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During a 2020 season that was missing some noteworthy elements that make up a typical high school soccer season, it produced two memorable aspects within the Shore Conference Class B North division. The first was Wall’s march to a perfect 17-0 season, which would have been nearly impossible over a complete schedule. The second was the ramping up of the rivalry between Wall and Colts Neck, which were the clear-cut contenders for the top spot in the division and are likely to remain as such heading into 2021.

While the Crimson Knights and the Cougars bring back some key cast members in the rivalry, the rest of the division will be trying to catch up with some interesting rosters doing the chasing. Manasquan is only two years removed from a trip to the Shore Conference Tournament championship game, Neptune ended the 2020 season with a flurry of wins and a young roster, and Matawan is a team that routinely shows up to do damage in the NJSIAA Tournament.

The rest of the division – Red Bank, Freehold Boro and St. John Vianney – are still trying to make a name for themselves and there is reason to believe it can be done over the next 10 weeks. The B North schedule will be a grind but on the other side of it, multiple member teams could be primed for postseason success.

Wall

Head Coach: Garry Linstra, 20th season
2020 Record: 17-0 (14-0, first in Class B North)
Returners: Terence Byrnes (Sr., Forward), Dan Hyde (Sr., Defense), Emmett Aravich (Sr., Midfield), Kyle Horowitz (Sr., Defense), Sam Grabicki (Sr., Defense), Matt Murphy (Sr., Midfield), Matthew Arementi (Jr., Defense), Joe Gisoldi (Sr., Goalkeeper), Ryan Molloy (Sr., Forward), James Damiano (Jr., Forward), Kyle Gerber (Sr., Forward), T.C. Taylor (Sr., Midfield), Seth Reinhardt (Sr., Defense), Chris Miller (Jr., Defense), Patrick Southwell (Jr., Forward), Cooper Harmon (So., Midfield)
Losses: Jake Pepe (Forward), Nico DellaPietro (Forward), Philip Lyons (Midfield), Sean Southwell (Defense), Christian Cosenza (Defense)
Newcomers: Dan Burns (Sr., Forward), Ian Fisher (Sr., Forward), Connor Heinl (Sr., Forward), Chris Mitchell (Sr., Forward), Micah Rubin (Sr., Defense), Ryan Gotsch (Jr., Midfield), Jake Petillo (So., Midfield), Nick Damiano (So., Forward), Charles Schimer (So., Goalkeeper)

Wall's Terence Byrnes (6) celebrates a goal with now-former teammate Philip Lyons. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

In a short year with only so many opportunities to play games, teams had to embrace every conceivable challenge during the 2020 season. Once Wall got off and running on a lengthy winning streak to open the season, the Crimson Knights figured that whatever tournament games were or were not available, they could just focus on adding to their winning streak. By season’s end, the Crimson Knights played every scheduled game – an accomplishment in and of itself when COVID-19 was periodically shutting down athletic programs throughout the school year – and for the first time in program history, won them all.

Coming off a perfect 17-0 season with a sectional championship in the modified NJSIAA Tournament, Wall will look to keep things rolling with a mix of established starters and scorers to go with some first-year contributors who will have to replace a memorable senior class. Among those back for Wall is 10-goal scorer Terence Byrnes, who will give Wall one of the top returning strikers in the Shore Conference. Emmett Aravich and Matt Murphy were big contributors as juniors in the midfield – Aravich in the middle and Murphy on the outside – while seniors Kyle Horowitz and Dan Hye return to the back line after playing on the outside as juniors. Horowitz is a capable playing going forward as well and the defense can take some gambles with a veteran senior goalkeeper in Joe Gisoldi back.

Wall will have some key openings in the middle of the field and two in the middle of the defense, which could be addressed, in part, with a move to the middle by Hyde. Senior Ryan Molloy and junior James Damiano will help out Byrnes up top after playing some last season and Cooper Harmon will lead the sophomore class after getting some run as a freshman. Wall is sure to have depth and more talent elevating through the program, so the nucleus of six returning starters should serve as the foundation for another big year.

