FREEHOLD BORO - The Freehold Boro boys soccer team played arguably its best game of the season against the No. 1 seed in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III sectional playoffs.

That was back on Sept. 16 and a month-and-a-half later, the Colonials are hoping to regain that form now that there is a championship at stake.

Freehold Boro - the No. 8 seed in Central Jersey Group III - beat No. 9 Lakewood Tuesday, 3-1, to earn a quarterfinal trip to play top-seeded Ocean for a second time this year.

Freehold Boro senior Jake Brower. (Photo by Paula Lopez)
Freehold Boro senior Jake Brower. (Photo by Paula Lopez)

"I don't think our guys were looking past this game at all," Freehold Boro fifth-year coach Anthony Sessa said. "We haven't won a state tournament game in a while, so these guys were excited for the opportunity to play at home, probably for one last time, and to play a good team with a chance to do something they haven't done as a group."

Back on the second Saturday of the season, Freehold Boro handed Ocean its first loss of the season and it was a resounding one. The Colonials rolled over the Spartans, 5-1, in Freehold and will try to replicate that performance as best they can on Ocean's turf.

Heading into the tournament, Freehold Boro was focused simply on winning a postseason game, which the Colonials had not previously done under Sessa and not as a program since 2011. With an 0-3-1 record in its last four games prior to Tuesday, Freehold had to right the ship against the Piners in order to get a shot to knock off the Spartans for a second time.

"We're coming into the tournament just looking to find some consistency and play our best soccer," Sessa said. "It's been there in spurts for us, but we haven't really been able to keep it up for more than a couple of games. I think we have a pretty good team and if we play the way we're capable of playing, I think we can make a run."

Senior Jake Brower both started and capped the scoring for the home team on Tuesday, converting a penalty kick in the 34th minute and finishing a pass from junior Jake Mostowsky in the 70th that made the score 3-0.

Junior Abel Herrera drew the penalty kick in the 34th minute to set up Brower's first goal and Mostowsky slid a diagonal pass to the far left post, where Brower ran onto it and tapped it in.

Junior Isaac Ball gave Freehold a 2-0 lead in the 47th with an 8-yard rip off a long diagonal pass over the top of the Lakewood back line by senior Alex Mayorga.

Lakewood senior Japhet Compollo broke up the shutout in the 76th when he took away the ball in the Freehold defensive third and knocked it past keeper Brendan Duffy.

Duffy made a leaping save on a shot by Jorge Diaz in the eighth minute to deny Lakewood' best chance prior to scoring in the final five minutes.

Freehold will now try to beat Ocean again when the Colonials travel to Ocean Township on Friday. Spartans junior forward Santieno Harding was dealing with a knee injury in that game and will be closer to 100 percent on Friday - one of many things Sessa and his team are keeping in mind in order to be totally prepared for an Ocean team that will be out for revenge.

"We scored first in that game and were able to go from there," Sessa said. "If we don't finish early, who knows how that game goes? It's been almost two months since we played them, so we're both different teams now. It's nice to know we have beaten them already, but they know that too, so they will be ready. If we play our game, I think we can compete with anybody in this tournament, so that's what we're going to try to do."


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