MIDDLETOWN - As much as the Christian Brothers Academy soccer team wanted to start its season on the right foot Wednesday against three-time defending NJSIAA South Jersey Group II champion Delran, the Colts players know the ultimate goal is coming through at the end of the season.

If Wednesday's game was a microcosm of the season, the CBA seniors will leave the Academy in the spring of 2019 very happy.

Senior Jack Gill highlighted a fast start with a goal in the sixth minute and the Colts finished strong with a goal by junior Luke Pascarella to open their season with a 2-0 win over Delran.

CBA senior Jack Gill. (Photo by Paula Lopez)
CBA senior Jack Gill. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

"Delran was a really good opponent to start the season," Gill said. "They were obviously very well-prepared. They made us work for 80 minutes for a win. It took the whole team. It was a great effort all around, getting the shutout on defense. It took 11 guys to get it done today."

While the middle 40 minutes saw Delran mount a serious threat to CBA's one-goal lead, the Colts got off to the kind of start and mounted the kind of finish that players and coaches envision. It was not the ideal performance but considering the opponent, it was the ideal result.

"I asked the boys after the game if this was their best game," CBA coach Tom Mulligan said. "They looked around at each other and said, 'No way, coach.' And it wasn't their best game. The good thing is, it's September 5 and not November 5. There is plenty of room left to improve and the goal for us as a team for the rest of the season is to get better every game."

Gill's opening goal came off a Delran turnover, with Gill picking off a passing, dribbling by a defender and knocking the first goal of the game into the right side netting. The goal marked the payoff of a first 20 minutes dominated by CBA.

After a brief water break at the midway point of the first half, Delran took over both possession and opportunities by ramping up the pressure on the ball throughout the field. The Bears created a handful of chances to draw even, including one in which CBA defender Jack Hempstead stuck his foot in front of a shot right in front of the goal.

"It's funny what can happen in those water breaks," Mulligan said of the agreed-upon break instituted because of the excessive heat at the start of the game. "Our guys came of the feel looking at one another and telling each other, 'Hey great job.' Delran, to their credit, took the opportunity to make an adjustment and managed to put some pressure on us."

Delran continued to apply pressured throughout the early part of the second half while CBA slowly worked itself back into the game. The Colts created more and more chances as the half wore on and broke through with an insurance goal in the 73rd minute on a play that started with Gill, who slipped the ball through the defense to senior Joe Lozowski.

Lozowski fired cross on the ground to Pascarella, who hammered a shot to the upper left part of the goal.

"I just played Joe and the rest was all him and Luke," Gill said of the second goal. "(Lozowski) brought it to the line and put it right on (Pascarella's) foot. From there, it was just a great finish."

CBA nearly added a third goal in the the 76th, but Delran goalkeeper Berkant Haliloglu saved CBA senior Dom Bellomo's shot ticketed for the upper right corner of the goal.

An opener vs. Delran would likely not have been possible in years past because CBA had 14 Shore Conference Class A North divisional games built into the schedule. This year, however, there are only seven divisional game built in and the result is that CBA and other Shore teams have the ability to add non-divisional games to the schedule.

"It was a great first game of the season," Mulligan said. "Delran has an outstanding program and a strong reputation in South Jersey. They accepted an invitation that got thrown out there when a lot of other people didn't so I thank coach (Mike) Otto for bringing his whole program up here to play us."

The revamped schedule could very well keep CBA in the statewide picture throughout the season, but that does not change the Colts' end game. After falling to Delbarton in the NJSIAA Non-Public A final last year, CBA has its sights set on finishing the job and winning the program's second overall state title in three years.

"It's always good to test yourself against the best competition and clearly Delran fits that description," Gill said. "It's going to prepare us for the end of the season, when our goal is to win the Shore Conference (Tournament) and state (tournament). It's a game we can look back on and know we are capable of performing when we need to."


Box Score

CBA 2, Delran 0

Delran (0-1)000
CBA (1-0)112

Goals (Assists): Jack Gill 6', Luke Pascarella (Joe Lozowski) 73'
Shots: CBA, 11-10
Saves: (CBA) Eric Wnorowski 5; (D) Berkant Haliloglu 8


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