Boys Soccer – 2020 Season Preview: Class B South
Over the past several years, there has been a pole reversal in the Class B South division, with the teams that formerly resided in the bottom of the standings climbing their way to the top and the perennial championship contenders sliding back.
Pinelands was a middling B South team before finishing second-place to five-time champion Point Pleasant Boro in 2016 and last year, Pinelands won its third straight B South title while Point Boro finished outside the top-three in the standings for the second straight year.
Barnegat and Manchester were basement-dwellers in the standings together in 2016 and by the end of 2019, the two upstarts were second and third in the standings, respectively.
Once again, Pinelands enters the season as the favorite, having established itself as a program that continues to add capable players to a system that works. Manchester, meanwhile, has staying power with a young roster, Barnegat will see how deep its program goes and Point Boro, Lacey, Donovan Catholic and Lakewood are all aiming for bounceback seasons.
In predicted order of finish
Head Coach: Nino Scotto di Carlo, fourth season
2019 Record: 8-6-1 (6-0-1, first in Class B South)
Returning: Johnny Hart (Sr., Midfield), Gavin Harris (Sr., Goalkeeper), Carter Mathis (Sr., Defense), James Cahill (Jr., Defense), Nate Szwed (Sr., Midfield), Adam Grelak (Jr., Midfield), Carter Courtney (Sr., Defense), Logan Middlecoop (Sr., Midfield), Brogan Duelly (So., Midfield)
Key Losses: Tony Aguilar (Midfield), Alex Dimm (Defense), Creed Nass (Forward), Jack Doyle (Midfield), Tyler Piazza (Defense), Matt Albanese (Defense), Logan Johnson (Midfield)
Four seasons ago, Pinelands ended a 28-year wait between Class B South championships and since then, the Wildcats have proven that was no fluke. Pinelands in the midst of a three-year run as the Class B South champions and enters the makeshift 2020 season as the favorite to finish atop the standings again. Whatever the postseason holds this season, Pinelands is among the teams looking to make noise to close out the year after a disappointing tournament season in 2019 and a trip to the South Jersey Group III final in 2018.
Johnny Hart leads a strong group of returning players coming off his SSN Second-Team All-Shore season as a junior. Junior Adam Grelak will be another key piece in the midfield and senior Nate Szwed figures to be another finishing threat pushing forward with Hart. The Pinelands back line will be strong again with junior James Cahill and senior Carter Mathis back as foundation pieces on the defense. Goalkeeper Gavin Harris is one of the Shore’s best between the pipes, so in addition to boasting one of the conference’s more creative offensive players in Hart, Pinelands also has the defensive chops to cause problems for any of its opponents.
Head Coach: Troy Madison, third season
2019 Record: 10-10 (5-2, third in Class B South)
Returning: Logan Duffy (Jr., Forward), Xavier Millan (Sr., Midfield), Dallas Hopkins (Sr., Defense), Trevor Juralewicz (Sr., Defense), Brandon Sogness (Jr., Midfield/Forward), Blake Weiner (Sr., Midfield), Owen Edwards (So., Forward/Midfield), Chris Meyers (Sr., Defense), Vincent Paolillo (Jr., Forward/Midfield), Hunter Rust (Jr., Defense), Jake Ruocchio (Jr. Defense), Muberaq Aderogba (So., Forward), Diego Martinez (So., Midfield)
Key Losses: Richard Mariotti (Sr., Goalkeeper), David Szczech (Sr., Midfield), Patrick Wac (Sr., Defense), Dominik Tracz (Sr., Defense)
Top Newcomers: Keith Fallon (Sr., Goalkeeper), Toye Sobayo (Sr., Forward), Tristen Spear (Jr., Goalkeeper), Joey Kurak (Fr., Forward/Midfield)
Coming off a major turnaround season, Manchester is eyeing another step forward in 2020, which would include giving Pinelands a serious run at the top spot in the B South standings. The Hawks basically did as much last year, when they went into the final division game of the season at Pinelands with a chance to win the B South title with a win (Pinelands prevailed, 2-1). Ultimately, the Hawks settled for their first .500 season and Shore Conference Tournament appearance since 2010.
