Boys Soccer SCT Bracket

NEPTUNE – Senior Brendan Barcas and his Wall boys soccer teammates expected to win championships from the moment they were varsity players, and after falling a win short of fulfilling that goal last year, they have a second chance to finish off a title thanks to a second chance by Barcas on Thursday night.

The senior center midfielder followed up his own miss in the third minute of overtime and stuck the golden goal in the back of the net to give No. 4 Wall a nail-biting, 1-0 win over 25th-seeded St. John Vianney in the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals at Memorial Athletic Complex.

Wall will play for its first SCT championship in history against No. 11 Freehold Township on Saturday night at Memorial Athletic Complex in its first appearance in the final since 1998.

Wall players pile onto Brendan Barcas after his game-winning goal in overtime defeated St. John Vianney, 1-0, Thursday in the SCT semifinals. (Photo by Matt Manley)

“This was a goal for our team from the beginning of the year,” Barcas said. “We knew it was going to be a battle tonight, and we were ready to battle. They (Vianney) were tough. They didn’t play like a 25 seed and it’s easy to see why they made it this far.”

The Crimson Knights created little danger around the St. John Vianney goal during the 80 minutes of regulation, but Barcas finally shook free early in overtime. Senior Joe Tashjy played Barcas through by head-flicking a free kick by senior Matt DeGenova to give Barcas a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. St. John Vianney senior goalkeeper Andrew Zimms saved Barcas’ first shot. After it shot past him, Barcas recovered the ball, split two defenders and fired the game-winning shot into the back of the net.

“I probably should have made the first shot,” Barcas said. “It was a pretty good look and I just didn’t hit it right. Fortunately, it came back in my direction and when I saw I had another chance, I made sure I put it in.”

Barcas did come close to giving Wall a 1-0 lead in the second half when he headed Zach Hetzel’s corner kick on frame. Zimms saved the shot, which then hit the crossbar, followed by the football crossbar and dropped into the net.

Wall held off a number of dangerous runs from the Lancers, although like the Crimson Knights, the number of dangerous shots was limited. Senior forward and leading scorer Alex Politi took five shots, including two on goal against Wall goalkeeper Jack Wishart. Politi scored three goals in the first three St. John Vianney SCT games and put pressure on the Wall defense early in the game. Wishart withstood that pressure and earned his 12th shutout of the season in goal by saving three shots.

St. John Vianney’s run came to an end after the Lancers became the highest numbered seed to ever advance to the semifinals. After entering the tournament with a 6-5 record – 7-5 after a win over Rumson-Fair Haven on the day after the cutoff – St. John Vianney found its scoring touch with eight goals in its first three tournament games before running into Wall’s defense on Thursday.

“If we took anything from this run, it’s that we found out how effective we can be when we just play simple,” St. John Vianney coach Brian Grimm said. “I don’t think we lost the ball on the dribble more than four times tonight because our guys just didn’t try to do too much. We didn’t win the game, but we created opportunities and we were one finish away from maybe moving on. It’s very encouraging going into the state tournament.”

The Crimson Knights have not won a tournament championship since winning the NJSIAA Group III title in 2004, and they nearly ended that drought last year when they took Allentown to overtime in the Central Jersey Group III final. The Redbirds prevailed, 2-1, in overtime thanks to a late-second-half penalty kick by Allentown to tie the game. Saturday’s championship game will be the second in as many years for these Crimson Knights.

“We’ve never won one and we always tell the kids, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to be the first ones?’” Wall coach Garry Linstra said. “They’ve got a great opportunity on Saturday night.”


Box Score

Wall 1, St. John Vianney 0 (OT)





St. John Vianney (10-6)





Wall (14-3-2)





Goals (Assists): (W) B. Barcas 83’
Shots: St. John Vianney, 9-8
Saves: (SJV) Zimms 4; (W) Wishart 3