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Boys Soccer Preview A North

Those who read this preview every year are probably tired of reading about how Class A North is the best division in the conference, but after a year like last year, it is impossible to observe how good this collection of teams is without bringing it to light. Last season was the second straight year and third time since 2016 in which Class A North accounted for three of the four Shore Conference Tournament semifinalists. Since 2007, Class A North has had three SCT semifinalists five times and both finalists five times as well. No other division has accomplished either even once in that span.

After finishing with the top two teams in the Shore Conference (Christian Brothers Academy and Howell), its seventh-place team as an SCT semifinalist (Middletown North) and the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV champion (Freehold Township), Class A North brings back seven of the eight teams from its 2022 group, with Freehold Boro – which went winless in divisional play – moving to B North. Each of the teams graduated key pieces and some brought back more than others, but all seven will work with a talent base most other high school programs would love to have.

CBA remains the favorite after finishing the 2022 season No. 1 in the state, while the rest of the division eyes the public division title in hopes of getting a chance to knock the Colts off their perch. The way the Shore Conference Tournament is structured this season – with group play interspersed throughout the regular season – Class A North teams are going to have very intense schedules while simultaneously navigating both the division and the group stage of the SCT. All seven teams, though, are built to handle that sort of challenge and when the 22 teams emerge from SCT group play, expect A North to be well-represented.

CBA junior Dimitry Corba. (Photo: Tom Smith |
CBA senior Dimitry Corba. (Photo: Tom Smith |

In predicted order of finish

Christian Brothers Academy

For the third time since 2016, CBA closed out its season with a Non-Public A championship and finished the 2022 season ranked No. 1 in New Jersey for the first time since that 2016 squad went 24-1. The prevailing pattern for CBA over the last decade has been to win their final game one year, lose in either the South Jersey or overall Non-Public A final the next, then win it all again the following year. Since Tom Mulligan took over the program in 2016, CBA has won state titles in 2016, 2018 and 2022 and went 13-0-1 in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. They also lost in the state final in 2015, 2017 and 2021, while the 2019 team lost, 1-0, at St. Augustine in the South Jersey final.

All of that is to say that, while CBA has to replace several All-Shore standouts – including Player of the Year Will Thygeson and First-Teamer Jack D’Eletto – the Colts still figure to be a favorite to win the SCT and to reach the Non-Public A final. Returning striker Dylan Millevoi matched Thygeson with 11 goals and classmate Dimitry Corba matched D’Eletto with 10 assists. Corba will again run CBA’s attack from the center midfield, with returning contributor Cameron D’Alterio also factoring prominently into the front of CBA’s formation.

Returning senior starters Lawrence Mancino and Christian DeOliveira will help CBA maintain its elite defense – one that held opponents to seven goals in 20 games in 2022. Senior goalkeeper Miles Gallagher was a huge part of that as well and after sliding into the starting lineup for injured incumbent Joe Grossman – now with Inter Miami Academy – he enters his senior season of the top returning keepers in the state.

Mulligan will evaluate the formation with new personnel this season, particularly without two dynamic wingers like D’Eletto and Thygeson. Junior Brayden Perry gives the Colts the possibility of a similar look with him and D’Alterio on either wing. Senior John Gambale and junior Phil Bodenski each got a look as midfielders last season and will move into the starting XI, while seniors Dan Dinnell and Sean Galvin will help fortify the defense. It remains to be seen if CBA can overwhelm teams with speed again, but the Colts are still going to boast an athletic, talented group that will be hard for any Shore team to top.

CBA junior Lawrence Mancino. (Photo: Tom Smith |
CBA senior Lawrence Mancino. (Photo: Tom Smith |

CBA at a Glance

Head Coach: Tom Mulligan, eighth season
2022 Record: 19-1 (6-1, first in Class A North)
SCT Group: 1 (Neptune, Pinelands, Jackson Liberty)
NJSIAA Section: South Non-Public A
Key Losses: Will Thygeson (Forward), Jack D’Eletto (Forward), Charlie Paparella (Defense), Max Koczan (Defense), Logan Szuwalski (Midfield), Joe Lucignano (Defense), Joe Grossman (Sr., Goalkeeper)

