manley based on input from coaches, statistics, impact on team success and first-hand accounts of each player.
Anthony Arena, Jr., Holmdel
2017 Totals: 35 goals, 25 assists
Postseason Totals: 13 goals, 7 assists in 10 games
The Shore Sports Network Player of the Year, Arena became Holmdel’s single-season record-holder for goals and assists in a season while leading the Hornets to their first Shore Conference Tournament title, their second NJSIAA overall group championship, their highest statewide ranking in program history from NJ.com (No. 4) and their first ever No. 1 ranking in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 to finish a season. In the Shore Conference Tournament final, he scored a championship game record five goals in a 7-1 win over Ocean.
For more on Arena’s season, read his SSN Player of the Year story.
Justin McStay, Sr., Holmdel
2017 Totals: 26 goals, 18 assists
Postseason Totals: 9 goals, 5 assists in 10 games
If not for Arena’s 35 goals and 25 assists, McStay’s numbers would be Holmdel records, which explains why the Hornets were one of the most prolific scoring teams in the recent history of the Shore Conference. Of course, that both Arena and McStay were on the field meant that opposing defenses had to account for the two best players in the Shore Conference in one game and the result was at least one of the two Holmdel forwards scoring a goal.
McStay scored two hat tricks during the regular season – both against St. John Vianney – and added one in the postseason against North Star Academy in the Central Jersey Group II first round. The three first-round goals was part of a big postseason for the senior, who racked up nine goals and five assists between the Shore Conference and NJSIAA Group II Tournaments. McStay also showed up in both championship games, scoring two goals and three assists in the SCT final against Ocean and adding a goal and an assist in a dominant performance against Dover in the Group II final.
McStay will continue his soccer career at West Point, where he will attend the U.S. Military Academy.
Joel Burgos, Sr., Monmouth
2017 Totals: 30 goals, 3 assists
Postseason Totals: 5 goals, 1 assist in six games
It has been 10 years since Monmouth Regional had a team as successful as the one it had this year and it has also been 10 years since the Falcons had a player who could score like Burgos did during his senior season. The senior striker broke Eric Mackin’s single-season scoring record by amassing 30 goals despite missing two weeks work of regular-season games and one postseason game due to a thigh bruise. Those 30 goals ranked third in the Shore Conference behind only Arena and Davensky JoinVilmar of Asbury Park.
Burgos opened the season with nine goals in two games against B Central opponents Keyport and Ranney, but that still left him with 21 goals against some of Monmouth’s toughest competition. In two games against B North champions and SCT runner-up Ocean, Burgos scored four times, including twice in a 4-3 loss to the Spartans in the SCT quarterfinals. He also scored a goal in a 2-1, first-round upset of Toms River North to kick off Monmouth’s run to the SCT quarters. During the NJSIAA Tournament, Burgos scored two goals, including his record-breaking goal in a 2-1 win over Rumson-Fair Have that put the Falcons in the sectional finals for the first time since 1965.
Burgos is undecided on where he will play next season, but he has visits planned to St. John’s, St. Joseph’s, Lafayette and Stockton.
Erik Fatovic, Sr., Brick Memorial
2017 Totals: 22 goals, 4 assists
Postseason Totals: 1 goal in two games
The No. 5 goal-scorer in the Shore Conference this season, Fatovic was selected by the Class A South coaches as the player of the year in the division. Not only did the senior striker put up numbers, but he helped turn the Mustangs around – from 4-15-1 in 2016 to 9-6-5 this past season. Brick Memorial’s biggest win of the season was a 3-2 victory over Central Jersey Group III champion Toms River South and Fatovic led that effort with a hat trick – his first and only of the season.
The three-goal performance against Toms River South was one of five multi-goal games for Fatovic during the season, with the four others coming against Southern, Jackson Liberty, Central and Matawan. From Sept. 15 to Oct. 7, Fatovic scored at least one goal in 10 straight games, a stretch in which his team went 6-2-2.