Colts Neck

Head Coach: Art Collier, 24th season
2020 Record: 15-2 (12-2, second in Class B North)
Returners: David Tuschmann (Sr., Forward), Tom Samaras (Sr., Midfield), Vivam Ghandi (Sr., Defense), Jairo Chira (Jr., Midfield), Brent Glantz (Jr., Midfield)
Losses: Steve Ciccarone (Defense), Jake Gershon (Midfield), Ryan Lee (Midfield), Adam Haaf (Midfield), Derek Haaf (Forward), Kyle Koenig (Defense), Jacob Carreira (Defense), Aidan Rowohit (Goalkeeper)
Newcomers: Matt Bartelli (Jr., Midfield), Jeff Decarvalho (Jr., Midfield), Ryan Gershon (Jr., Defense), Kyle Moore (Fr., Forward), Aidan Schauer (Sr., Defense), Dylan Williams (Sr., Defense), Joseph Portello (Sr., Goalkeeper), Michael Perrette (Sr., Defense), Elton Bardho (Sr., Forward), Dylan Lee (Sr., Defense)

Colts Neck senior David Tuschmann (left) and Wall's Christian Cosenza (right). (Photo by Paula Lopez)

Colts Neck suffered only two losses all season long in 2020 and both were losses to Wall in which the Cougars had their chances to pull out the result. After those two heartbreakers at the end of the regular season, Colts Neck bounced back by winning their section in the modified NJSIAA playoffs – the program’s first sectional title of any kind since 2000. Colts Neck has been adept at promoting its bench players and sub-varsity talent into big roles with success and in order for the Cougars to march toward another Top 10 finish it will need some new names to step up.

Fortunately for Colts Neck, one of its returning starters is the best returning goal-scorer in the Shore Conference. Physical senior striker David Tuschmann finished second in the conference with 25 goals, trailing only Southern star and Shore Sports Network Player of the Year Kevin Kiernan. The last three of Tuschmann’s goals came in Colts Neck’s 3-0 sectional championship win over Cranford. On top of bringing back Tuschmann, the Cougars also bring back Tom Samaras – a productive two-year starter in the midfield – as well as senior defender Vivam Ghandi.

Juniors Jairo Chiro and Brent Glantz return with playing experience from their sophomore season and will assume starting roles in the midfield along with Samaras. Classmates Matt Bartelli and Jeff Decarvalho will both play in the midfield as well, while junior Ryan Gershon and seniors Aidan Schauer and Dylan Williams are poised to join Ghandi in the back in front of first-year senior goalkeeper Joe Portello. Freshman Kyle Moore will be an underclassman to watch and he will get time up top with Tuschmann on a team that should continue to generate goals and should be dangerous once the new starters gain their footing.

Neptune

Head Coach: John Knight, 16th season
2020 Record: 8-8 (7-7, third in Class B North)
Returners: Amir Houllier (Sr., Goalkeeper), Kervens Lafortune (So., Forward), Ernst Louisius (Jr., Forward), Anthony Muñoz Garcia (So., Midfield), Sebastian Canaverde (So., Midfield), Nate Kerr (So., Defense), Lee Petrowski (Sr., Forward)
Losses: Marvin Muñoz Garcia (Midfield), Steven Camacho (Forward), Giovanni Morales (Defense), David Radwonski (Defense), Ethan Latshaw (Midfield), Cosme Fierro (Defense)
Newcomers: Stephen Seidle (Sr., Defense), Donoy Hilton (Sr., Defense), Jack Tinik (Jr., Defense), Marc Bondurant (Jr., Midfield), Aidan MacAnee (Jr., Midfield), Michael Loff (Sr., Defense), Jack Natalino (Sr., Defense)

The 2020 season started about as badly as it could for a Neptune team with so many underclassmen expected to play big minutes. The district did not clear any of its athletics programs to begin practice until September, which left the young Scarlet Fliers well behind the eight-ball compared to the rest of the Shore Conference. Eventually, though, Neptune would find its rhythm, led by All-Shore midfielder Marvin Muñoz Garcia and five other senior starters that helped lead an otherwise young roster.

With those seniors now gone, Neptune is still a young team, with just two of the impact returnees representing the senior class. One of those seniors is goalkeeper Amir Houllier, who came on strong over the course of his junior season and will be one of the division’s steadiest keepers. Lee Petrowski also saw some time will be an option up top as a senior along with the talented duo of junior Ernst Louisius and sophomore Kervens Lafortune. Both forwards emerged as underclassmen last year and scored in big games down the stretch for the Scarlet Fliers.