Projected XI (With 2022 Stats)

Returning Starters in Bold

Dylan Millevoi, Sr., Forward (11 goals, 3 assists)

Cameron D’Alterio, Sr., Midfield/Forward (5 goals, 1 assist)

Brayden Perry, Jr., Midfield/Forward

Dimitry Corba, Sr., Midfield (4 goals, 10 assists)

John Gambale, Sr., Midfield

Phil Bodenski, Jr., Midfield

Dan Dinnell, Sr., Midfield/Defense

Lawrence Mancino, Sr., Defense (4 goals, 2 assists)

Christian DeOliveira, Sr., Defense

Sean Galvin, Sr., Defense

Miles Gallagher, Sr., Goalkeeper (14 shutouts)


Other Key Players

Brandon Ortiz, Jr., Defense

Haro Gueyikian, Jr., Defense

Abraham Hernandez, Jr., Midfield

Dylan Kielb, Sr., Defense

Nate Galinski, Sr., Midfield

Matt McLaughlin, Sr., Midfield

Conor Mellor, Sr., Defense

Owen Wierman, Jr., Midfield

Preston Pierre, Sr., Defense

Charlie Pesce, Sr., Forward

Carlos Cano, Jr., Midfield

Taylor Ryan, Jr., Defense

Nick Vieira, Jr., Midfield

Brendan Millevoi, Jr., Midfield



The high point of Marlboro’s 8-4-4 2022 season came on opening day, when the Mustangs knocked off CBA on a golden goal. At the time, it was a big win over the preseason No. 1 team, but it looks even better after CBA went on to win 19 straight games to claim both SCT and NJSIAA Non-Public A championships. The rest of Marlboro’s season was solid: after dropping to 2-2 with consecutive losses to the Middletown teams, Marlboro rattled off a 6-1-4 record over its next 11 games before ending its season at Freehold Township in the Central Group IV quarterfinals.

That run came while missing standout defender Cooper Laitman for most of the season, which gave coach Ryan Morris a chance to move pieces around and evaluate some potential unexpected contributors. The result is a team that enters 2023 with a good handle on its identity as a dynamic attacking side. Senior Cade Jacobs and junior Trevor Barrett are dangerous and skilled out of the midfield, while Wyatt Oechsner, Ryan Cohen and Yasine Isa are proven finishers at the top of the attack.

Marlboro’s pressing questions are in the back, where junior Nick Bisconti is the lone returning starter. Bisconti will be surrounded by seniors, with Jake Cagnina, Matt Ringel and Avto Geladze in the back and Mark Kotlyar as another midfielder. Arnav Bitla is also a new senior starter who will take over in goal for four-year starter Jake Bono. Marlboro’s depth was a strength last season and should remain one in 2023, but the impact of players like Barrett and Jacobs could take the Mustangs to the next level.

Marlboro junior Cade Jacobs. (Photo: Tom Smith |
Marlboro senior Cade Jacobs. (Photo: Tom Smith |

Marlboro at a Glance

Head Coach: Ryan Morris, sixth season
2022 Record: 8-4-4 (4-3, tied fourth in Class A North)
SCT Group: 4 (Toms River East, Freehold Boro, Barnegat)
NJSIAA Section: Central Group IV
Key Losses: Cooper Laitman (Defense), Miles Richardson (Forward/Midfield), Jake Bono (Goalkeeper), Evan Torillo (Midfield), Zack Laitman (Defense), Logan Simon (Forward), Jake Langella (Jr., Midfield/Forward), Matt Barreira (Midfield), Jake Dunphy (Midfield/Forward)

Projected XI (With 2022 Stats)

Returning Starters in Bold

Wyatt Oechsner, Sr., Forward (4 goals, 4 assists)

Ryan Cohen, Sr., Forward (3 goals, 1 assist)

Yasine Isa, Sr., Forward (2 goals, 1 assist)

Trevor Barrett, Jr., Midfield (2 goals, 3 assists)

Cade Jacobs, Sr., Midfield (4 goals, 1 assist)

