Boys Soccer – 2022 Shore Sports Network All-Shore Team: First Team
2022 Shore Sports Network All-Shore First Team
Players selected by Shore Sports Network Soccer Editor Matt Manley based on stats, first-hand accounts, coach feedback and team impact (not necessarily in that order).
Will Thygeson, Sr., Christian Brothers Academy
2022 Stats: 11 goals, 9 assists
Despite missing three Shore Conference Tournament games to a hamstring injury, Thygeson was the leading scorer on the No. 1 team in the state in 2020, edging out dangerous teammates Jack D’Eletto and Dylan Millevoi. During the regular season, Thygeson blended in with seven goals and eight assists and got his postseason off to a fast start by scoring CBA’s first goal of the Shore Conference Tournament. The injury, however, knocked him out of the Colts’ last three SCT games and CBA went on to win the tournament with Thygeson on the sideline.
In the NJSIAA Tournament, the senior made up for lost time and earned his Shore Conference Player of the Year distinction with a furious finish. Thygeson scored three goals in four state-tournament wins including the winning goals in the South Jersey Non-Public A championship against St. Peter’s and the Non-Public A championship against Seton Hall Prep – both 1-0 wins and both on goals in the final 12 minutes.
You can read Thygeson’s full Player of the Year profile here.
Jack D’Eletto, Sr., Christian Brothers Academy
2022 Stats: 10 goals, 10 assists
CBA was an unstoppable force thanks to an airtight defense and a three-headed attack up top, led by its senior wingers, Thygeson and D’Eletto. While Thygeson operated on the left side of the field, D’Eletto was a menace on the right side, using his speed and striking ability to inflict major damage against opponents throughout the season. He recorded two braces during the campaign and they came against NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV runner-up Monroe and against a Pingry side that lost twice all year. He also had three games with two assists, with two of them coming in tournament play.
Speaking of tournament play, D’Eletto’s defining moments in the season came in win-or-go-home games. In the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals, he scored the goal of the year in the Shore Conference by blasting a slicing upper-90, 25-yard shot for the game-winner with 1:19 left in a 2-1 win over Middletown North (pictured above). It was his second game-winner against Middletown North, which CBA beat, 1-0, during the regular season. In total, D’Eletto racked up four goals and four assists during tournament play, helping CBA win both the Shore Conference Tournament and the overall Non-Public A title in the same season for the first time in program history.
Ernst Louisius, Sr., Neptune
2022 Stats: 22 goals, 10 assists
Neptune was one of the Shore’s most dangerous attacks and the primary reason for that was its 6-foot-2 scoring machine up top. Louisius’s combination of size, speed and scoring touch helped him lead the Shore Conference in goals, total scoring (54 points), points per game (2.84) and in percentage of his team’s goal-scoring (42 percent). The senior scored a goal in 14 of Neptune’s 19 games and notched multiple goals in six of them.
Before the start of the postseason, Louisius had two two-goal games, both of which came against Class B South teams with losing records (Barnegat and Pinelands). If there was any question about whether Louisius could dominate Neptune’s biggest games the way he dominated those two, he answered them in a big way. He went on to score seven goals in four tournament games, including a hat trick in an 8-5 Neptune romp over Ewing in the Central Jersey Group III Tournament. He also put up a goal and an assist in two of Neptune’s biggest regular-season wins – 2-1 victories over Manasquan and Middletown North.
Kajus Matazinskas, Sr., Toms River East
2022 Stats: 17 goals, 5 assists
One of the Shore’s most gifted offensive players, Matazinskas was the standout player on a Toms River East team that claimed a share of the Class A South championship for the first time since 2011. While Louisius led the Shore Conference in scoring, points per game and percentage of his team’s scoring, Matazinskas was in the top three in each category. He scored 17 of his team’s 43 goals on the season and put up an average of 2.4 points per game, trailing only Louisius in each category. His 17 goals and 39 total points, meanwhile, were both third behind Louisius and Holmdel breakout sophomore Stephan Kapranov.
During a dominant senior season, Matazinskas posted three multi-goal games, including hat tricks against Point Pleasant Beach and Brick. His other two were braces against two of A South’s best: Southern and Toms River North. In the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament, Matazinskas burned rival Toms River North for a pair of goals, including the golden goal in overtime to deliver the 24th-seeded Raiders with a first-round upset of the No. 9 Mariners. Those were two of three tournament goals scored by Matazinskas – all of which came against Toms River North, which beat Toms River East, 2-1, in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV Tournament.
Stephan Kapranov, So., Holmdel
2022 Stats: 18 goals, 6 assists
After electing to pass on high school soccer as a freshman, Kapranov burst on the scene in his debut season in 2022. He finished second in the Shore Conference in goal and total points and began his breakout with back-to-back hat tricks in his second and third games of the season. Those performances against Central Jersey Group III semifinalist Matawan and Coaches’ Cup winner Freehold Boro were the first two of three hat tricks for Kapranov, who later rolled one up against Ranney in the opening round of the Shore Conference Tournament.