The defense will be mostly new for Neptune and the holdover is rangy sophomore Nate Kerr, who was another impact freshman on the 2020 Scarlet Fliers. Yet another sophomore, Anthony Muñoz Garcia, will be a major player in the Neptune formation, with Muñoz Garcia looking to fill the shoes of his older brother as much as he can and classmate Sebastian Canaverde will have a bigger role this year as well. Filling in the open spots on the back line will be a wild card for Neptune, but with an experienced keeper, talented forwards and a young nucleus that got a taste of winning last year, the Scarlet Fliers are a team with a ton of upside.

Manasquan

Head Coach: Tom McGill, eighth season
2020 Record: 5-7-1 (5-6-1, fourth in Class B North)
Returners: Mike Cafiero (Sr., Midfield), Jose Avila (Sr., Midfield), Aksel Guerrero (Sr., Midfield), Gavin Guagenty (Sr., Defense), Joe Kennedy (Sr., Defense), Ezra Shim (Sr., Goalkeeper), Alex Strapp (Sr., Midfield), Braeden Chek (Jr., Midfield), Tyler Collinson (Jr., Goalkeeper), Mike Flanagan (Jr., Defense), Eddie Gunnell (Jr., Defense), Vin Hyland (Jr., Midfield), Matt Karolak (Jr., Midfield), Drew Perkins (Jr., Defense), Aidan Sugrue (Jr., Midfield)
Losses: Simon Cardenas (Forward), Liam Diamond (Defense), Emmi Shim (Defense), Sean Wayne (Forward), Sam Pearlberg (Midfield)
Newcomers: Jackson Gardner (Jr., Defense), Max Hartelius (Jr., Midfield), Kevin Klodowski (Jr., Midfield), Rory Mather (Jr., Goalkeeper), D’Arcy McGill (Jr., Defense), Miles Niebo (Jr.), Thomas Stamos (Jr., Midfield), Peter Debenedetto (So., Forward), Lucas Farkas (So., Midfield), Kevian Kraemer (So., Forward), Luke Roy (So., Midfield), Shane Salvatoriello (So., Midfield), Patrick Woodrow (So., Defense), Griffin Linstra (Fr., Defense)

Two years removed from reaching the Shore Conference Tournament championship game and falling on penalties, Manasquan is hoping to put a challenging 2020 in the rearview mirror. The Warriors got late word that All-Shore striker and current Villanova freshman Tommy Johnson would not play high school soccer and they struggled to overcome the absence of their former star player on top of the other losses to graduation. This season, Manasquan has a full idea of what it has and what it will need to compete with the likes of Wall and Colts Neck for the top spot in Class B North.

Senior midfielder Mike Cafiero will lead the way in 2021 after leading the Warriors with seven goals during his junior campaign. Cafiero was a starter on the 2019 squad, as was current junior midfielder Aidan Sugrue when he was a freshman. Cafiero, Sugrue and junior Matt Karolak will be the primary scoring threats as midfielders, giving Manasquan a strong group to hold the ball in the middle of the pitch.

The Warriors will have an exciting group of underclassmen pitching in right away, led by sophomores Lucas Farkas, Luke Roy and Kevian Kraemer and freshman defender Griffin Linstra. While Farkas and Roy play in the midfield and Kraemer plays up top, Linstra will join an experienced defense that also boasts seniors Gavin Guagenty and Joe Kennedy and junior Mike Flanagan. The quartet will play in front of returning goalkeeper Ezra Shimm and should keep Manasquan in a lot of games. If the scoring effort can click at some point along the way, the Warriors could again be a dangerous opponent in tournament play.

St. John Vianney

Head Coach: Ryan Tetro, third season
2020 Record: 3-9-2 (2-9-2, seventh in Class B North)
Returners: Johnny Troiano (Sr., Forward/Midfield), Matthew Skolnick (Sr., Defense), Jonathan Moreira (Sr., Forward/Goalkeeper), Jack Allen (Sr., Defense/Midfield), Luca Esposito (Sr., Defense), Danny Herndon (Jr., Forward), Luke Molloy (Jr., Midfield), Samuel Munning (Sr., Defense), Matthew Brana (Jr., Goalkeeper), Keoni Johnson (So., Midfield)
Losses: Danny Vitale (Midfield), Sean Molloy (Defense), David Cardenas (Midfield)
Newcomers: Brendan Allen (Fr., Midfield), Kyle DiMarco (Fr., Forward), Anthony Marano (Fr., Forward), Jack Schueing (Fr., Defense), Dylan Smith (Fr., Midfield)

As St. John Vianney has struggled its way through the past several seasons, there have been some silver linings and signs of life. After sporting a more competitive team last season – albeit one that won only three games – the Lancers are hopeful they are on the cusp of a dramatic step forward this season behind a much more experienced roster.