The reason for optimism at Manchester stems from the 10 starters in the field the Hawks return from a year ago, with only five of them seniors. Junior Logan Duffy has been the team’s top scorer in each of his first two high-school seasons, while classmate Brandon Sogness led the team with six assists. Xavier Millan and Blake Weiner are the senior returnees in the midfield and Trevor Juralewicz, Dallas Hopkins and Chris Meyers are the senior defenders. Sophomore Owen Edwards also made an impact as a freshman, giving the Hawks the foundation for a 2020 contender, provided they can remain solid in goal.
Head Coach: Steve Torre, fourth season
2019 Record: 8-9-3 (2-4-1, tied fifth in Class B South)
Returning: Kody Besser (Jr., Defense), George-Kyle Hernandez (Sr., Midfield), Noah Hamouda (Sr., Forward), D.J. Edinger (Sr., Forward), Ethan Riley (So., Midfield), Bryan Cardoso (Jr., Defense), Anthony Leporino (Sr., Goalkeeper), Tosh Mrazck (Sr., Midfield), Dom Iorlio (Jr., Defense), Connor Bencik (Jr., Defense), Cody Pettitt (Sr., Midfield)
Key Losses: Mike Cyphers (Midfield), Kian Gonzalez (Defense), Sean Moffitt (Forward)
Top Newcomers: Jack Costa (Jr., Midfield), Dylan Raparelli (Jr., Midfield), Jay Marchitello (So., Midfield), Logan Gross (So., Midfield), Mateo Musmani (So., Midfield), Jason Velez (Fr., Forward)
Although Lacey finished below .500 last season, the Lions went 2-2 in games against teams that were ranked in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 at some point during the season, defeating Rumson-Fair Haven and Southern. The Lions also their best scoring threat in the middle of the 2019 season and graduated two more key pieces in the spring, but still bring back at least one productive player at each level of the formation.
Kody Besser has been a starter since his freshman year and has played all over the field for Lacey. Besser is geared up to play center fullback this season, with senior George-Kyle Hernandez manning the midfield and senior Noah Hamouda back at striker after a four-goal junior season. D.J. Edinger and Ethan Riley will also be important players on the attack while Bryan Cardoso, Dom Iorlino and Connor Bencik round out the defense in front of keeper Anthony Leporino. Once he returned from an early-season injury, Leporino gained his footing in goal and Lacey settled in as a team – which the Lions hope they can do from day one in 2020.
Point Pleasant Boro
Head Coach: Pete Casalino, 16th season
2019 Record: 7-11-1 (4-3, fourth in Class B South)
Returning: Jeff Thompson (Jr., Forward), Brett Leschinski (So., Defense), Alex Baginski (So., Forward/Midfield), Danny Gallagher (Sr., Midfield), Charles Latendorf (Jr., Defense), Aidan Huhn (Jr., Defense), Connor Robinson (Sr., Defense), Alex Corso (So., Forward), Max Dyba (So., Forward), Jared Elliot (So., Midfield), Jack Thompson (So., Defense)
Key Losses: Mariano Maradiegue (Midfield), Christian D’Amato (Forward), Steve Redler (Goalkeeper), Will Flaherty (Defense/Midfield), Troy Schnappauf (Forward/Midfield), James Latendorf (Defense)
Top Newcomers: Tom Liggett (Sr., Defense), Randy Reyes (Sr., Midfield), Logan Hanrahan (Jr., Midfield), Logan Morris (Jr., Defense), Thomas Buccino (So., Midfield), Owen Clearwaters (Fr., Midfield), John Witkowski (Fr., Forward), Andrew Holper (Fr., Goalkeeper), Chase Norling (Fr., Midfield), Matt Decker (Fr., Defense), Jared Drewes (Fr., Midfield), Ben Fritz (Fr., Midfield), Brayden Girkesh (Fr., Midfield), Gavin Petrosky (Fr., Defense)
Before Pinelands began its ongoing streak of Class B South titles, Point Boro maintained a stranglehold on division titles for the prior five years. Throughout their run, the Panthers got better as the season progressed but in the past two years, their starts were too slow to overcome as it pertained to winning a division title. Their propensity to improve with each game, however, still remains and this year, Point Boro has a young roster that has a chance to be a factor by November and even more of one in 2021.
Danny Gallagher and Connor Robinson are the only returning seniors from last year and while the Panthers did lose some important 2019 players to graduation, they also have plenty of young talent that played last season. Jeff Thompson is a scoring threat up top and sophomore Brett Leschinski was the team’s top scorer as a defender. Alex Baginski is also part of Point Boro’s deep, promising sophomore class and if that group grows up quickly together this season, the Panthers could hang around as a contender for first place in Class B South.