Kapranov added three other two-goal games, two of which were of particular significance. He slammed in two goals in a wild Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinal game against Marlboro, which ended with Holmdel advancing to the semifinals on penalty kicks after a 3-3 draw. His other brace came with an assist and it was part of a 5-0 win by Holmdel over Raritan in the first round of the Central Jersey Group II Tournament. Kapranov’s last contribution to a Holmdel goal came in the form of a precision assist on his team’s lone goal of its 1-0 win over Wall in the Central Group II final – the Hornets’ first sectional championship since 2018.
J.P. Candela, Sr., Howell
2022 Stats: 8 goals, 6 assists
Candela watched Howell’s run to the Central Jersey Group IV championship game from the bleachers and decided after passing up the chance to play for the Rebels in favor of academy soccer, he wanted to be a part of school history as a senior. With Candela conducting the operation from the middle of the field, Howell took its game to the next level by winning the Shore Conference Class A North public division championship for the first time since 2011 and reaching the Shore Conference Tournament championship game for the first time since 2007.
Howell faced each of the other four teams ranked in the top five of the Shore Sports Network Top 10 and went 2-3 in those matches, with two losses to CBA and one to Marlboro. In the two wins, Candela came up big – once with a go-ahead goal during regulation in a 3-2, overtime win at Freehold Township and later with a goal and an assist during a huge Howell second half in a 3-1 win over Holmdel in the SCT semifinals. Candela also scored Howell’s goal in a 1-1 draw vs. Monroe in the Central Group IV semifinals, which ended with the Rebels bowing out on penalties – a bitter ending to the best season the program has had in 15 years.
David Weiner, Jr., Holmdel
2022 Stats: 12 goals, 9 assists
While Kapranov provided most of the fireworks this season with his 18 goals for Holmdel, Weiner was the team’s engine in the midfield. With his ability to battle for 50-50 balls, shake off defenders with the ball at his feet and distribute efficiently, Weiner was one of the Shore’s most well-rounded players. The junior was also won of its most productive midfielders, finishing second in goals and total points among midfielders behind only Manchester’s Joey Kurak (14 goals and five assists).
Weiner’s season should best be remembered for the way he raised his game during the state tournament. Holmdel’s final tune-up before the Group II playoffs was a 2-1 win over Neptune in which Weiner struck for both goals and that proved to be a sign of things to come. He scored a goal in four of Holmdel’s five state-tournament games, including penalty kick conversions in 2-0 wins over Rumson-Fair Haven and Manasquan in the sectional quarterfinals and semifinals. He also was the lone goal-scorer in a 2-1 loss at Delran in the Group II semifinal, where Holmdel’s run ended following its first sectional championship in four years.
Tim Bertscha, Sr., Freehold Township
2022 Stats: 7 goals, 5 assists
While his stats were not robust, Bertscha’s impact on Freehold Township’s repeat in Central Jersey Group IV was profound. One of only three starters back from last year’s Group IV runner-up, Bertscha ran Freehold Township’s midfield and helped the Patriots beat the likes of Rumson-Fair Haven, Wall, Point Pleasant Boro, Marlboro and Middletown North during the regular season, as well as pick up four home victories in the state tournament to help Freehold Township capture a second straight Central Group IV crown.
When Bertscha did score, he made it count. All seven of his goals this season came against either ranked opponents (five of them) or in postseason tournament games (two of them). He scored in statement wins over Rumson, Point Boro and Wall, scored a game-winning goal against Marlboro and sent a showdown with Howell into overtime with a penalty-kick equalizer in the 78th minute. Bertscha later scored a goal in a Shore Conference Tournament win over Raritan and slammed in the golden goal to beat West Windsor-Plainsboro South in the opening round of the NJSIAA Tournament.
R.J. Eckelman, Sr., Howell
2022 Stats: 3 goals, 5 assists
Eckelman was a productive attacking player who mostly played forward during his junior season, when he racked up a team-high 12 assists to go with six goals. This season, Eckelman shifted to center fullback to captain a Howell defense that was, considering the competition it faced, as good as any in the Shore Conference. The Rebels conceded 11 goals in 19 games this season and four of those were in two losses to CBA – the No. 1 team in the state. Eckelman’s defense pitched 11 shutouts in total and four of them came in the Shore Conference and NJSIAA Tournaments. Howell’s run to its first SCT championship game in 15 years also included a 3-1 win over Holmdel in which the Rebels defense clamped down on one of the Shore’s most explosive attacks.
Eckelman also showed he could still finish a goal when needed. The senior scored two of his three goals against two top-four teams in the conference – CBA and Freehold Township. His goal vs. CBA came on a header off a corner kick in the second half of the Shore Conference Tournament final – a game the Rebels reached by winning a penalty kick shootout over Rumson-Fair Haven in the quarterfinals thanks to a clinching penalty shot by Eckelman. The senior captain also supplied assists on goals in state tournament games against New Brunswick and Monroe, the latter of which ended Howell’s season in a shootout following a 1-1 draw.