Senior Johnny Troiano is the standout of the bunch after claiming Class B North All-Division recognition as a junior and putting up big scoring numbers since his freshman season at Vianney. Juniors Danny Herndon and Luke Molloy were two other productive players on the attack for the Lancers in 2020 and could be in for more returns now that both are entering the second half of their respective high-school careers. The rest of the crop of midfielders and strikers will be young, with sophomore Keoni Johnson returning with experience while freshmen Brendan Allen, Kyle DiMarco, Anthony Marano and Dylan Smith join the fray.

In the back, Matt Skolnick, Jack Allen, Luca Esposito and Sam Munning are seniors with experience, while freshman Jack Schueing is capable of making an impact as well. Jonathan Moreira is an athletic goalkeeper returning to the net, but can also jump to the top of the formation and give way to Matt Brana in goal. There is some talent for third-year coach Ryan Tetro to mix and max and this could be the year it all comes together for St. John Vianney in the competitive B North division.

Red Bank

Head Coach: Vincent Gruosso, fifth season
2020 Record: 4-7 (4-6, fifth in Class B North)
Returners: Jacob Kirkpatrick (Sr., Midfield), Phil Stolfa (Sr., Midfield/Defense), Braeden Carrol (Sr., Goalkeeper), James Castell (Jr., Midfield), Mario Mozo (Sr., Midfield/Forward)
Losses: Matteo Balderas (Forward), Ryan Karr (Defense), Matt Villani (Defense), John Venino (Defense), Nick Gorhau (Midfield), Adam Tlatelpa (Forward), Luis Santamaria (Defense), Enoch Hutchinson (Forward)
Newcomers: Carlos Guerra (So., Forward), Thomas Keegan (Sr., Midfield), Matthew Lynch (Sr., Forward)

Since the last time Red Bank had a winning boys soccer team in 2014, the Bucs have shown flashes of becoming a winning team again, including a few of the seasons under current head coach Vincent Gruosso. The end of last season, though, felt like a particularly important stretch for Red Bank, which opened 0-6, won four straight, endured a COVID-related shutdown and then lost a wild state playoff game at Toms River South to end its season. Those last five games have this year’s group of returning players excited to get back on the field and continue the upward trend of the program.

The Bucs lost a top scorer in Matteo Balderas and an all-division defender in John Venino, but there will be experience throughout the middle of the field, as well as in goal with the return of starter Braeden Carrol. Senior Jacob Kirkpatrick and junior James Castell were both regular contributors in the midfield a season ago and senior Phil Stolfa will complement them as a defensive-inclined player to the middle of the formation. Senior Mario Mozo, meanwhile, will play up top some after getting time as a junior.

Red Bank also hopes to involve sophomore Carlos Guerra in the attack as a striker while looking for contributions from senior newcomers Thomas Keegan and Matt Lynch. For the Bucs to thrive, though, they will have to find a way to patch up a defense that took a hit to graduation. They figured out the defense last year after a shaky start, but this year’s group is hoping to figure itself out earlier in the season and again be an uncomfortable draw for an opponent in the NJSIAA Tournament.

Matawan

Head Coach: Tyler Isaacson, sixth season
2020 Record: 5-10 (5-9, sixth in Class B North)
Returners: Tyler Coco (Sr., Defense), Esben Nielsen (Sr., Midfield), Chris Mularadelis (Sr., Midfield), Jarrett Norman (Sr., Forward), Jarod McMeans (Jr., Goalkeeper)
Losses: Justin Skeete (Forward), Dylan Frye (Midfield), Lucas DeGrigorio (Defense), Pasindu Dodangoda (Midfield)
Newcomers: Evan Arendt (Jr., Forward), Jacob Cole (Sr., Forward), John Contini (Sr., Forward) – transfer from Mater Dei Prep

While Red Bank came on strong at the end of 2020, Matawan faded down the stretch and the schedule had a lot to do with that. The Huskies ended the season on a seven-game losing streak, with five of the losses coming to Colts Neck (three) and Wall (two). Two of those losses came by a margin of one goal – including a 2-1 state playoff loss to Colts Neck – so the Huskies managed to remain competitive, even as the losses piled up.