Mark Kotlyar, Sr., Midfield

Nick Bisconti, Jr., Defense

Jake Cagnina, Sr., Defense

Matt Ringel, Sr., Defense

Avto Geladze, Sr., Defense

Arnav Bitla, Sr., Goalkeeper


Other Key Players

Luciano Garcia, Jr., Midfield

Vinny Pollifrone, So., Midfield/Defense

Jake Ferraro, So., Defense

Michael Padovano, Sr., Forward

Giorgi Datunaishvili, Fr., Forward

Matt Tannenbaum, Sr., Defense

Steve Scimone, Sr., Defense



Back in 2021, Manalapan answered every challenge in clawing its way to the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals for the first time in six years. Last year was more of a grind, but the Braves did manage to finish .500 while qualifying for both postseason tournaments, which sets them up for a leap forward this season. Anthony Sarkisov was a dominant presence in the middle over the past two seasons, but the supporting cast around the 2023 graduate gelled throughout the season and remains largely intact heading into Thursday’s opener at Howell.

As per usual, Manalapan will be built around its defense, led by seniors Vinny Bright and Travis Butash, as well as junior returning starter Dylan Cassidy. Senior goalkeeper Matteo Paolillo also returns with an All-Shore selection on his résumé, giving the Braves all the necessary ingredients for an airtight goal-prevention outfit.

With only 18 goals in 15 games, Manalapan was an offensively-challenged team in 2022 and will have to rachet up the attack in order to return to the upper-echelon of both the division and the conference. The Braves will have some goal-scoring options up top in junior Jon Luz and seniors Mike Pepe and Ano Anzivino. The trio combined for seven of the 18 goals a year ago and while midfielders Tyler Pylarinos and A.J. DeRosa are skilled facilitators, Manalapan typically leans on its forwards to finish off its attack on the goal. Whatever the offensive output, the Braves have the look of one of the Shore’s top defensive teams and if the scoring ticks up, another deep postseason run should be in Manalapan’s future.

Manalapan at a Glance

Head Coach: Kerry Eisman, ninth season
2022 Record: 7-7-1 (2-4-1, sixth in Class A North)
SCT Group: 5 (Wall, Brick Memorial, St. John Vianney)
NJSIAA Section: Central Group IV
Key Losses: Anthony Sarkisov (Midfield), Jacob Hyams (Defense), Max Dobrych (Forward), Jacob Popper (Goalkeeper)

Projected XI (With 2022 Stats)

Returning Starters in Bold

Jon Luz, Jr., Forward (1 goal, 2 assists)

Mike Pepe, Sr., Forward (3 goals, 1 assist)

Ano Anzivino (3 goals)/ Luca Marano/Steven Bechutsky, Sr., Forwards

Tyler Pylarinos, Sr., Midfield (2 goals, 2 assists)

A.J. DeRosa, Sr., Midfield

Ethan Lustig, So., Midfield/Jason Dumon, So., Midfield

Vinny Bright, Sr., Defense

Travis Butash, Sr., Defense

Dylan Cassidy, Jr., Defense

Jeremy Hocheiser, Sr./Joe Delanzo, Jr./Ethan Dass, Jr., Defense

Matteo Paolillo, Sr., Goalkeeper (2 shutouts)


Other Key Players

Tyler Kats, Sr., Forward (1 goal, 2 assists)

Dylan Friedman, Sr., Forward

Noah Ottenheimer, Sr., Forward

Nick Hefter, Sr., Defense

Jacob Rosenfeld, Sr., Midfield

Mo Ulmasov, Sr., Forward


Middletown North

In most boys soccer seasons at the Jersey Shore, there is a team in Class A North that struggles to finish off games during the regular season that then goes on a tear in the postseason thanks to the iron-sharpening power of the A North schedule. Last year, that team was Middletown North, which won just two divisional games, then stormed all the way to the semifinals of the Shore Conference Tournament. During that ride, the Lions knocked off eventual Central Group IV champion Freehold Township and were tied, 1-1, with CBA before the Colts won it on a banger by D’Eletto in the final two minutes of regulation.

