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TINTON FALLS - The Christian Brothers Academy soccer team sat home for two weeks while almost every other team in the state was beginning their 2020 season.

Multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the student body prompted a shutdown of the campus from Sept. 25 to Oct. 8, leaving all CBA athletes - including the Colts' No. 4-ranked team in the Shore Sports Network Boys Soccer Top 10 - without a chance to even practice together as the season opened, let alone play a game together.

From the looks of it, these Colts respond well to an impromptu quarantine vacation.

CBA has been back together for only five days and has already won twice, including an impressive 3-1 win Tuesday over No. 1 Freehold Township on the turf at the Capelli Complex.

CBA sophomore Will Thygeson defended by Freehold Township senior Josh Leonetti. (Photo by Paula Lopez)
CBA sophomore Will Thygeson defended by Freehold Township senior Josh Leonetti. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

"We have been talking about this game for a while," said CBA senior defender Jack Longo, a third-year starter who is now 3-0 in his career vs. Freehold Township. "We were ranked fourth in the Shore (Sports Network) Top 10 and they were one, so we had some fire coming into this game. We had time off but a bunch of us seniors were playing together, getting fit and running. The juniors were playing together, the sophomores were playing together - we just came ready."

The end-game stats showed a competitive game between the two Class A North rivals but the Colts were dominant through the first 60 minutes. The score was tied, 1-1, early in the second half when CBA again broke the tie on a goal by senior Tommy Glynn in the 49th minute.

Just 47 seconds after Glynn headed in junior Jake Homowitz's corner kick, senior Shane Borenius earned a penalty kick by drawing a foul in the box and senior Brett Sieg converted the chance for a 3-1 lead.

While the shots finished 15-7 in favor of CBA, the difference was 15-3 shortly after the midway point of the second half. Freehold Township earned 10 corner kicks in the final 20 minutes while trying to claw back and finished with 13 for the game.

Tuesday also marked the second time in two games - CBA beat Rumson-Fair Haven, 3-0, on Saturday - in which CBA got off the a fast start and conceded possession and shots over the final 20 minutes. The Colts are still building up their collective fitness and had comfortable leads by the time each game reached those final 20 minutes.

"We were subbing in and out all game, a little more than we usually do," Sieg said. "We had some guys get injured. They put a lot of pressure on us because they have a lot of good athletes on their team and kids were just coming in and out and finding ways to help us when they were out there."

CBA's strong start bought the Colts a 1-0 lead on Freehold Township on the lone goal of the game that came during the run of play. Sieg played a touch pass over the back line and sophomore Will Thygeson ran it down before drilling a left-footed shot to the far right corner of the goal in the 14th minute.

"Our forwards and out outside mids made it easy on our center mids to find those passes that were getting us those chances," Sieg said. "They were making great off-ball runs and it was just confusing the defense and it was easy to find those passes when the midfielders and forwards are working together like that."

Freehold Township answered in the 19th when 6-foot-5 senior Joe Lardaro flicked a Shane O'Malley throw-in with his head and junior Aidan Szymanski fired a six-yard shot into the back of the net.

CBA racked up its 15 total shots and eight shots on goal despite Freehold Township goading the Colts into offsides violations throughout the match. Sieg had a goal disallowed in the first five minutes of the second half, but the Colts stayed with their attack. Ultimately it took a corner kick and a penalty kick to create the finishes that made the difference.

"It felt good to get one like that," Glynn said. "I just saw the ball come up on our line so I just went up and headed it and it went in."

"We still wanted to play our game with the one-and-two-touch, but we just had another kick in us to try to get another goal," Longo said. "Me and Brett, as captains were telling the guys to remain calm and don't panic because (Freehold Township) had that fire coming towards us once they tied it."

With Tuesday's win, CBA's has won its last three showdowns with Freehold Township and eight of the last nine between the two Class A North rivals. Last year, Freehold Township won the Class A North divisional title and the Shore Conference Tournament championship, with its lone defeat within Class A North coming in the form of a 4-2 loss at CBA.

Freehold Township will get another crack at CBA on Thursday, when the teams are scheduled to meet in Freehold.

"We can go to practice tomorrow and talk about what they did well and what we didn't do well," Sieg said. "It will be good to address it right away while it's fresh in our memory instead of having to wait until later when we probably won't remember it as well."


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