Over the last three seasons, the Pinelands boys soccer team has gone from an upstart program to the team-to-beat in Class B South and despite the Wildcats losing a lot of impact talent, the Class B South field will still be chasing the two-time defending division champions in 2019. With that being said, this season could very well mark a return to glory from some familiar names – Point Pleasant Boro is primed for a rebound year, Lacey has some notable offensive talent back and Donovan Catholic looks ready to move out of a rebuilding phase while making a jump toward the top of the standings.

The division could also be a deeper one this year, with Lakewoo remaining a threat despite some key losses, Barnegat moving into a new era with a new coach and a senior-heavy team, and Manchester returning a solid young nucleus.

Pinelands will remain in that mix too and after an unbeaten season in B south play last year, the Wildcats will want to protect their spot.

In predicted order of finish

* - 2018 Shore Sports Network All-Shore Selection

Point Pleasant Boro

Head Coach: Pete Casalino, 15th season
2018 Record: 7-13 (3-4, tied fourth in B South)
Returners: Mariano Maradiegue (Sr., Midfield), Christian D’Amato (Sr., Forward), Steve Redler (Sr., Goalkeeper), Will Flaherty (Sr., Defense/Midfield), Troy Schnappauf (Sr., Forward/Midfield), James Latendorf (Sr., Defense), Danny Gallagher (Jr., Midfield), Charles Latendorf (So., Defense), Aidan Huhn (So., Defense), Jeff Thompson (So., Forward)
Key Losses: Alex Herrman (Midfield), Liam Kirinovic (Midfield), Cormac McCabe (Midfield), Spencer Robinson (Forward)
Newcomers: Brett Leschinski (Fr., Defense), Alex Baginski (Fr., Forward/Midfield)

From left: Chritian D'Amato, Mariano Maradiegue, Steve Redler and Will Flaherty. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

Until last year, Point Boro was always a team you could pencil in for at least 10 wins and a top-three spot in the Class B South standings. In 2019, however, the Panthers stumbled to a 0-8 start that proved too much to overcome despite a solid 7-5 finish to the year. It took Point Boro until the seventh game of the season to score its first goal and the Panthers also played without keeper Steve Redler for the early part of the season due to injury.

With Redler back in the lineup, the Panthers finished the year respectably, winning five consecutive games via shutout before Group III and Shore Conference Tournament champion Ocean snapped the streak. Redler returns for his senior season and should help direct a Point Boro defense that has a chance to be one of the better units in the Shore. Seniors Will Flaherty and James Latendorf return to the back of the formation, as do sophomores Charles Latendorf and Aidan Huhn.

Scoring was a struggle for Point Boro throughout last season (19 goals in 20 games, nine shutouts) but the emergence of now-sophomore Jeff Thompson as a freshman was a welcome sign. Senior Christian D’Amato also has a track record as a scorer after scoring five goals as a sophomore and is due for a bounceback season up top. Senior Troy Schnappauf will also contribute up top while senior and four-year letter-winner Mariano Mardiegue leads a midfield that will also include junior Danny Gallagher. With most of the platers back from a year ago, this will be a hungry Point Boro side eager to show that it can carry on the winning tradition of prior seasons.

Lacey

Head Coach: Steve Torre, third season
2018 Record: 13-5-2 (6-1, second in B South)
Returners: Sean Moffitt (Sr., Forward), Mike Cyphers (Sr., Midfield), Kian Gonzalez (Sr., Defense), Kody Besser (So., Midfield), George-Kyle Hernandez (Jr., Defense), D.J. Edinger (Jr., Defense), Tosh Mrazck (Jr., Midfield), Bryan Cardoso (So., Midfield), Noah Hamouda (So., Midfield)
Key Losses: Kip Byrne* (Midfield), Dylan Vitale (Defense), Dan Bentley (Defense), Miguel Andrade (Midfield), Ryan Giles (Goalkeeper), Dom Palino (Midfield)
Newcomers: Dominick Iorlio (So., Defense), Connor Bencik (So., Defense), Anthony Leporino (Jr., Goalkeeper), Jack Costa (So., Midfield) – Transfer from Donovan Catholic

Lacey junior Sean Moffitt. (Photo by Matt Manley)

If last year showed anything about Lacey, it was that the Lions can replace graduation losses without taking too many lumps. Kip Byrne was the only significant offensive contributor from the previous year and Lacey still managed to win a game in both the Shore Conference and South Jersey Group III Tournaments. At one point, after losing the opener to Pinelands, Lacey rattled off 12 wins in 13 games before losing to Jackson Memorial in the SCT round of 16.