Head Coach: Kevin Peters, second season
2019 Record: 11-7-1 (5-1-1, second in Class B South)
Returning: Ken Franke (Sr., Defense), Jesse Hedlund (So., Forward), Connor Costello (Sr., Midfield), Maurice Vargas (Sr., Forward), Matt Cheney (So., Defense), Lucas Holland (So., Goalkeeper)
Key Losses: Matt White (Forward/Midfield), Sean Toner (Defense), Justin Gomez (Forward), Grady Edwards (Midfield), Alex Zuniga (Midfield), Alex Cernansky (Midfield)
Top Newcomers: Kester Mbah (Sr., Midfield), Tyler Quinn (Sr., Defense/Midfield), Edgar Santiago (Sr., Midfield), Kyle Agudo (Sr., Defense), Marco Amato (Jr., Defense), Darren Cernansky (Jr., Defense/Midfield), Jay Cernansky (Jr., Defense), Schuyler Jodice (Jr., Midfield/Forward), Hudson Morici (Jr., Midfield), Pavel Patel (Jr., Midfield)
In the first season with coach Kevin Peters at the helm, Barnegat authored its highest ever finish on the Class B South table, coming in second to Pinelands by one game. The Bengals earned a draw against the B South champs in their head-to-head meeting but they were the team to blink first as Pinelands won its other six matches. Still, Barnegat turned in its best season in program history thanks to a deep senior class and will try to build on it with a less experienced lineup this year.
Senior center back Ken Franke was one of the division’s most versatile players last year, organizing the back line, marking forwards and pushing up for three goals and four assists. Franke, Connor Costello and Maurice Vargas will be key seniors for the Bengals and sophomore Jesse Hedlund figures to be the team’s top scoring threat after posting seven goals as a freshman – good for second on the team. Matt Cheney is another key sophomore who will join Franke in the back four and Barnegat will play another sophomore in goal in returning starter Lucas Holland. Despite a lot of open spots to fill, this year is an opportunity for Barnegat to show it can stay competitive losing a lot to graduation.
Head Coach: Ken Oliver, 20th season
2019 Record: 5-10-2 (2-4-1, tied fifth in Class B South)
Returning: Preston Kyriakoulis (Jr., Midfield/Forward), Clay Yannazzone (Sr., Defense), Vin Mendes (Sr., Forward), Dean Carskaddan (Sr., Midfield), Rich O’Brien (Sr., Midfield), Carlos Soriano (Sr., Defense), Damin Mangin (Sr., Midfield/Forward), Brian Supsie (Sr., Midfield), Justin Triolo (Jr., Goakeeper)
Key Losses: Vin Loffredo (Midfield/Forward), Christian McElroy (Goalkeeper), Nick Calvetto (Defense), Neithan Ramos (Defense/Midfield), Ronan Bova (Midfield), Anthony DeSilva (Sr., Midfield), John Triolo (Sr., Midfield/Defense)
Top Newcomers: Ryan Butchko (So., Defense), Peyton Calvetto (So., Midfield/Forward), Juan Jordan (So., Midfield), Harrison Hopkins (So., Goalkeeper), Matt Bowen (Jr., Midfield), Antony DeSapia (Jr., Defense/Midfield), Raul Soriano (Jr., Defense/Midfield), Konrad Dzialowski (Fr., Defense/Midfield), Matt Fletcher (Fr., Midfield)
Donovan Catholic graduated a number of contributing seniors from 2019 but return three multi-year starters in Clay Yannazzone, Vin Mendes and Preston Kyriakoulis to help direct Griffins into what they hope will be a march back into the top-half of the B South standings. While the Griffins are coming off a difficult season in 2019, it did include a big win over Barnegat that effectively denied the Bengals a share of the Class B South title.
Kyriakoulis is in his third year playing on the attack and has been among the team’s top scorers in each of his prior seasons. Mendes returns up top as a prominent goal-scoring threat and Yannazzone will help anchor the defense. Dean Carskaddan is also back in the midfield and fellow seniors Rich O’Brien, Damin Mangin and Brian Supsie will also man the midfield in their final season at Donovan. Ultimately, Donovan Catholic will lean on non-senior talent to step up and help the Griffins make their move in B South – both this season and heading into 2021.