C.J. Crolius, Sr., Middletown North
2022 Stats: 2 goals, 8 assists
A do-it-all defender for Middletown North’s first Shore Conference Tournament semifinalist in 18 years, Crolius earns himself a second straight All-Shore nod – this time as a first-teamer. His physicality, intuition and skill helped Middletown North post a respectable goals-allowed total (17) over the course of 16 matches against a grueling schedule. He helped spearhead shutout victories over Marlboro and Freehold Township, as well as a resounding, 5-1, regular-season win over Long Branch.
Crolius also had an ability to create scoring out of the back thanks to his proficiency on set pieces – both serving them and getting on the other end of them. He assisted a goal in the Lions’ penalty-kick win over Long Branch in the SCT quarterfinals, then assisted an equalizer in the 65th minute against CBA in the semifinals. One of his two goals came on a penalty kick that decided a 1-0 win at Marlboro early in the season – a crucial win just to get Middletown North into the SCT. Crolius also played the second half of the season while battling through a groin injury and still managed to captain Middletown North to its best SCT showing since 2004.
Max Koczan, Sr., Christian Brothers Academy
2022 Stats: 1 goal, 1 assist
A year after losing the state championships game to a lockdown Seton Hall Prep defense that conceded just six goals during an entire season, CBA returned to the NJSIAA Non-Public A final in 2022 and completed a brilliant defensive season of its own by exacting revenge over the Pirates. As one of three new defensive starters and two new center backs, Koczan was a major figure in the rapid development of a Colts backline that allowed just seven goals over the course of the entire season. CBA gave up a golden goal on opening day in a 1-0 loss to Marlboro and four during its run to the Shore Conference Tournament championship, but permitted just two goals for its opponents during the rest of the schedule.
Koczan and the CBA defense reached their zenith in the NJSIAA Tournament, turning in four straight shutouts to finish the year with 14 clean sheets as a team – good for second in the Shore Conference and especially impressive considering CBA’s loaded schedule. The postseason shutouts included wins over St. John Vianney, Pingry, St. Peter’s Prep and Seton Hall Prep and the Colts also turned in shutout wins over Freehold Township, Delran and Colts Neck at other points of the season. Koczan’s lone goal of the season came in a 4-0 win over SJV in CBA’s first state playoff game and he also added an assist in an early-season win over eventual Non-Public B champion Gill St. Bernard’s.
Noah Jones, Sr., Freehold Township
2022 Stats: 3 goals, 5 assists
Like his classmate and fellow First-Team All-Shore representative Bertscha, Jones returned as one of three starters left over from Freehold Township’s Group IV runner-up and was invaluable in helping this year’s team make the transition from inexperienced starting IX to another championship team at Freehold Township. Jones played in the midfield as a junior, but made the conversion to a central defender for his season and completely shut down the Freehold Township third of the field against some of the Shore’s most potent attacks.
After dropping the season-opener against Middletown South, Freehold Township rattled off eight straight wins while allowing three goals during the entire streak. Even in the streak-busting loss to CBA, the Patriots held the Colts scoreless into overtime and lost the game on a golden goal. One aberration game for Freehold Township’s defense was a 3-2, overtime loss to Howell and in that game, Jones made a major offensive contribution with a goal and an assist to help the Patriots pull even – including the penalty-kick equalizer in the final two minutes of regulation. After slipping past West Windsor-Plainsboro South in the first round, Jones and the Freehold Township defense posted three straight clean sheets on the way to a second straight Central Jersey Group IV title.
Charlie Scanlon, Sr., Howell
2022 Stats: 19 games, 11 goals allowed, 11 shutouts
It’s not always easy for the Shore Conference coaches to agree on the top goalkeeper in the Shore Conference, but Scanlon’s selection as the top keeper in Monmouth County was just about unanimous. The Rebels senior returned off a solid showing as a junior in 2021 and was flat-out spectacular in 2022. He had to face down a plethora of high-scoring attacks and kept them all at bay, particularly when Howell had to go toe-to-toe with the liked of CBA and Freehold Township in the battle for Class A North. He kept the Rebels afloat in both those matches, allowed seven goals in seven A North games and helped Howell win the public division title for the first time since 2011.
Scanlon’s greatest stretch, however, came in the Shore Conference Tournament. Howell overcame a scoring outage in the first two rounds to nevertheless advance to the SCT semifinals thanks to two Scanlon shutouts and two penalty-kick performances by him and the Howell shooters. Scanlon was especially dynamic in a 0-0 quarterfinal vs. Rumson in which he scrambled to make huge save after huge save while facing down a Bulldogs attack that was on its game. One round later, he turned in a dynamic first-half performance against Holmdel and the Howell scoring effort came alive in the second half of a 3-1 win. Howell was strong throughout its formation, but Scanlon’s ability as the team’s safety net opened up the rest of the field on a game-in, game-out basis.