This year’s Lacey club has to replace Bryne along with a handful of role players but has some inspiring pieces in place to remain in the B South hunt. Senior Sean Moffitt enjoyed a breakout junior campaign, during which he scored a team-high 18 goals – tied for sixth in the Shore Conference in 2018. Senior Mike Cyphers also stepped up his game as a junior in the midfield and sophomore midfielder Kody Besser is coming off an impressive freshman season. The trio of Moffitt, Cyphers and Besser makes Lacey the most dangerous offensive team in B South heading into the season.

Lacey has a pair of defenders and a keeper to replace from a year ago but does return senior Kian Gonzalez along with contributors George-Kyle Hernandez and D.J. Edinger – both juniors. Lacey’s defense was significantly improved from 2017 and patching up the open spots will be key to replicating that performance. If the Lions can do that, they will be hard to beat in B South and a tough out in the SCT and Group III fields.

Pinelands

Head Coach: Nino Scotto di Carlo, third season
2018 Record: 11-5-1 (7-0, first in B South)
Returners: Tony Aguilar (Sr., Midfield), Johnny Hart (Jr., Midfield), Gavin Harris (Jr., Goalkeeper), Alex Dimm (Sr., Defense), Creed Nass (Sr., Forward), Jack Doyle (Sr., Midfield), Tyler Piazza (Sr., Defense), Carter Mathis (Jr., Defense), Matt Albanese (Sr., Defense), Logan Johnson (Sr., Midfield), James Cahill (So., Midfield)
Key Losses: Kieran Sundermann* (Forward), Dominic Dos Santos (Forward), Anthony Diaz (Midfield), Frank Aguilar (Defense), Aniello Lubrano (Midfield), Luke Mathis (Defense)
Newcomers: Anthony Falduto (Sr., Forward), Carter Courtney (Jr., Defense), Nate Szwed (Jr., Midfield), Adam Grelak (So., Midfield)

From left: Johnny Hart, Gavin Harris and Jack Doyle. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

The last three years have represented a soccer renaissance at Pinelands, the last two of which yielded back-to-back division championships for the Wildcats after a 28-year drought without one. Last year, they took it even further by reaching the South Jersey Group III championship game, losing a 1-0 decision on the road against Seneca.

Replicating the success of the last two years will be challenging after the Wildcats graduated most of their top players from the past two seasons, but that is the new standard at Pinelands. On top of those heightened expectations, Pinelands brings back some significant contributors to the current championship run – most notably junior Johnny Hart and senior midfielder Tony Aguilar. Hart wound up the team’s second-leading scorer as a sophomore last season and Aguilar made his presence felt during the postseason run as well.

Junior goalkeeper Gavin Harris played lights-out in net down the stretch after taking over the job. Alex Dimm, Tyler Piazza and junior Carter Mathis headline the defense in front of Harris. On the attack, sophomore James Cahill and senior Creed Nass each scored a goal last year and should be due to increase their scoring totals with Pinelands looking to replace 30 goals. If Hart and Aguilar pull their weight and a third scoring option emerges, the Wildcats could very well have the formula to three-peat in B South.

Donovan Catholic

Head Coach: Ken Oliver, 19th season
2018 Record: 7-8-2 (3-4, tied fourth in B South)
Returners: Vin Loffredo (Sr., Midfield/Forward), Christian McElroy (Sr., Goalkeeper), Nick Calvetto (Sr., Defense), Preston Kyriakoulis (So., Forward), Neithan Ramos (Sr., Defense/Midfield), Clay Yannazzone (Jr., Defense), Vin Mendes (Jr., Forward), Ronan Bova (Sr., Midfield), Anthony DeSilva (Sr., Midfield), Liam Leonard (Sr., Defense), Chris McCurnin (Sr., Defense), Tyler Rempo (Sr., Defense), Randon Shapiro (Sr., Midfield), John Triolo (Sr., Midfield/Defense), Dean Carskaddan (Jr., Midfield), Rich O’Brien (Jr.), Carlos Soriano (Jr.)
Key Losses: Max Dalton (Midfield/Forward), Matt Kekatos (Defense), Chad Yannazzone (Defense/Midfield), Brendan Ion (Midfield)
Newcomers: Damin Mangin (Jr.), Brian Supsie (Jr.), Justin Triolo (So.), Ryan Butchko (Fr.), Peyton Calvetto (Fr.), Juan Jordan (Fr.)