Fatovic is officially undecided on where he will play next year, but coach Steve Ferullo said there is mutual interest between Fatovic and Moravian College.
Dominic Bellomo, Jr., Christian Brothers Academy
2017 Totals: 9 goals, 5 assists
Postseason Totals: 2 goals, 2 assists in five games
With only one returning starting and two proven goal-scorers returning from a 24-win, state-championship team in 2016, CBA needed to find capable offensive players to complement a strong defense-keeper combination. While the Colts relied on a balanced effort all season, no player stepped to the forefront more than Bellomo, who scored a team-high nine goals and was a clutch as any player in the conference. Of Bellomo’s nine goals, eight of them either tied the game or put CBA on top, including five game-winning goals.
Bellomo’s breakout game was a two-goal effort against Peddie, in which he scored the equalizer and later the golden goal in a 3-2 CBA win. In the first meeting between CBA and A North rival Freehold Township, Bellomo scored two more goals, including the game-winner in the 78th minute. The junior midfielder also scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Howell, the first goal in a 2-0 win over Bishop Eustace in the South Jersey Non-Public A final, and a go-ahead goal in the fourth minute of the Non-Public A final against the No. 1 team in N.J., Delbarton. Although the Colts went on to lose, 4-1, Bellomo’s goal was the earliest anyone had scored against the unbeaten Green Wave and it laid the foundation for a promising 2018 with Bellomo and host of other contributors returning.
Davensky JoinVilmar, Sr., Asbury Park
2017 Totals: 31 goals, 18 assists
Postseason Totals: 6 goals, 4 assists in five games
Asbury Park soccer was an afterthought two years ago, when JoinVilmar completed his second varsity season with a respectable six-goal effort. Two years later, JoinVilmar carved out a reputation as one of the Shore’s most exciting players for an Asbury Park team that competed for state championships for the first time in more than three decades.
After leading the Blue Bishops to their first Central Jersey Group I championship in 35 years as a junior last year, JoinVilmar dwarfed his junior-year numbers while leading his team back to the sectional final despite the graduation of most of his supporting cast from 2016. As a senior, JoinVilmar collected 31 goals and 18 assists, propelling him to second among all Shore Conference scorers behind only Arena from Holmdel. He recorded four hat tricks during the season, including four-goal games against Metuchen and Ranney. He scored four goals in two games against St. Rose and three in two games against Point Pleasant Beach – the two teams directly behind Asbury Park in the B Central standings.
During the state tournament, JoinVilmar shined with six goals and four assists in four games, including a three-goal, three-assist game in a win over South Amboy in the sectional quarterfinals and a two-goal game against New Egypt in the sectional semifinal. After scoring 61 goals during his varsity soccer career, JoinVilmar will graduate as the best Blue Bishops player of the last three decades and one of the most dynamic in program history.
Venancio Fernandes, Sr., Long Branch
2017 Totals: 18 goals, 9 assists
Postseason Totals: 2 goals in four games
Long Branch entered the season with high expectations thanks to its trio of senior standouts, who led the Green Wave to a 15-win season, a second-place finish in a deep, competitive Class B North division and two tournament victories. Fernandes was the standout among the three Long Branch seniors, racking up 18 goals and nine assists while playing both striker and attacking center midfielder for his team.
Fernandes scored at least two goals in a game five times this season, including a hat trick against Wall and a four-goal outing against Manasquan. His other two-goal games came against Middletown North, Shore Regional and Monmouth Regional, all of which were Shore Conference Tournament teams. Speaking of the Shore Conference Tournament, Fernandes scored in both of Long Branch’s SCT games – an overtime win over Toms River East and a 2-1 loss at Pinelands. Fernandes finished his varsity career with 48 goals in three seasons and is lined up to continue his career at Georgian Court next year, according to Long Branch coach Adrian Castro.