Head Coach: Gene Drumright, 20th season
2019 Record: 3-12-2 (1-4-2, seventh in Class B South)
Returning: David Olivares (Sr., Midfield), Neri De los Santos (Sr., Defense), Eduardo Santillan (Jr., Defense), Alexander Granda (Jr., Midfield)
Key Losses: Jersey Salazar (Forward), Augustin Lopez (Defense), Jonathan Toichihuitl (Midfield), Luis Vargas (Midfield)
Top Newcomers: Jesus Avila (So., Forward), Angelo Calidonio (So., Midfield), Joshua Carrillo (So., Midfield), Josue Ayala (So., Midfield), Robert Serrano (Jr., Forward)
After a three-year run competing in the top half of Class B South, Lakewood fell back in the standings in 2019 and on top of that, will graduate some key players. On the bright side, the Piners return capable players in the midfield and on the back line, which should give them the ability to posses the ball through the formation against even the best teams in the division.
David Olivares is a returning defensive center midfielder and will pair up with junior Alexander Granda in the middle of the pitch. Neri De los Santos and Eduardo Santillan are a returning defensive duo and most of Lakewood’s core of attacking players in 2020 will be sophomores, with the occasional junior mixed in. Jesus Avila – one of the sophomores - should be a scoring threat over the next several years and if the Piners can find some production from the young group and sort out the goalkeeper position, they have a chance to be dangerous this year.
Head Coach: Brett Mallinson, eighth season
2019 Record: 0-15 (0-7, eighth in Class B South)
Returning: Tim Cappucci (Sr., Midfield), Ayendi Batista (Jr., Goalkeeper), Jimmy Cappucci (So., Midfield), Elton Canka (Jr., Forward), Connor Yurgel (So., Midfield), Jaedon Quanvie (So., Defense/Midfield), Gerard Cerino (So., Forward), Nic Malangone (So., Defense), Ryan Pettrow (So., Midfield), Jairo Arellan Jimenez (So., Forward), Jacob Hybbeneth (Sr., Defense), Mario Pettemerides (Jr., Defense), Yousef Takaway (Jr., Midfield), Evan Weiskopf (Jr., Defense)
Key Losses: Kellie Koroma (Forward), Chaz McGee (Defense), Nicolas Mathias (Midfield), Lenis Toro (Midfield), Stelios Pettemerides (Defense), Jaedon Quanvie (Defense)
Jackson Liberty has fallen on hard times over the past several seasons and last year, the Lions bottomed out with a winless season. They also graduated leading scorer Kelli Koroma, however the good news is Jackson Liberty was young overall and will feature far more experience and physicality as an older team in 2020.
Junior Ayendi Batista was an all-division player as a junior and will be back in goal for Jackson Liberty this fall. Tim Cappucci is the team’s senior leader in the midfield and will be surrounded by sophomores who contributed as freshmen. Connor Yurgel and Jimmy Capucci are two of the more established second-year players and for Jackson Liberty to make a significant jump, it will need its sophomore class to have a breakout year with Batista turning in another standout year in goal.
B South Starting IX
Logan Duffy, Jr., Forward, Manchester (10 G, 5 A)
Noah Hamouda, Sr., Forward, Lacey (4 G, 2 A)
Johnny Hart, Sr., Midfield/Forward, Pinelands (9 G, 3 A)
Preston Kyriakoulis, Jr., Midfield/Forward, Donovan Catholic
Blake Weiner, Sr., Midfield, Manchester (6 G, 3 A)
Kody Besser, Jr., Defense, Lacey (5 G, 3 A)
Brett Lechinski, So., Defense, Point Boro (4 G, 3 A)
Ken Franke, Sr., Defense, Barnegat (3 G, 4 A)
James Cahill, Jr., Defense, Pinelands
Trevor Juralewicz, Sr., Defense, Manchester (1 G, 5 A)
Gavin Harris, Sr., Goalkeeper, Pinelands (4 shutouts)
Breakout Players to Watch
Adam Grelak, Jr., Midfield, Pinelands
Jesse Hedlund, So., Midfield, Barnegat (7 G, 2 A)
Owen Edwards, So., Midfield, Manchester (2 G, 4 A)
Jeff Thompson, Jr., Forward, Point Boro (2 G)
David Olivares, Sr., Lakewood
Connor Yurgel, So., Midfield, Jackson Liberty