Boys Soccer – 2018 Preview: Class A South
In predicted order of finish
Head Coach: Steve Bado, 14th season
2017 Record: 17-4-1 (11-2-1, first in Class A South)
Returners: Joe Schlageter (Sr., Midfield), Dan Russo (Jr., Forward), Nick Kinzler (Sr., Goalkeeper), Ben Patti (Sr., Midfield), Logan Lewis (Sr., Midfield), Ben Schnaak (Jr., Defense), Ron Bantang (Jr., Defense), Ed Jacoby (Jr., Midfield), Andrew Keating (Sr., Forward), Connor Lucas (Jr., Defense), Chase Olejarz (Jr., Defense), Tyler Howlett (Jr., Midfield)
Key Losses: Kevin Luzzi (Defense), Jacob Patti (Midfield), Drew Greenblatt (Jr., Midfield) – transferred to Manasquan; Joe Weinstein (Jr., Goalkeeper) – transferred to Manasquan
Newcomers: Richard Chan (Sr., Midfield), Trevor Cusick (Jr., Midfield), Frank Savarise (Jr., Defense), Steve Slusak (Jr., Defense), Basel Shousa (Sr., Forward), Gianluca Gruosso (Jr., Midfield), Anthony Mantello (Jr., Defense), Andrew Walenty (So., Midfield), Steve Bado (Fr., Forward), Anthon Viola (Fr., Forward), Evan Walenty (Fr., Forward)
Armed with only two seniors, Jackson Memorial authored a memorable 2017 season that included an outright Class A South championship and a trip to the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals for the first time in five years. That means the Jaguars will be back in full force this year, or at least something close to it with 43 of 49 goals, three quarters of the defense and a goalkeeper returning.
Junior Dan Russo is off to a torrid start to his high school career with 25 goals in two years, including 18 as a sophomore in 2017. He and senior midfielder Joe Schlageter combined for 25 of the 49 goals last season and the duo will again lead the scoring effort this season. Russo and Schlageter will have help with Andrew Keating (four goals), Logan Lewis (three), Ed Jacoby (three) returning to the front seven of the formation while junior Ben Schnaak (four) and Ronny Bantang (one) returning to the back four in front of goalkeeper Nick Kinzler.
Jackson Memorial did lose junior Drew Greenblatt to Manasquan, but that still leaves eight starters back from an accomplished team that is a favorite to reach the SCT semifinals again and should be even more dangerous in the annually-loaded South Jersey Group IV bracket.
Toms River South
Head Coach: Ed Leibe, 16th season
2017 Record: 17-5-1 (9-4-1, second in Class A South)
Returners: Jalen Folsom (Jr., Goalkeeper), Ryan Laycock (Sr., Defense), Danny Caruso (Sr., Midfield), Jack Seitz (Jr., Midfield), Shane Kluxen (Jr., Forward), Marcus Mandica (Jr., Defense), Campbell Challoner (So., Forward/Midfield)
Key Losses: Matt Babcock (Midfield), Dustin Urbaczek (Midfield), Zack Stankovics (Defense), Isaiah Dominguez (Forward), Garret White (Defense), Ruben Gallo (Forward), Clem Slavick (Sr., Midfield) – Academy commitment
Newcomers: Shane Pennel (Sr., Defense), Jimmy Cohan (Jr., Defense), Stephen Beaton (Jr., Midfield), Dante Pizzi (Jr., Midfield), Angel Sanchez (Jr., Midfield), Nelson Gomes (Sr., Midfield), Joe Amabile (Jr., Midfield), Tyler Weiss (Jr., Defense)
The Indians are in the middle of one of the great runs in recent Shore Conference soccer vintage, with three straight sectional championships to their credit. Regardless of which players graduate, leave or get hurt, Toms River South always finds a way into the mix and this year should be no different, despite some key losses to graduation and the loss of senior Clem Slavick to the Monmouth Cedar Stars Academy club.
With Slavick opting not to play his senior season, that leaves two senior starters on this year’s team in center back Ryan Laycock and midfielder Danny Caruso – both of whom enjoyed career years as juniors. This year’s crop of juniors will make a major impact as well, led by returning forward Shane Kluxen, midfielder Jack Seitz and goalkeeper Jalen Folsom. Campbell Challoner saw some time as a freshman and will see an increased role in the absence of Slavick, as will junior Angel Sanchez. Toms River South will have to contend with Jackson Memorial’s experience and play the Jaguars on the road this year, but come November, expect the Indians to put forth another spirited titled defense – this time in South Jersey Group III.