The exciting part of last year’s SCT run for the Lions is that most of the starting lineup is back. Losing All-Shore defender C.J. Crolius and top scorer Mac Colantino leaves Middletown North with two significant roles to fill, but the Lions retain most of the elements that made them a dangerous opponent at the end of 2022. The defense should remain a strength behind versatile junior Ryan Barnao and senior Liam O’Keefe, while senior goalkeeper Landon Terrell is primed for a big season after coming into his own as a junior.

Scoring goals is where Middletown North figures to improve, led by an experienced midfield and a talented forward in junior Josiah Stepney. Seniors Tommy Valinotti, Matt Silva and Travis Soto will run the midfield, with junior Nick Dinella and Cam DelGrosso also playing key roles. Sophomore Paulie Que is also a player to watch after he came in to score the equalizer vs. CBA as a freshman last season. All the familiar faces coupled with some new talented coming up gives coach Eric Morley some additional depth compared to last season – something that should benefit the Lions as they chase after a championship this season.

Middletown North at a Glance

Head Coach: Eric Morley, fourth season
2022 Record: 7-8-1 (2-5, seventh in Class A North)
SCT Group: 10 (Toms River North, Point Beach, Donovan Catholic)
NJSIAA Section: Central Group III
Key Losses: C.J. Crolius (Defense), Mac Colantino (Forward), Nick Dean (Midfield), Andrew Marinelli (Goalkeeper)

Projected XI (With 2022 Stats)

Returning Starters in Bold

Josiah Stepney, Jr., Forward (6 goals, 1 assist)

Paulie Que, So., Forward (1 goal)

Tommy Valinotti, Sr., Midfield (3 assists)

Matt Silva, Sr., Midfield (1 goal, 4 assists)

Nick Dinella, Jr., Midfield (2 goals, 1 assist)

Travis Soto, Sr., Midfield (3 goals, 2 assists)

Jake Isaksen, Sr., Midfield

Cam DelGrosso, So., Midfield

Liam O’Keefe, Sr., Defense

Ryan Barnao, Jr., Defense (5 goals, 1 assist)

Landon Terrell, Sr., Goalkeeper (3 shutouts)


Other Key Players

Christos, Dounis, So., Defense

Ashley Muyambi, Sr., Defense

Anthony Giamanco, Sr., Forward

Kevin Cardella, Sr., Defense

Andy Avram, Sr., Forward

Declan Chenoweth, Jr., Midfield

Aiden Dinella, Jr., Forward

Ethan Kinch, Jr. Midfield

Brody Croce, Jr., Defense

Dylan Croce, Jr., Defense

Greg Boyadjian, Jr., Midfield



While Howell has had some talented teams over the last decade, last year’s team carried the program to a level not seen since a six-year run of excellence came to an end at the conclusion of the 2011 season. In 2022, Howell claimed its first Class A North Public Division championship since 2011, reached the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2010 and made it all the way to the SCT final for the first time since winning it all in 2007. Howell also finished ranked No. 2 in the Shore Conference, their highest end-of-season ranking since 2007.

The Rebels hope to be right back near the top of the Shore Conference this season behind six returning starters, but replacing the group that graduated will be a tall order. J.P. Candela, R.J. Eckelman and goalkeeper Charlie Scanlon were All-Shore First-Teamers in 2022 and Nick Spisak was a Second Team selection. Throw in the emotional leadership of Eckelman and Scanlon in the back and Howell will have a lot to replace in order to reach 2022 levels.

The Rebels should score their fair share of goals thanks to Nick Turturro and Bryce Ocholla, the former of whom led all returning A North players with 12 goals. Senior Marcello Romano and junior John Fiorillo are returning starters looking to increase their activity and output, while senior Aiden Pacheco steps forward as one of the new starting midfielders. Senior Brent Romano and junior Tye Maser return to the back line, with Romano taking on a leadership role as a senior. Pat Martin has big shoes to fill in goal, but just needs to be steady for Howell to stay in the A North hunt again this season. With an early SCT group-play game vs. Holmdel mixed in with the A North schedule, there won’t be much time for Howell to adjust, but the Rebels should be a dangerous team once the season is win-or-go-home in late October.