Joe Arena, Jr., Holmdel
2017 Totals: 4 goals, 4 assists
Postseason Totals: 2 goals, 1 assist in 10 games
With 122 goals in 24 games this year, Holmdel was known for its high-powered attack. Often overlooked, however, was the Hornets physicality and dominance in the midfield and while Anthony Arena and Justin McStay were owning the headlines for their goal-scoring, Arena was doing a great deal of the dirty work that often goes unnoticed in the scorebook. He went a month-and-a half between goals at one point, but in the meantime, Arena owned the middle of the field as the defensive center midfielder, winning the ball in the air and on the ground to get Holmdel into its attack.
In the postseason, Arena proved his worth both as a producer and as a leader. He notched a goal and an assist in a win over North Star Academy in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II playoffs and scored Holmdel’s last goal in a 4-1 win over Dover in the Group II final. The left-footed strike from beyond the top of the 18-yard box capped an inspired performance in the championship game by Arena, who played through a hamstring injury in wins over Delran in the Group II semifinal and against Dover in the final. Arena was also instrumental in convincing players like his cousin, Anthony, as well as Cyrus Darvish, Matt Leon and Justin McStay to play with Holmdel instead of academy soccer. The Hornets will get one more year of Joe Arena’s leadership next year, which will be in his fourth season as a starter and third as team captain.
Kevin Finn, Sr., Freehold Township
2017 Totals: 15 goals, 8 assists
Postseason Totals: 4 assists in 4 games
The graduation of 6-foot-4 All-Shore first-teamer Adrian Barajas left a void in Freehold Township’s midfield heading into the season, but the Patriots just so happened to have another 6-4 player with skill and experience to play the part. Finn was a regular contributor as a junior in his first varsity season, but raised his level as a senior this past year. He shifted from striker to midfielder and still managed to get his scoring chances, 15 of which he cashed in.
Finn scored two goals in a game four times – once against Wall, another against Marlboro, again against Freehold Boro and one more time against Asbury Park. The senior also performed in big games as well, scoring a goal in each of Freehold Township’s two games against A North champion CBA including one in the 3-1 Patriots win over the Colts at the Academy. In the SCT and NJSIAA Tournaments, Finn recorded four assists in four games, including two assists each in wins over St. Rose in the SCT and Sayreville in the Central Jersey Group IV Tournament. Finn is still undecided on where he will attend college, but Freehold coach Josh Mehl said Montclair State, Rowan and Stockton are all interested while bigger programs like Maryland are interested in him as a walk-on thanks to his academic standing.
John Askin, Sr., Christian Brothers Academy
2017 Totals: 5 goals, 5 assists
Postseason Totals: 1 goal in five games
As the only returning starter from CBA’s 24-win state championship team from a year ago, Askin had to be both a leader and a standout player for the Colts to again play with the top teams at the Shore and in N.J. The senior center back delivered in spades, with Askin leading one of the state’s stingiest defenses while also contributing to a balanced scoring attack. Led by Askin, CBA’s defense allowed only 17 goals in 24 games, the third best rate in the conference behind Holmdel and Jackson Memorial, while turning in a school record 16 shutouts. Taking out St. Benedict’s from the equation – the top two teams in the entire state – that CBA defense gave up only nine goals in 22 games.
Askin also showed a feel for scoring goals while pushing forward, particularly going up on set pieces. He finished the year with five goals and five assists, including a goal apiece against DeMatha and Chaminade at the Delbarton invitational, as well as a goal in a state-tournament win over St. John Vianney. During his two varsity seasons as a starter, Askin was part of a program that went 44-4-1, won 20 games twice, won a Shore Conference Tournament, reached two NJSIAA Non-Public A finals and won one. Askin also recently announced his non-binding verbal commitment to continue his career at Monmouth University.
