Boys Soccer – Krupski’s Two Goals Sink CBA, Carry Seton Hall Prep to Non-Public A Title
SOMERSET -- Eddie Krupski had a year to play back the two shots he unleashed in the 2022 NJSIAA Non-Public A championship game that could have crowned his Seton Hall Prep boys soccer team state champions.
One of the shots went off the post. The other rattled the crossbar. Two menacing shots off the foot of the Rutgers University commit that held the fortunes of two teams and both went in favor of Christian Brothers Academy on that Saturday morning.
On Friday at Franklin High School, in the third straight Non-Public A championship game between Seton Hall Prep and CBA, Krupski needed only eight minutes to change his team's fortunes and flip the outcome of the latest installment of the CBA-Seton Hall rivalry.
Krupski scored in the eighth minute of each half to notch a state-championship brace and Seton Hall Prep closed out its season with a resounding, 3-0 win over CBA to avenge last season's 1-0 win by the Colts.
"This is my senior year, so I know how it feels for the seniors who didn't get to win last year," Krupski said. "This is for them and the whole brotherhood. You come here and you try to win every single year and when you fall short, it crushes you. This is all dedicated to them."
CBA entered Friday's championship game with a 496-minute shutout streak that dated back to a 2-1 win over Marlboro in the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals on Oct. 13. That run ended at 504 minutes thanks to a sequence that landed the ball at Krupski's feet in position to score.
Junior Jeremy Munoz lofted a pass to senior Nick Lapczynski on the left side of the box and Lapczynski crossed it to the top of the six-yard box for Krupski. The senior striker, settled the ball, turned and punched a left-footed shot pas CBA goalkeeper Miles Gallagher from close range 7:58 into the match.
"This field haunts me," said Krupski, whose team lost last year's game at Franklin. "I hit the post, I hit the crossbar, but I got a fresh slate tonight. God blessed me with another year to come out here with a chance to win it. This time, I knew I could not afford to not put those chances in the back of the net."
CBA responded with a strong 32 minutes to close the half and owned a 5-4 edge in shots at intermission despite trailing on the scoreboard. Senior Dylan Millevoi had the best opportunity to score for CBA -- an eight-yard rip that Pirates goalkeeper Ray Bonanno saved while going to the ground in the 13th minute.
In the second half, Seton Hall Prep was even more proficient in the early minutes. Junior Benjamin Mills caught the CBA defense off-guard and Gallagher off his line and buried a 30-yard free kick to the far right corner of the goal on a quick restart -- a devastating goal for CBA's chances that came 45th minute.
Just 3:14 on the clock elapsed before Krupski put the game out of reach. After an exchange of touches in the box following a free kick, Krupski ripped a shot inside the near left post from the side of the goal for a 3-0 Pirates lead in the 48th minute.
"The first goal was upsetting to us, but our guys didn't panic," CBA coach Tom Mulligan said. "Seton Hall did limit our chances, so it was a challenge. We had a couple chances in the second half to break through, but that second goal really broke our back. Games like this are made of moments and Seton Hall capitalized on that moment. It just wasn't our night."
CBA continued to compete and pressure the Seton Hall defense and challenge Bonanno, but both were up to the task and completed their 11th clean sheet of the season.
Before Seton Hall Prep could avenge last year's championship loss to CBA, the Pirates avenged each of their two regular-season losses. After dropping games to Montclair and Newark East Side, Seton Hall Prep defeated both in the final two rounds to win the Essex County Tournament.
"It has been a recurring theme this season: revenge tour," Krupski said. "We lose to a couple teams in our county and we come together and we make the best of it."
CBA's airtight defense ran out of magic on Friday, with a 500-plus scoreless stretch ending early on and the Colts conceding three goals in a game for the first time since beating Notre Dame, 5-4, in a classic South Jersey Non-Public A championship game in Nov. 2021.
On the positive side, CBA senior Dimitry Corba returned to action for the first time since sustaining a sprained MCL in his right knee on Oct. 13. He entered the match in the 20th minute and played at the front of the formation with a brace on his right knee, providing the Colts with an emotional lift for the remainder of the second half.
"Dimitry is about as tough as they come and he wanted to play in this match really badly," Mulligan said. "He went to therapy, he rested, he did everything he could and he was cleared by the physician and our trainer, so he deserved a chance to be out there. I was hoping he could give us a lift off the bench, but that is asking a lot of a kid who has been out for the last three weeks. But he gave it his all, just like the rest of the seniors tonight."
Corba is part of a senior class that made significant contributions to a uniquely successful three-year run. Corba, Lawrence Mancino, Dylan Millevoi and Christian DeOliveira all saw time in each of the past three seasons, which included three consecutive Shore Conference Tournament championships, three straight South Jersey Non-Public A titles and one overall state title that landed the Colts in the No. 1 spot in the state rankings to end 2022.
Prior to this season, no other CBA team had ever won three straight Shore Conference Tournament championships and Friday was an opportunity for this year's team to become the first in program history to win consecutive state championships.
"It's really hard to do," Mulligan said about winning a state championship. "Non-Public A is so competitive and Seton Hall Prep is a team that earned the victory on the field tonight. They were skilled, strong, well-coached and they deserve to be state champions.
"I think if these seniors were given the chance to take three Shore Conference championships, three sectional championships and a state title during their careers, I think every one of them would have taken it. I know it hurts now, but that's because it was meaningful. We celebrate the victories because it's meaningful and we agonize over the defeats because it's meaningful."
Seton Hall Prep 3, CBA 0
|Seton Hall Prep (19-2-1)||1||2||3|
Goals: (SH) Eddie Krupski (Nick Lapczynski) 8'; (SH) Benjamin Mills (direct kick) 45'; (SH) Eddie Krupski (Jeremy Munoz) 48'
Shots: Seton Hall Prep, 12-9
Saves: (CBA) Miles Gallagher 4; (SH) Ray Bonanno 5