Howell sophomore Nick Turturro. (Photo: Tom Smith |
Howell junior Nick Turturro. (Photo: Tom Smith |

Howell at a Glance

Head Coach: Rich Yuro, 32nd season
2022 Record: 13-3-3 (5-2, second in Class A North)
SCT Group: 2 (Holmdel, Manchester, Central)
NJSIAA Section: Central Group IV
Key Losses: R.J. Eckelman (Defense), Nick Spisak (Midfield), J.P Candela (Midfield), Charlie Scanlon (Goalkeeper), Gavin Soutar (Defense)

Projected XI (With 2022 Stats)

Returning Starters in Bold

Nick Turturro, So., Forward (12 goals, 3 assists)

Marcello Romano, Sr., Forward

Bryce Ocholla, Sr., Forward (5 goals, 1 assist)

John Fiorillo, Jr., Midfield (1 goal, 2 assists)

Aiden Pacheco, Sr., Midfield

Tyler Borenstein, Jr., Midfield/Nick Mustacchio, Jr., Midfield

Brent Romano, Sr., Defense

Tye Maser, Jr., Defense

David Merino, Sr., Defense

Evan Tomek, Sr., Defense

Pat Martin, Sr., Goalkeeper


Other Key Players

Kam Brown, Jr., Forward

Quinn Mills, Jr., Defense

Eric Pray, Jr., Defense

Max Roco, Jr., Defense


Middletown South

Middletown South was the rare Class A North team that fared better within the division than it did outside of it in 2022. The Eagles climbed to third in the division standings last season – one point away from sharing the public division championship with Howell – but went just 3-6 in games outside the division. Three of those losses came against teams that are also in Group 6 of the Shore Conference Tournament, so Middletown South will be out for revenge when it plays Rumson-Fair Haven and Ocean during the group stage. Rumson beat the Eagles twice last season by a cumulative score of 5-0 – including once in the SCT quarterfinals – while Ocean knocked Middletown South out of the Central Jersey Group III Tournament.

The Eagles will center their attack around All-Shore forward Shawn McCann, who is recovering from a preseason foot injury and could potentially be somewhat limited to open the season. Sophomore Luke Strada and junior Matto Niglio also return to the lineup, with Strada playing up front with McCann and Niglio operating in the middle. Middletown South should also defend the net thanks to the return of senior defenders Ryan Denery and Will Welsh, as well as senior goalkeeper J.T. Anderson.

Five players are pushing into Middletown South’s optimal starting XI along with McCann, Niglio, Stada, Renery, Welsh and Anderson and that group is likely the determining factor in Middletown South’s success this season. Justin and Dylan Sibilia will be part of the attack along with senior Dom Lupu, while Chris Plessing and sophomore Brett Denery round out the defense. It might be a lot to ask of this group, but last year’s team saw dramatic improvement from 2021 in coach Dan Riverso’s second year. Throw in a player like McCann as a gamebreaker and the Eagles could still climb even higher.

Middletown South junior Shawn McCann. (Photo provided by Middletown South boys soccer)
Middletown South senior Shawn McCann. (Photo provided by Middletown South Boys Soccer)

Middletown South at a Glance

Head Coach: Dan Riverso, third season
2022 Record: 7-8-1 (4-2-1, third in Class A South)
SCT Group: 6 (Rumson-Fair Haven, Ocean, Lakewood, Keyport)
NJSIAA Section: Central Group III
Key Losses: Alex Soto (Midfield), Marcelo Soto (Defense), Lucas Mielnikiewicz (Defense), Olli Muniz (Midfield), Chris Medina (Forward), Zach Archibald (Goalkeeper), Ray Anichino (Midfield/Forward)

Projected XI (With 2022 Stats)

Returning Starters in Bold

Shawn McCann, Sr., Forward (11 goals, 6 assists)

Luke Strada, So., Forward (1 goal, 2 assists)

Dylan Sibilia, Jr., Midfield/Forward

Matteo Niglio, Jr., Midfield (3 goals)