From left: Nick Calvetto, Christian McElroy, Neithan Ramos and Vinny Loffredo. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

In its fight to get back to the top tier of Class B South, Donovan Catholic boasted a young team in 2018 that endured its share of ups-and-downs and should be close to blossoming because of that experience last year. Seniors Vin Loffredo, Nick Calvetto and Ronan Bova, plus junior Clay Yannazzone showed goal-scoring ability from different spots on the field and sophomore Preston Kyriakoulis was a set-piece ace as a freshman, notching eight assists.

Calvetto and Yannazzone have been versatile defenders in front of goalkeeper Christian McElroy, who is entering his fourth year as the starter. That core of returnees should spark an improved scoring attack that will try to push back into the top crop of the division that has included Pinelands, Lacey, Point Boro and Lakewood in recent years.

Lakewood

Head Coach: Gene Drumright, 19th season
2018 Record: 11-5-1 (4-3, third in B South)
Returners: Jersey Salazar (Sr., Forward), Augustin Lopez (Sr., Defense), David Olivares (Jr., Defense), Jonathan Toichihuitl (Sr., Midfield), Marco Alvarado (Jr., Midfield)
Key Losses: Gio Hernandez (Midfield/Defense), Junior Bravo* (Defense/Midfield), Moises Galvan (Goalkeeper), Kristian Talas (Forward), Bryan Morales (Midfield), Josh Lemus (Forward), Eric Vazquez (Defense), Jorge Araiza (Midfield/Defense), Christian Jimenez (Forward)
Newcomers: Luis Vargas (Sr., Midfield), Neri De los Santos (Jr., Defense), Christian Morales (Jr., Defense), Eduardo Santillan (So., Defense)

Lakewood senior Augustin Lopez. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

Lakewood has been in the running in Class B South in each of the last two seasons and is in search of its fourth straight winning season during this recent upswing. Keeping that run going will be a challenge for the Piners, which not only have to replace top field players like Junior Bravo, Gio Hernandez, Josh Lemus and Kristian Talas, but also lose four-year goalkeeper Moises Galvan. That is a lot of production and a lot of leadership that will need to be accounted for if the Piners are to return to the top-half of the division.

Seniors Jersey Salazar, Augustin Lopez and Jonathan Toichihuitl will lead that effort as experienced varsity contributors. Salazar and Toichihuitl will lead the scoring effort while Lopez and junior David Olivares anchor the back line. The defense will have to be even better this year without Galvan as a safety net but Salazar and Toichihuitl should provide enough of a spark offensively for Lakewood to sty competitive.

Barnegat

Head Coach: Kevin Peters, first season
2018 Record: 6-11 (3-4, tied fifth in B South)
Returners: Matt White (Sr., Forward/Midfield), Sean Toner (Sr., Defense), Justin Gomez (Sr., Forward), Grady Edwards (Sr., Midfield), Alex Zuniga (Sr., Midfield), Alex Cernansky (Sr., Midfield),
Key Losses: Ricky Norman (Forward), Joel Roig (Midfield), Eugene Fleming (Defense), Dominick Guiro (Goalkeeper)
Newcomers: Matt Cheney (Fr., Defense)

From left: Justin Gomez, Alex Cernansky, Matt White, Alex Zuniga and Grady Edwards. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

First-year coach Kevin Peters takes over a Barnegat program looking to take a big jump this year after showing signs of life over the past two seasons. The Bengals reached the Shore Conference Tournament for the first time two seasons ago and held their own last year despite replacing the program’s all-time leading scorer and first All-Shore player, Ryan Flaherty. This year’s team will have to replace one of its two leading scorers in Ricky Norman but has an experienced group back that is ready to handle the challenge.

The other leading scorer from last year was Matt White, who returns for his senior season after scoring a team-high eight goals as a junior and 19 over the past two years. Fellow seniors Grady Edwards and Alex Zuniga also showed some scoring touch last year, with Edwards leading the team with five assists. Senior Sean Toner leads the defense that will have to overcome some quality attacks fielded by the top teams in the division but should be better prepared to handle the task.