Mikey Neff, Sr., Holmdel
2017 Totals: 9 goals, 8 assists
Postseason Totals: 3 goals, 6 assists in 10 games
Most players don’t become more productive scorers by moving back in the formation, but Neff took a move from midfield to left outside fullback and found a perfect fit for both himself and the team. Neff led all Shore Conference defenders with nine goals, all of which he scored as an outside back. He also pitched in eight assists and was one quarter of a defensive unit that gave up only 14 goals in 24 games – the best rate in the Shore Conference at 0.58 per game.
During Holmdel’s run to the Shore Conference and NJSIAA Group II championships, Neff was both an important defender and creator on offense. He picked up three assists each in the Shore Conference and Group II Tournaments and also tallied three goals during the march through the Group II tournament. He scored Holmdel’s fourth goal in a 6-0 sectional final win over Monmouth and opened the scoring in the Group II final against Dover with a knuckling 25-yard strike that opened the floodgates for the Hornets.
Torre Avitabile, Jr., Holmdel
2017 Totals: 1 assist
Postseason Totals: No scoring in 10 games
With so much firepower up top and a skilled defensive center midfielder like Joe Arena, Avitabile needed only to organize the defense and do his part on the defensive end. Based on Holmdel’s goal-suppression for the season, Avitabile earned the reputation as one of the state’s top central defenders. On other teams, he might have been a more dangerous player pushing forward, but he rarely had to with the Hornets boasting two forwards who combined for 61 goals.
While staying back and protecting goalkeeper Matt Lionette, Avitabile and the defense held opponents to the lowest goal-scoring rate in the Shore Conference. During the postseason, the Hornets conceded only four goals in 10 games, including a penalty kick against Dover with Holmdel already ahead, 4-0. Next year, Avitabile will be one of six returning starters on a Holmdel side that will aim to win a second straight Shore Conference Tournament title, as well as another group championship.
Shane Keenan, Sr., Christian Brothers Academy
One of the reasons CBA could withstand losing 10 starters from last year’s state championship team was because Keenan joined the team after spending his first three years of high school playing academy soccer. He committed to the University of Connecticut shortly before the start of summer practice and decided to give high school soccer a shot. The result was a historic season during which Keenan left a lasting impression on CBA soccer and at the Shore.
Over the course of his lone high school season, Keenan recorded 16 clean sheets in 24 matches, which surpassed the single-season record for shutouts in a season by a CBA team. While Keenan’s goals-against average was not tops in the Shore, it would be if CBA did not play the two top teams in N.J. St. Benedict’s (19-0) – the No. 1 team in the country, according to USA Today – and Delbarton scored four goals apiece against the Colts, with Delbarton scoring four in the second half to cap an unbeaten season and finish No. 1 in the state, according to NJ.com. In CBA’s other 22 games, opponents averaged only 0.41 goals per game and A North opponents scored just six goals in 13 divisional games.
Dan Russo, So., Jackson Memorial – Russo followed up a strong freshman season with an All-Shore campaign as a sophomore, scoring 18 goals while leading the Jaguars to a Class A South championship despite sporting just two seniors on the roster. He scored five goals in two games against Brick Memorial, including all three in a 3-2 win over the Mustangs on Sept. 27.
Steve Carton, Sr., Ocean – The Spartans had a lot of scorers and a lot of heroes during their 18-win season that included two championship game appearances and a B North title, but Carton always seemed to be in the middle of big moments. He scored four goals between the SCT and Group III Tournament, including one goal in each of Ocean’s last three SCT matches. He finished with 12 goals for the season.
Kieran Sundermann, Jr., Pinelands – Pinelands enjoyed one of its best seasons ever, winning the B South championship for the first time since 1989 and reaching the SCT quarterfinals for the first time ever. Sundermann was the leading scorer for the Wildcats, putting up 14 goals and 15 assists during his junior season.
Santieno Harding, Jr., Ocean – A knee injury slowed Harding for part of his junior season, but the Spartans striker still managed 11 goals and seven assists, many of which came in big moments for the No. 5 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10. He notched three goals and three assists during the SCT and Group III Tournament and seven of his goals came against the other top-four teams in the B North standings: Long Branch, Middletown South and Monmouth.