Dom Lupu, Sr., Midfield

Justin Sibilia/Quinn Pipercic, Sr., Midfield

Ryan Denery, Sr., Defense

Will Welsh, Sr., Defense

Chris Plessing, Sr., Defense

Brett Denery, So., Defense

J.T. Anderson, Sr., Goalkeeper


Other Key Players

Bernard Mann, Sr., Defense

Tommy DiLouie, Sr., Forward/Midfield

Gian Luca Zito, So., Forward/Midfield


Freehold Township

It is hard to hit the publish button on a post asserting that Freehold Township will finish last in Class A North, because based on the Patriots’ history, this prediction is going to look misguided in two months. Freehold Township has been, arguably, the most consistently excellent program in the Shore Conference for the last two decades, going 19 straight seasons qualifying for both the Shore Conference and NJSIAA Tournaments – by far the longest active streak in the conference. The Patriots are coming off a season in which, under first-year coach Mike Tepedino, they won their second straight Central Jersey Group IV championship and fourth since 2011 while sporting a lineup that returned only three starters from the previous year.

For the second straight season, Freehold Township returns only three starters from a sectional championship team. To put it in simple terms, Freehold Township has done this before. Graduation has never stopped the Patriots, so why should it this year? Seniors Victor Torres and Alessandro Principato delivered big goals in key minutes throughout the season and will be leaned upon to help the newest additions to the lineup make the transition. Junior Mike Gorman, meanwhile, returns to lead the defense after playing an integral role within a unit that conceded just 16 times in 21 matches.

The challenge Freehold Township faces is that this division is so good with so much experience. The Patriots have more to replace than any other team in the field, both with respect to numbers in the lineup and the percentage of their 2022 scoring. Juniors Vin Brandon and Jackson Klein are potential team leaders in goal-scoring, while classmate Nate Reiser moves into a starting midfield spot. Tepedino will work in a talented, versatile sophomore group that will impact both the midfield and the back line, while senior Nate Furie takes over in goal with the hope of following in Freehold Township’s tradition of excellent goalkeepers. It could very well be that Freehold Township indeed labors to a seventh-place finish in the standings, but if that happens, keep in mind that the seventh-place team in Class A North last season reached the SCT semifinal. In this division, no accomplishment would be a surprise, especially when it comes to Freehold Township.

Freehold Twp. at a Glance

Head Coach: Mike Tepedino, second season
2022 Record: 14-7 (4-3, tied fourth in Class A North)
SCT Group: 3 (Manasquan, St. Rose, Raritan)
NJSIAA Section: Central Group IV
Key Losses: Tim Bertscha (Midfield), Noah Jones (Defense), Kevin Kuriakose (Defense), Aidan Englander (Forward), Tyler Santos (Midfield), Jake Visco (Forward), Kyle Chalfin (Defense), Jack Goldsmith (Goalkeeper), Danny Earhart (Defense)

Projected XI (With 2022 Stats)

Returning Starters in Bold

Victor Torres, Sr., Forward (2 goals, 6 assists)

Jackson Klein, Jr., Forward

Vin Brando, Jr., Forward (2 goals)

Alessandro Principato, Sr., Midfield (3 goals, 5 assists)

Nate Reiser, Jr., Midfield

Gino Castaneda, So., Defense/Midfield

Sebastian Polo, So., Defense/Midfield

Caine Massey, So., Defense/Midfield

Michael Gorman, Jr., Defense (1 goal, 2 assists)

Bobby Lockard, So., Defense

Nate Furie, Sr., Goalkeeper


Other Key Players

Gianfranco Marchiano, Sr., Defense/Midfield

Klaud Martyna, Jr., Goalkeeper

Gabriel Bormolini, So., Midfield/Forward

Vincent DiUbaldi, Sr., Defense/Midfield/Forward


Class A North Starting XI

Dylan Millevoi, CBA

Shawn McCann, Middletown South

Nick Turturro, Howell

Dimitry Corba, CBA

Trevor Barrett, Marlboro

Cade Jacobs, Marlboro

Lawrence Mancino, CBA

Ryan Barnao, Middletown North

Vinny Bright, Manalapan

Christian DeOliveira, CBA

Miles Gallagher, CBA (GK)


Class A North Breakouts to Watch

Josiah Stepney, Jr., Forward, Middletown North

Vin Brando, Jr., Forward, Freehold Twp.

A.J. DeRosa, Sr., Midfield, Manalapan

Matteo Niglio, Jr., Midfield, Middletown South

John Fiorillo, Jr., Howell

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