Manchester

Head Coach: Troy Madison, second season
2018 Record: 5-11-2 (0-7, eighth in B South)
Returners: Matt Bryant (So., Midfield/Defense), Logan Duffy (So., Forward), Xavier Millan (Jr., Midfield/Defense), Dallas Hopkins (Jr., Defense/Midfield), Trevor Juralewicz (Jr., Midfield), Billy Kuhmichel (Sr., Forward), Richard Mariotti (Sr., Goalkeeper), Chris Meyers (Jr., Defense), Jackson Pagnotta (So., Midfield/Forward), Vincent Paolillo (So., Forward/Midfield), Hunter Rust (So., Defense), Brandon Sogness (So., Midfield/Forward), Blake Weiner (Jr., Midfield)
Key Losses: Colby Peck (Defense), Jimmy Hinkson (Forward), Nick Oliver (Midfield),
Newcomers: Patrick Wac (Sr., Defense), Dominik Tracz (Sr., Defense), David Szczech (Sr., Midfield), Eduardo Jauregui (Sr., Goalkeeper), Jake Ruocchio (So. Defense), Kieran Donahue (So., Defense), Owen Edwards (Fr., Midfield)

From left: Blake Weiner, Xavier Millan, Rochard Mariotti (kneeling), Brandon Sogness and Logan Duffy. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

Despite going winless in divisional play, 2018 was a productive year for Manchester, which won five games and developed a young core that will carry the Haws for the next two-to-three years. How good these next three years are remains to be seen but if the performances of Logan Duffy, Blake Weiner and Xavier Millan are any indication, the Hawks could be onto something.

Duffy was last year’s breakout star, scoring 10 goals as a freshman striker. Weiner also chipped in with four goals and seven assists as a sophomore and fellow junior Xavier Millan put up a pair of goals and four assists in 2018. Returnees Matt Bryant and Billy Kuhmichael also scored last season and will be integral pieces on the attack. Senior Richard Mariotti had his work cut out for him in goal and will need his field players to keep the ball off of him this season. If another year of maturity can translate into more possession and fewer shots allowed, Manchester has the offensive potential to break through.

Jackson Liberty

Head Coach: Brett Mallinson, seventh season
2018 Record: 3-14 (2-5, seventh in B South)
Returners: Elton Canka (So., Forward), Chaz McGee (Sr., Defense), Tim Cappucci (Jr., Midfield), Nicolas Mathias (Sr., Midfield), Kellie Koroma (Sr., Forward), Lenis Toro (Sr., Midfield), Stelios Pettemerides (Sr., Defense), Jaedon Quanvie (Sr., Defense)
Key Losses: Riley Fahnholz (Goalkeeper), Lars Edeen (Defense), Lukas Talahaj (Midfield), Steven Siragusa (Defense), Josh Montoute (Forward), Beshoy Aziz (Midfield), Sean Yurgel (Jr.) – Academy commitment
Newcomers: Ayendi Batista (So., Goalkeeper)

Four games into the 2018 season, Jackson Liberty was 2-2 with a win over Donovan Catholic and a narrow loss to Pinelands – a start that set the Lions up for what might have been an eye-opening season in B South. They then lost the next four games by a combined margin of five goals and went on to lose nine straight and 12 of their last 13 to end the season. In all, Jackson Liberty was 1-6 in games decided by one goal.

Goalkeeper Riley Fahnholz was an all-division performer during his four years as a starter at Jackson Liberty and the Lions will turn to sophomore Ayendi Batista to fill that large void. The Lions also lost a fair amount of field talent but do return proven scorer Elton Canka, who led the team in scoring as a freshman in 2018. Junior Tim Cappucci and senior Nicolas Mathis also contributed to the scoring effort last year and senior Chaz McGee will help lead the defense in front of the new goalie. The sophomore duo of Canka and Batista on the two extremes of the formation make Jackson Liberty an intriguing team going forward and with a strong collective effort from the upperclassmen, the Lions could strong together a competitive run this year.

 

B South Starting XI

Sean Moffitt, Sr., Forward, Lacey (18 G, 3 A)

Christian D’Amato, Sr., Forward, Point Boro (1 G)

Johnny Hart, Pinelands, Jr., Midfield, Pinelands (8 G, 6 A)

Tony Aguilar, Sr., Midfield, Pinelands (2 G, 1 A)

Jersey Salazar, Sr., Forward, Lakewood (3 G, 1 A)

Logan Duffy, So., Forward, Manchester (10 G)

Mike Cyphers, Sr., Midfield, Lacey (6 G, 3 A)

Matt White, Sr., Forward/Midfield, Barnegat (8 G, 2 A)

Vin Loffredo, Sr., Forward/Midfield, Donovan Catholic (4 G, 2 A)

Mariano Maradiegue, Sr., Midfield, Point Boro

Steve Redler, Sr., Goalkeeper, Point Boro (5 shutouts)

 

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