LANOKA HARBOR - Pinelands junior Dominic Dos Santos had never recorded a varsity hat trick prior to his team's Shore Conference Class B South match vs. Lacey on Monday.

By the 24th minute, Dos Santos had his first hat trick and added another goal in the second half for good measure to spark the Wildcats - No. 3 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 - to a dominant 6-1 win over Lacey on Monday.

Pinelands has won eight straight games to open the season its stranglehold on first place in B South grows stronger by the day. The Wildcats hold a two-game lead on second-place Lakewood, which Pinelands beat 6-0 during the first week of the season and plays on Wednesday.

"We thought we had a pretty good team, but we weren't really thinking about being 8-0 or going undefeated," Dos Santos said. "We just thought we could maybe win a division title and make a run in the state tournament. We still want to do that, but starting 8-0, that's obviously great."

Dos Santos has scored six of his 11 goals this season over the last two games, the first of which was a 3-1 win over Barnegat on Thursday. On Monday, he opened the scoring with a perfect 20-yard strike that he one-timed off the bottom of the crossbar. The ball bounced straight down, back up off the bar again and over the endline to break open the scoring in the third minute.

He beat a defender to a ball by junior Aniello Lubrano in the 13th and popped it over Lacey goalkeeper Ryan Giles for his second goal. Dos Santos capped the first-half scoring in the 24th when he flicked a headball to the far right corner of the goal on service into the box by junior Kieran Sundermann.

"I would say I've improved a lot on my finishing," said Dos Santos, who scored two goals as a sophomore last year. "I knew that had to be an area I improved in coming into this year. I probably could have had a few more goals last year if I was better at finishing, so I really tried to focus on that."

Dos Santos left the game early in the second half after taking an elbow to the back of his head, but just three minutes after coming back into the game, he struck for his fourth goal. Lubrano served a corner kick to the middle of the box and after wiggling free, Dos Santos slammed an uncontested header into the goal in the 61st minute to extend the Pinelands lead to 4-1.

Lubrano later scored on a diving header, set up by a well-place free kick by Sundermann to the back right post. Sundermann then got into the act with a 78th-minute penalty kick to cap the scoring.

Lacey did put up a fight early in the second half, with senior Kevin Miller cutting the deficit to 3-1. Senior Riley Hunt cross the ball from right to left and junior Matt Irizarry knocked it back toward the middle of the box. Miller gathered it and ripped the ball into the right corner of the netting in the 45th minute.

The Lions had a chance to make it 3-2 in the 50th, but Pinelands senior Logan Johnson denied Hunt when the senior had a clean look at the goal from eight yards out on the right side.

Not only has Pinelands separated from the rest of B South in the standings, but the Wildcats have overwhelmed the best teams in the division. Against the four teams directly behind the Wildcats in the standings (Lakewood, Point Boro, Lacey and Barnegat), Pinelands owns a 19-3 goal differential.

"We're definitely looking at the big picture," Dos Santos said. "We want to finish strong and win a division title, then we want get ready to make a run in the Shore Conference Tournament and the state tournament. I think with the way we've been playing, we can be pretty dangerous."


Box Score

Pinelands 6, Lacey 1

Lacey (4-3, 4-3)011
Pinelands (8-0, 7-0)336

Goals (Assists): (P) Dom Dos Santos (Kieran Sundermann) 3', Dom Dos Santos (Aniello Lubrano) 13', Dom Dos Santos (Kieran Sundermann) 24', Dom Dos Santos (Aniello Lubrano) 61', Aniello Lubrano (Kieran Sundermann) 69', Kieran Sundermann (PK) 78'; (L) Kevin Miller (Matt Irizarry)
Shots: Pinelands, 23-15
Saves: (P) Logan Johnson 6; (L) Ryan Giles 6


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