Liam McGregor, Sr., Middletown North – McGregor started the season on a tear and after a midseason lull for him and the team, he caught fire again during the NJSIAA Tournament. The Monmouth University recruit finished with 15 goals and seven assists, including five goals in two state tournament games. McGregor scored two goals against Group III champion Mendham, one in a 1-0 win over one-loss Westfield, and one in each of Middletown North’s two games against Ocean.
Leonardo Montesinos, Jr., Shore – With a team full of juniors, Shore improved over the course of the season, but Montesinos was on his game throughout. He scored 16 goals during the campaign, including two goals in a first-round win over South Hunterdon in the Central Jersey Group I Tournament. Montesinos also scored twice in three games against No. 1 Holmdel.
Clem Slavick, Jr., Toms River South – For the third straight year, Toms River South won an NJSIAA sectional championship and it’s fair to say Slavick has had a lot to do with those championships. A starter since his freshman year, Slavick continued to expand his game this year, operating out of the center midfield for the Central Jersey Group III champs and scoring nine goals in the process. He scored two goals in a win over rival Toms River East in the sectional quarterfinals and finished with three in four games during the state tournament.
Ethan Leming, Sr., Southern – Southern enjoyed its best season in a long time, winning 12 games and winning a state tournament game for the first time since the turn of the century. Leming led the way for the Rams, putting up 12 goals and nine assists while playing in the middle of the pitch. He scored a goal and an assist in a regular-season win over Toms River South and helped lead the way with a goal in the state tournament win over Williamstown.
Kevin Luzzi, Sr., Jackson Memorial – As the lone senior starter on a Class A South championship team, Luzzi deserves lot of the credit for what Jackson Memorial was able to accomplish this season. He captained a defense that allowed only 16 goals in 22 games, good for the second best goals-allowed rate in the conference behind Holmdel. Luzzi also pushed up for a goal and an assist on offense.
Jason Tango, Jr., Howell – For almost the entire season, Tango established himself as a steady force on Howell’s back line, helping the Rebels return to the top 10 with a defensive-minded team that should be even better next year with so many juniors in this year’s lineup. At the end of the year, though, Tango went above and beyond the call, scoring two goals – including the golden goal in overtime – in Howell’s 3-2 win over Eastern in the South Jersey Group IV opening round.
Zach Sintic, Jr., Ocean – This year’s version of the Ocean boys soccer team was a balanced side, and Sintic was the rock on the back line to complement the Big Red Army of offensive threats. In addition to anchoring a defense that gave up nine goals in 14 divisional games in Class B North. On top of the defensive performance, Sintic was an ace on free kicks, picking up three assists on set piece services.
Jack Hempstead, Jr., Christian Brothers Academy – The Colts were a defensive-minded team led by seniors John Askin and Shane Keenan, but they still featured plenty of possession out of the back. Hempstead helped CBA continue that system into this year with his play on the outside and it manifested itself in the form of three assists – including one in the Non-Public A final against Delbarton.
Nick Kinzler, Jr., Jackson Memorial – As is usually the case when Jackson Memorial has a memorable season, the Jaguar defense was a big reason for the team’s success. Kinzler, however, does deserve a lot of the credit for being an all-around keeper who was second in the conference to Matt Lionette in goal against and finished second behind Shane Keenan with 12 shutouts – all while facing his fair share of fire.
Matt Lionette, Sr., Holmdel – For most of the year, Lionette was the keeper on the loaded team who never got tested, but as the shots started to find their mark, Lionette routinely answered the call. He saved two shots during a shootout win over Matawan in the sectional semifinals and made two huge saves in a 3-1 win over Delran in the Group II semifinals. Not bad for a guy who had to unseat junior incumbent Jack Murray just to get a shot this year.