Toms River North
Head Coach: Joe Mahon, ninth season
2017 Record: 7-8-2 (6-6-2, sixth in Class A South)
Returners: Riley DeFeis (Sr., Midfield), Andrew Casey (Sr., Defense), Nico Garcia (Sr., Midfield), Bernie Garcia (Sr., Midfield), Andrew Klekak (Sr., Defense), Marco Imperiale (Sr., Defense), Kyle Kerr (Sr., Midfield), Christian McCarthy (Sr., Goalkeeper), Luke Franklin (Sr., Defense), John Psaradakis (Sr., Midfield), Colin Lynch (Sr., Goalkeeper), Logan Mack (Jr., Midfield)
Key Losses: Jack Butz (Defense), Anthony McNulty (Midfield/Defense), Alex Poll (Defense), Harmony Bel-Gam (Forward), Matthias Heberling (Defense), Jayden Rossi (Midfield)
Newcomers: Matt Long (Sr., Defense), Matt Karpinski (Sr., Midfield), Jake Baurerband (Jr., Midfield), Kevin Grodsicki (Jr., Forward), Ali Baush (So., Forward), Parker Nicholson (So., Forward), Justin Ruiz (So., Goalkeeper), Jack Montinile (So., Defense), Evan Wismar (Jr., Forward), Justin Carfano (Jr., Defense)
Toms River North got off to a rocky start in 2017 before hitting its stride just before the Shore Conference Tournament. The late surge pushed the Mariners into both postseason tournaments, but the hot streak did not carry over into the SCT or the South Jersey Group IV brackets and Toms River North settled for a record below .500. The Mariners will have to replace some defensive pieces from last year’s team, but return a solid core of seniors ready to build on the finish to the 2017 regular season.
Seniors Riley DeFeis, Andrew Casey and Nico Garcia are three-year starters and will be at the heart of Toms River North’s formation – Casey in the back and Garcia and DeFeis in the midfield. Garcia has made his mark as an outside midfielder on attack while DeFeis has taken the reigns in the central midfield. Marco Imperiale and Andrew Keklak will join Casey in the back, while Kyle Kerr, Bernie Garcia and junior Logan Mack will play in the midfield. If Garcia can find the scoring touch he had two years ago, the Mariners should have enough scoring to get back to winning in 2018.
Toms River East
Head Coach: Mike Konopka, third season
2017 Record: 8-10-2 (7-6-1, fifth in Class A South)
Returners: Peter Kozlej (Sr., Midfield), Logan Romero (Sr., Forward), Logan Sommerer (Sr., Midfield), Patrick Keogh (Sr., Defense), Tyler Paar (Sr., Midfield), Tyler Glabick (Sr., Defense), Kristis Laurinitis (Sr., Midfield), Dylan Decunha (Sr., Midfield/Defense), Vasco Pereira (Jr., Forward), Dane Badziak (Jr., Forward)
Key Losses: Santino Celebre (Midfield/Forward), Jon DeLigny (Defense), Joe Gamboa (Midfield), Jack Kelly (Defense), Sean Kelly (Defense), Christian Zamora (Midfield), Trevor Zabilowicz (Goalkeeper)
Newcomers: Aiden Cosentino (Sr., Goalkeeper), Taylor Clevin (So., Midfield), Michael Conklin (So., Defense), Aiden Meola (So., Forward), Alex Heid (So., Midfield), T.J. Scollan (So., Midfield), Justin Triolo (Fr., Goalkeeper)
After a few down years, the Raiders returned to the Shore Conference Tournament last season and later won a first-round NJSIAA Tournament game to pull themselves back into the postseason picture. This year, Toms River East will try to build on that progress by getting back over .500 and climbing up the Class A Central standings behind a group of returning players with some valuable experience from last year.
Peter Kozlej and Logan Romero are the top two returning scorers from 2017 and will lead a Toms River East team trying to replace the eight goals tallied by scoring lead Santino Celebre, who graduated in June. Senior midfielders Logan Sommerer and Tyler Paar each scored two goals last season and junior Vasco Pereira also scored as a sophomore in 2018. Patrick Keough and Tyler Glabick will key a defense that graduated three starters in front of goalkeeper Aiden Cosentino. With most of its scoring back, Toms River East should be in the A South mix throughout the year and if the defense comes together, the Raiders have a chance to separate themselves from the pack.
