Boys Soccer – Defense Leads CBA to Second Straight SCT Crown
BAYVILLE - Every single Christian Brothers Academy soccer player was practically foaming at the mouth to face the one team that beat them this season and the Colts got their chance against Marlboro in Saturday's Shore Conference Tournament championship game at Central Regional High School.
One Colt, in particular however, was especially eager to face the Mustangs on Saturday night and he proved it on the field.
Scott Misson - who sat out CBA's loss to Marlboro 10 days earlier because of a red card from the previous game - led a suffocating defensive effort and fellow center back John Askin contributed a goal as the CBA back four stole the show in a 2-0 win over the Mustangs.
The championship is the second straight for CBA and the 10th overall for the program - nine of which are outright titles.
"It meant the absolute world to me to get another shot because this was the finals," Misson said. "Especially against these guys (Marlboro), who we definitely want to play. It's the best feeling in the world."
Misson drew a red card in the final minute of a 5-0 win against Manalapan two days prior to the loss to Marlboro and had to serve the requisite two-game suspension.
"I can't describe how much it hurt to have to watch us lose, especially since we had our mind set on trying to have a perfect season," Misson said. "To see our team fall and knowing I was leaving a big hole in our defense was tough and I definitely wanted another chance to help the team win."
CBA fell victim to two goals by Marlboro senior P.J. Ringel in the 3-1 loss on Oct. 19, but responded by keeping him under wraps on Saturday. Misson's presence made the difference this time around and with their leader back in the fold, the Colts forced Marlboro to create what few threats it had via throws, free kicks and corners. Goalkeeper Aeden Boriotti saved two shots - both on those set pieces - to help his cause in the shutout.
"We know P.J. Ringel is one of the most athletic and talented strikers in the Shore Conference," Misson said. "It was our job to defend him first. They like to play him through balls and give it to him in the air, so we just had to have a body on him at all times."
"We learned the hard way that athleticism was a big part of their game and we really had to take note of that," CBA senior Matt Mawson said. "We really had to hold down P.J. and their center backs are really athletic as well. We had to keep the ball on the ground offensively and we tried to keep the ball out of the air for them."
The defense was rewarded in the 55th minute with the score already 1-0 in favor of CBA. Senior Ryan Nigro took a free kick from 25 yards out and initiated a set play by sliding the ball to senior right back Tom Judge heading toward the endline. Judge slid a firm cross on the ground toward the goal and his fellow defender, Askin, finished the play off by poking it into the net.
"Earlier in the first half, coach (Tom Mulligan) told me, 'Go up. Get a goal,'" Askin said. "I didn't get it then, but I had a feeling I was going to get one tonight. Judge made a great run and played a perfect cross and all I had to do was knock it in."
In a starting lineup that features 10 seniors, Askin is the lone junior of the 11. He is one of three players in the starting lineup that saw significant increase in minutes this season and in Askin's case, it was a jump from the varsity bench to the spotlight of playing for one of the top teams in N.J.
"I couldn't ask for a better group of kids to play with," Askin said. "All these guys work hard and we push each other. It's sad they won't be around next year, but it just makes us want to enjoy this year."
CBA opened the scoring in the 15th minute on a textbook give-and-go between Mawson and fellow senior Patrick Kollman. Mawson fed Kollman, who gave the ball right back to Mawson off an overlap. The senior beat one defender and tucked a low, left-footed shot into the left corner of the goal.
Mawson - who scored a goal and two assists in Thursday's semifinal win over Toms River North - nearly added a second goal late in the second half, but Marlboro keeper James Weinberg delivered one of his four saves by stuffing the low strike.
Marlboro's last Shore Conference title came in 2009, when the Mustangs became the first and only team to beat CBA in an SCT final. CBA led that game, 1-0, at halftime as well, so while the Mustangs trailed at half on Saturday, the script was a familiar one for coach Dave Santos.
"I think (the loss) kept the team really tuned in and focused tonight," said Mulligan, who is in his first year as the head coach of the CBA varsity team. "They were focused for the whole eighty minutes. We defended for eighty minutes and we attacked for eighty minutes."
CBA would not let history repeat itself however, as the Colts relegated Marlboro to playing long balls to Ringel and forcing them to play for set pieces to create chances. It was a far cry from the two regular-season meetings, the first of which ended with a 1-0 CBA win in overtime. Ringel nearly won that game in regulation with a breakaway opportunity and later made CBA pay in the second meeting between the teams.
After winning its second straigth SCT title, CBA will prepare to make its pitch for a state championship for the first time since going 21-0 in 2011.
"We have a great group of seniors," Mawson said. "Everyone works so hard and we're also talented. I just love playing on this team and I want to keep it going."
CBA 2, Marlboro 0
Goals (Assists): (CBA) Matt Mawson (Patrick Kollman) 15', John Askin (Tom Judge) 56'
Shots: CBA, 8-3
Saves: (M) James Weinberg 4; (CBA) Aeden Boriotti 2