Wilby Alfred, Jr., Neptune – Alfred was Class A North’s leading scorer with 18 goals and six assists. He highlighted Neptune’s season by scoring in a 3-0 win over Freehold Township and also recorded four hat tricks on the season – one of which was a four-goal outing against Point Beach.
Ryan Flaherty, Sr., Barnegat – During the best season of his high school career, Flaherty became Barnegat’s all-time leading scorer while also breaking the single-season scoring mark (21 goals and 14 assists) and leading the Bengals to their first Shore Conference Tournament berth, as well as a state tournament win.
Dominic Dos Santos, Jr., Pinelands – Dos Santos got off to a flying start and finished the season with 14 goals and nine assists for a Wildcats squad that won Class B South for the first time in 28 years and reached the SCT quarterfinals for the first time ever.
Renan Azevedo, Sr., Long Branch – The 6-foot-5 left-footer slammed home 17 goals and assisted on 10 others as part of Long Branch’s three-headed monster. He recorded hat tricks against Red Bank, Manasquan and West Windsor-Plainsboro South, the latter of which came in a 3-2 Green Wave win in the Central Jersey Group IV first round.
Jeremy Nives, Jr., Rumson-Fair Haven – Nives began to show his promise during Rumson’s run to the Central Jersey Group II final last year and picked up where he left off with 12 goals and 11 assists in 2017. He was again at his best during the state tournament, scoring five goals in the Bulldogs’ two wins over Hillside and Raritan.
Matt Leon, Sr., Holmdel – In his first varsity season, Leon carved out a role as the third leading scorer on the Shore’s best team, putting up 17 goals and 14 assists for the season and eight goals and three assists in 10 postseason games.
Cyrus Darvish, Sr., Holmdel – Darvish returned to the program for the first time since his freshman year and gave the Hornets a hard-nosed attacking midfielder to go with the Arena cousins and McStay. He finished his senior year with 12 goals and six assists.
Kevin Miller, Sr., Lacey – Miller capped his stellar high school career with 13 goals and four assists for the Lions, including a goal in an overtime SCT loss to Rumson and an assist in a state tournament win over Seneca.
Taylor Sousa, Jr., Shore – In addition to establishing himself as Shore’s defensive heartbeat, Sousa also scored four goals to go with three assists out of the back.
Matt Moran, Sr., Point Pleasant Boro – Moran was another defender with a nose for the goal, scoring six goals, including a big equalizer late in a 2-1 loss to Sterling in the South Jersey Group II quarterfinals. He also led a Point Boro defense that conceded 23 goals in 21 games.
Cade Sundermann, Sr., Pinelands – The lone senior starter on a team that lost a 30-goal scorer from last year, Sundermann had his work cut out for him as team captain but remained a steady player and leader for a Wildcats team that had its best season in nearly three decades.
Ryan Laycock, Jr., Toms River South – Only Holmdel, Jackson Memorial and CBA were tougher to score on than Toms River South this year. The Indians retained their defensive toughness from a year ago thanks to Laycock, a second-year starter who emerged as one of the Shore’s top center backs on one of its top programs.
Jalen Folsom, So., Toms River South – In his first year as a starter, Folsom was as good in the big moment as any keeper in the conference. He recorded 12 shutouts, including four in the preseason and saved three in-game penalty kicks. One of those was in a shootout win over CBA in the SCT, in which Folsom also saved two kicks during the shootout.
Tom Ruscitti, Sr., Central – Although he played for a 1-14 team, Ruscitti single-handedly kept many of those losses close with his prowess in goal. He denied Jackson’s Dan Russo on two penalty kicks during the season and stood on his head to keep the Golden Eagles close in a 1-0 loss to Toms River North, a 1-0 loss to Toms River South, and a 2-1 loss to Jackson Memorial. On top of that, he earned a shutout in Central’s lone win of the season and allowed a respectable 2.3 goals per game over the final six games after giving up 3.4 over the first nine.