Head Coach: Guy Lockwood, third season
2017 Record: 12-8-1 (8-5-1, third in Class A South)
Returners: Dylan Blauvelt (Sr., Forward/Midfield), Ben Hanneman (Jr., Defense), Nico Wojdyla (Sr., Midfield), Frank Ritchie (Sr., Midfield), Braden Dugan (Sr., Goalkeeper), Kevin Kiernan (So., Midfield), Nico Leonard (So., Forward), John Paul Prosperi (So., Midfield/Defense), Connor Feeney (Sr., Defense)
Key Losses: Ethan Leming (Midfield/Forward), Joe Kiernan (Midfield), Collin McHugh (Defense), Brad Bischoff (Forward), Sam Iacoves (Defense)
Newcomers: Jose Bonilla Isaguirres (Sr., Forward), Nick Budd (So., Midfield), Kevin Cooney (So., Defense), Parker Dugan (Sr., Defense), Aidan McInerney (Jr., Midfield), Ryan Nugent (Sr., Midfield), Fernando Pena Medina (Sr., Forward), Christopher Rizzo (So., Defense), Martin Rojas (Jr., Midfield)
Third-year coach Guy Lockwood has turned in two winning seasons to start his tenure at Southern and while turning a 12-loss team in 2015 into a 12-win team in each of the last two years was an accomplishment, winning more than 10 games again this year might be an even great challenge. The Rams return a talented crop of players but will be young in key spots after graduating top scorers Ethan Leming (12 goals, nine assists), Brad Bischoff (11 goals) and Joe Kiernan (five goals, six assists), as well as a central defender in Collin McHugh.
Dylan Blauvelt leads the returning senior group after scoring six goals last year and he will head up an attack that also includes seniors Nico Wojdyla and Frank Ritchie in the midfield. The sophomore trio of Kevin Kiernan, Nico Leonard and John Paul Prosperi were all significant contributors as freshmen and will hold the key to Southern’s success over the next several seasons. As the Rams iron out their formation, senior Braden Dugan will be a reliable presence in goal after a solid varsity debut in 2017. With a young, up-and-coming core of sophomores and just enough senior leadership, Southern should continue to compete with the best A South and the Shore has to offer.
Head Coach: Steve Ferullo, seventh season
2017 Record: 9-6-5 (6-4-4, fourth in Class A South)
Returners: Sean Aubrey (Sr., Midfield/Defense), Matt Ingenito (Sr., Defense), Mike Ingenito (Sr., Defense), Jake Marren (Sr., Midfield), Trevor Greene (Sr., Goalkeeper), Ryan Rodriguez (Sr., Midfield/Defense), Matt Farnkopf (Sr., Defense/Midfield), Nick Cifrodella (Jr., Midfield/Defense)
Key Losses: Erik Fatovic (Forward), Lou Nazzaro (Midfield/Forward), Steve Ferebee (Midfield), Eric O’Doherty (Defense), Brian Gerard (Midfield), Brandon Byrnes (Goalkeeper), Joey Zalinsky (So., Midfield)
Newcomers: Luke Simek (Sr., Forward), Joe Liberatore (Jr., Midfield), Jack Fanning (So., Forward), Vin Nazzaro (So., Forward)
In a division that returns a fair amount of goal-scoring overall, Brick Memorial will have to replace the top scorer in the division in Erik Fatovic, who buried 22 goals during his First-Team All-Shore campaign in 2017. Fatovic helped the Mustangs win their fair share of high-scoring games with his nose for the goal and tightening up on defense will likely be easier than replacing the offense Fatovic provided – especially considering that Brick Memorial also graduated eight more goals between Steve Ferebee and Lou Nazzaro.
Seniors Sean Aubry, Matt Ingenito and Mike Ingenito all return to the formation and will anchor Brick Memorial’s back line in front of goalkeeper Trevor Greene, who missed most of last season due to injury. Seniors Jake Marren, Ryan Rodriguez and Matt Farnkopf all scored at least one goal last year and junior Nick Cifrodella also found the net – giving the Mustangs some potential balanced scoring to go with the experience in the back. The formula will likely have to be a little different than it was a year ago, but Brick Memorial still has enough pieces in place to stay relevant in Class A South.
