Boys Soccer – CBA Beats Seton Hall Prep, Captures Non-Public A Title
UNION - Christian Brothers Academy senior center back Scott Misson not only had Nov. 13 - the date of Sunday's NJSIAA Non-Public A championship game - engrained in his head all season long but he remembers the specific date on which he and his teammates circled it on the calendar.
"We got together on April 16th," Misson said. "We looked at the calendar and we said, 'November 13th. That's the day we become champs.'"
Misson and his nine fellow seniors in the Colts starting lineup made good on their promise Sunday by beating Seton Hall Prep, 1-0, to cap a record-setting season for the program and win the school's sixth Non-Public A title in boys soccer.
"I can't be any happier for them than I am now," first-year head coach Tom Mulligan said of his players. "The final horn blew and I turned to my assistant, Jeff Matson - who has been a tremendous asset to me on the bench - and we just said, 'Look at the kids. Look at how happy they are.'
"That's why we do this: just to see the joy in their faces and to see them celebrate with each other. It's a special feeling."
Senior Matt Thorsheim scored the winning goal early in the 73rd minute on a pass from senior Matt Mawson, breaking a scoreless draw and adding another in a long list of crucial playoff goals in his four-year career.
"We're not the most athletic team in all aspects but soccer is a game of thinking," said Thorsheim, a four-year starter, reigning Shore Sports Network Player of the Year and Bucknell recruit. "We have a bunch of smart players on this team and we showed that today."
While Thorsheim became the offensive hero for CBA in that one moment, Misson was the defensive man of the match for the work he did for the entire 72 minutes leading up to that goal. Misson was assigned to mark Pirates leading scorer and Indiana University recruit Mason Toye and the CBA senior - who is uncommitted - held the state player of the year candidate to one shot on goal in the first half.
"I heard big things about (Toye) going in," Misson said. "To get a chance to play him in the finals, I was definitely amped up to have him one-on-one the whole game."
Most of Toye's touches came with his back to goal and on long balls over the top of the midfield, Misson was able to push Toye toward the corners and hold him until junior John Askin could provide support. Toye's lone shot was midway through the first half from a difficult angle on the right side of the goal - a shot that goalkeeper Aeden Boriotti handled.
Misson's effort in the back has been a staple of the CBA season. Not only did he shutout Marlboro senior P.J. Ringel (21 goals) twice this year - including once in the Shore Conference Tournament final - but he was also absent in CBA's lone loss of the season. A red card against Manalapan on Oct. 17 cost him a chance to play in the Oct. 19 game against Marlboro and Ringel scored two goals in a 3-1 Mustangs win. Misson returned 10 days later to earn his vindication in CBA's 2-0 win over the Mustangs in the SCT final.
"Scotty Misson is an athlete and Scotty Misson is a leader," Mulligan said. "You can't ask for anything more from a high school senior and a captain. He's a silent leader in the back - we've always wanted him to speak up and be more vocal - but his actions speak volumes.
"I think (Seton Hall Prep) might have some nightmares about Scotty Misson. I think he frustrated their superstar, and they definitely have a superstar on their sideline."
With Misson shadowing Toye for nearly the entire game, the Colts hammered away on the other end of the field for more than 70 minutes before finally breaking through. Seton Hall Prep nearly broke the ice in the 67th minute after finally pushing numbers forward, but after the Pirates could not cash in, the Colts build up one last offensive push with more space with which to work.
"I think (Seton Hall) tried to turn the game into a direct, physical contest," Mulligan said. "The instruction from the sideline was consistent, as it has been all year: to play the game the way that we know how to play the game. They had a little run of play there with some long balls and some physical play and some calls that went their way, but once we withstood that little burst of pressure, I think the team that played the best soccer tonight won the game."
In the final seconds of the 72nd minute, Mawson won the ball in the middle of the field and carried it between the hashes before sliding it to his left for Thorsheim. The senior took a touch toward the near post and slammed a left-footed shot past Seton Hall goalkeeper Liam Bertrand with 7:58 remaining on the game clock.
"We knew somebody was going to break through for one," Thorsheim said. "We had been playing well all game and we moved the ball so well in the first half. We knew that that chance we needed was going to come. Fortunately, it came to me and I was really happy to take it."
In his four years at CBA, Thorsheim has delivered several memorable goals in key situations for the Colts. He scored a golden goal in the NJSIAA Tournament as a freshman against Donovan Catholic, beat Manalapan in the Shore Conference Tournament with a late second-half goal last year and did the same to St. Augustine in the South Jersey Group IV title game last year as well.
This year, he finished as the leading scorer on the Shore's No. 1 team with 14 goals and 22 assists, including the final score of the season.
"That's Matt Thorsheim," Mulligan said. "What a tremendous career. Freshman year, sophomore year, junior year, senior year. To cap it off with a state final goal, you can't say enough about Matt Thorsheim. He's a special player and a special kid and he'll go down in CBA soccer history as one of the all-time special players, without a doubt."
Seton Hall's uphill climb in the final 7:58 got much steeper when Toye drew a straight red card with 5:41 left to play for throwing an elbow while challenging CBA senior defender Colin Lankau for the ball. That officially capped CBA's effort to neutralize Seton Hall Prep's most dangerous scoring threat.
"Everybody's knows about Mason," Mulligan said. "He's a special player in this state, without question. I received several contacts regarding film of Seton Hall Prep and I told anybody that contacted me, 'Thank you, but no thank you.' I'm not worried about watching Seton Hall Prep play Delbarton or some other team. I'm worried about Christian Brothers Academy and how we play and that was my only focus tonight and for the entire year. Not the opposition."
The Pirates controlled the ball for most of the final five minutes, but CBA kept them at bay and ran out the clock on a 24-win, championship season.
CBA's players savored the win Sunday after losing in last year's Non-Public A final to Delbarton, which was the Green Wave's fourth consecutive overall group championship after losing to CBA in the 2011 final. That game was the last in the 38-year coaching career of Dan Keane and Sunday's game was the last for his longtime assistant, Matson. With a deep class of returning seniors, Matson stayed on board to help Mulligan with this particular group.
The 24 wins this year set a single-season school record and the team's 86 goals were also the most any CBA team has ever scored - topping the 21-0 team from 2011 by two goals. The 2011 squad was the last to bring a state title back to the Academy and secured the only perfect season in CBA history.
CBA 1, Seton Hall Prep 0
|Seton Hall Prep (19-3-2)||0||0||0|
Goal (Assist): (CBA) Matt Thorsheim (Matt Mawson) 73'
Shots: CBA, 9-5
Saves: (CBA) Aeden Boriotti 3; (SH) Liam Bertrand 0