Boys Soccer – Golden Goal Gives Ocean Coach Tom Reilly 400th Win
MANASQUAN - Ocean boys soccer coach Tom Reilly admittedly might be a little more reserved now than when he first began his head coaching career 32 years ago, but he still enjoys wins like the ones his Spartans pulled out Wednesday, especially when they represent a career milestone.
Junior Steve Carton's challenge on a cross by senior Ivan Molina led to an own goal in the 12th minute of overtime, giving Ocean - the No. 5 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 - a win over No. 8 Manasquan, 1-0, in extra time and Reilly his 400th career victory.
"I remember 200 and 300, although I don't remember 100 because I was too young to care about it," Reilly recounted. "Two hundred was against CBA in the Shore Conference Tournament and 300 was against St. Rose in a regular-season game. I'm sure I'll remember this one: an overtime winner against Manasquan."
After 90 minutes during which neither team put much of a scare in the other with any dangerous scoring chances, Ocean created two in 80 seconds. The first was a clean hit from the top of the 18-yard box by sophomore Santieno Harding that Manasquan goalkeeper Jack Long saved.
The second of those chances was the winner, and it began with Molina taking the left corner. He crossed the ball to the near post, and as Carton and Manasquan defender Chris Black both elevated in an attempt to head the ball, Black caught the ball with his head and redirected it into the near corner of the goal as Long helplessly looked on.
Carton had a two-goal game Thursday in a 3-1 win over Long Branch and made an impact in the middle of the field on Wednesday, particularly on balls in the air. One of the balls he could not get his head on turned out to be the one with which he made the most difference.
"He's been a three-year varsity player now and the first two years he spent more on the periphery," Reilly said of Carton. "He had Wadneson (Alexis) and Marlhens (Nasanes) scoring all those goals, so I told him he was going to have to be one of the guys to step up and score some goals and be more of a focal point this year. I think he's been really good so far."
Long saved five shots over the course of the game, while Ocean sophomore goalkeeper Max Winters stopped two, including one quality chance by Manasquan striker Dulio Guerrero in the second half.
Wednesday's win was the fourth straight for Ocean after suffering its first and only loss - a 3-2 overtime defeat at the hands of Wall on Sept. 23. The Spartans win also snapped a five-game winning streak for Manasquan, one that carried the Warriors to the top of the division heading into Wednesday's action.
The 400th win of Reilly's career comes on the heels of a 19-win season and an NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III championship in 2015 - both of which are feats that are within Ocean's reach again this year. In Reilly's 32 years, he has guided Ocean to four Shore Conference Tournament championships in eight finals appearances and also led the Spartans to an overall Group III championship in 1996.
During a three-year span in the middle of Reilly's career, his Spartans won consecutive SCT championships in 1994 and 1995, followed by the program's only state title in 1996.
Although the mid-90's to the early 2000's might be considered Reilly's golden years with the Spartans, his team has given him a stretch to remember recently. Ocean won its first SCT championship in 11 years in 2012, which was the first of three trips to the SCT semifinals during a four-year stretch.
In addition to winning the Central Jersey Group III championship in 2015, the Spartans also reached the SCT final, where they lost to Christian Brothers Academy.
During the past five seasons, including this year, Ocean is 58-17-9 overall, which includes a 9-8-2 season in 2014. Reilly's overall record now stands at 400-184-43.
Reilly said Wednesday he plans on retiring from teaching in January, although he said he does not know what that means for his immediate coaching future. Ocean has a strong group of sophomores that could make the Spartans contenders beyond this season.
"I don't know what to say one way or another because I don't know what the rules are exactly," Reilly said. "I just know if this is it, I've got a great group of assistants who all work in the school and are all capable of jumping right in and doing the job. It doesn't hurt to have a really talented group of players."
Ocean 1, Manasquan (OT)
|Ocean (9-1, 8-1)||0||0||0||1||1|
|Manasquan (8-3-1, 7-2-1)||0||0||0||0||0|
Goal (Assist): (O) Own goal 92'
Shots: Ocean, 11-3
Saves: (O) Max Winters 2; (M) Jack Long 5