Head Coach: Tom Frazzitta, fourth season
2017 Record: 4-11-3 (2-10-2, seventh in Class A South)
Returners: William DeLao (Sr., Forward), John Christ (Sr., Defense), Alejandro Rodriguez (Sr., Midfield), Joy Valdovino, Zack Meyer
Key Losses: Frank Firrito (Midfield), Matt Loffredo (Defense), Alex Gomez (Forward), John Mora (Defense), Alejandro Cisneros (Midfield)
Newcomers: Ryu Guevara (So., Goalkeeper), Mark Kekumba, Cole Wernoch, Christian Dzugan
A slow start to 2017 doomed Brick last year, but the season did not pass without a few highlights. Of the four wins and three draws secured by the Green Dragons last year, five of them came against teams that made the Shore Conference Tournament – including two draws against rival Brick Memorial and wins over Pinelands, Toms River North and Point Beach.
Although Brick will have to replace standout midfielder Frank Firrito, the Green Dragons return two players in William DeLao and Alejandro Rodriguez who scored four goals apiece as juniors last season. Senior John Christ also returns to the defense and sophomore Ryu Guevara is back after earning time at goalkeeper last season. Brick has some ground to make up relative to the rest of the division but the Green Dragons also have enough back to keep the process moving in the right direction.
Head Coach: Troy Van Hise, first season
2017 Record: 1-14 (1-13, eighth in Class A South)
Returners: A.J. Abode (Sr., Defense), Olu Ogunyinka (Sr., Forward), Eric Pacheco (Sr., Forward), Eric Szejnrok (Sr., Midfield), Ryan Black (Jr., Midfield), Zach Zurawski (Jr., Defense), Jason Rand (So., Defense)
Key Losses: Tom Ruscitti (Goalkeeper), Mike Cambra (Forward/Midfield), Nick Heim (Defense/Midfield)
Newcomers: Matt Diaz (Sr., Goalkeeper), Steven Navarro (Sr., Midfield), Young Kim (Sr., Midfield), Bill Kaminski (Sr., Defense), Javier Rios (Jr., Defense), Luke Tallman (So., Defense), Michael Azzarone (Fr., Midfield), Mason Leszcynski (Fr., Midfield), Will Smith (Fr., Defense), Gianni Smith (Fr., Forward)
Graduation hit Central hard after the 2016 season and the result was a one-win season in 2017 for a program that has been competitive year after year during Rob Bechtloff’s 30 seasons as coach. Bechtloff stepped down following last season and his assists, Troy Van Hise, is taking over a program looking to get back on track this season.
The Golden Eagles will have to replace All-Shore goalkeeper Tom Ruscitti, who was a busy man last season playing behind an inexperienced team on the field. Multi-year starters Mike Cambra and Nick Heim also graduated, but the rest of last year’s squad will be back. Eric Szejnrok saw significant time on Central’s 13-5-3 team in 2016 and will be the focal point of the attack along with senior forward Eric Pacheco. A.J. Adobe, Jason Rand and Zach Zurawski return to the defense, which will bear more of the burden with Ruscitti no longer backing them up.
XI to Watch (With 2017 Stats)
Dan Russo, Jackson Memorial (18 goals, 4 assists)
Joe Schlageter, Jackson Memorial (7 goals, 7 assists)
Shane Kluxen, Toms River South (10 goals, 5 assists)
Riley DeFeis, Toms River North
Dylan Blauvelt, Southern (6 goals, 2 assists)
Peter Kozlej, Toms River East (5 goals, 6 assists)
Logan Romero, Toms River East (6 goals, 6 assists)
William DeLao, Brick (4 goals)
Ryan Laycock, Toms River South (1 goal)
Ben Schnaak, Jackson Memorial (4 goals, 1 assist)
Danny Caruso, Toms River South (5 goals, 4 assists)
Goalkeepers to Watch
Jalen Folsom, Toms River South (12 shutouts)
Nick Kinzler, Jackson Memorial (12 shutouts)
Braden Dugan, Southern (5 shutouts)
Ryu Guevara, Brick (5 shutouts)
Breakout Players to Watch
Logan Lewis, Jackson Memorial
Kevin Kiernan, Southern
Angel Mendez, Toms River South
Jake Marren, Brick Memorial
Eric Szejnrok, Central