This year’s team will look to get back in the saddle behind a handful of impact returnees and a few important additions. Seniors Jarrett Norman and Chris Muldarelis emerged as reliable offensive players for Matawan a season ago, with Norman becoming a top goal-scorer along with graduated forward Justin Skeete. Senior Esben Nielsen also returns with experience in the midfield, while senior Tyler Coco is back to captain the defense in front of returning junior goalkeeper Jarod McMeans. While McMeans began his sophomore year as a backup, an injury to senior starter Christian Wheeler gave Matawan an early look at its keeper of the future.

The Huskies will hope for additional scoring punch from Mater Dei transfer John Contini, who put up seven goals as a junior with the Seraphs a season ago. Junior Evan Arendt and senior Jacob Cole will also look to add to the scoring effort for Matawan, which will try to blend its fast start from 2020 with its recent propensity to elevate its game during the NJSIAA Tournament.

Freehold Boro

Head Coach: Mike Parshelunis, fourth season
2020 Record: 2-12-1 (1-11-1, eighth in Class B North)
Returners: Thomas Hughes (Jr., Midfield/Defense), Keiran McLean (Jr., Defense), Colin Wozniak (Jr., Midfield), Jonathan Lopez (Sr., Forward), Jonathan Min (Sr., Defense/Midfield), Silverio Ortiz (Sr., Midfield), Tharnthong Phua (Sr., Forward), Jake Turner (Sr., Midfield), Owen Gelber (Sr., Goalkeeper), Alberto Pantoja (Sr., Goalkeeper)
Losses: Mike Romero-Vargas (Forward), Chris Casale (Defense), Matt Castles (Defense), Dylan Manabat (Defense), Jack Scharnagl (Defense/Midfield)
Newcomers: Vishal Rajmathan (Sr., Defense/Midfield)

The 2021 season will mark the fourth straight year in which Freehold Boro returns either its leading scorer from the previous season or a 10-goal scorer, but unfortunately for the Colonials, that fact has not helped them post a winning season during that time. Coming off a 2-12-1 season in 2020, Freehold Boro will have to replace a handful of productive players from a year ago while returning striker Tharnthong Phua, whose three goals were a modest total for a player who led his team.

With Phua back up top, Freehold Boro will look to fortify the midfield and back line. Juniors Thomas Hughes and Keiran McLean will be important pieces to the defense, with Hughe potentially playing a defensive center-midfield role as well. Classmate Colin Wozniak will be another important player in the midfield, while seniors Jonathan Min, Silverio Ortiz and Jake Turner all look to make bigger contributions as midfielders.

While Freehold Boro hopes to have some finishing up top with Phua and senior Jonathan Lopez, the Colonials can feel good about what that have in goal. Both Alberto Patoja and Owen Gelber are experienced keepers and Pantoja was an all-division selection as a junior in 2020. Both could see time in 2021, with Pantoja being the hot hand carrying over from the 2020 campaign. There are some questions around the formation, but with a strong collective effort in the midfield, Freehold has ability around the goal on both sides of the field to pull out some games that might have slipped away last year.

 

Class B North Starting XI

David Tuschmann, Sr., Forward, Colts Neck (25 goals, 7 assists)

Terence Byrnes, Sr., Forward, Wall (10 goals, 1 assist)

Ernst Louisius, Jr., Forward, Neptune (6 goals)

Jarett Norman, Sr., Forward, Matawan (4 goals, 1 assist)

Johnny Troiano, Sr., Forward/Midfield, St. John Vianney (10 goals, 4 assists)

Tom Samaras, Sr., Midfield, Colts Neck (9 goals, 9 assists)

Mike Cafiero, Sr., Midfield, Manasquan (7 goals, 1 assist)

Matt Murphy, Sr., Midfield, Wall (5 goals, 3 assists)

Emmett Aravich, Sr., Midfield, Wall (2 goals, 5 assists)

Kyle Horowitz, Sr., Defense, Wall (2 goals, 3 assists)

Joe Gisoldi, Sr., Goalkeeper, Wall (7 shutouts)

 

Breakout Players to Watch

Anthony Muñoz Garcia, So., Midfield, Neptune (1 goal, 1 assist)

Aidan Sugrue, Jr., Midfield, Manasquan

James Castell, Jr., Midfield, Red Bank (2 goals, 2 assists)

Chris Muldarelis, Sr., Midfield, Matawan (3 goals)

Jairo Chira, Jr., Midfield, Colts Neck (4 goals, 1 assist)