Boys Soccer – Millevoi’s Golden Goal Sends CBA to Fifth Straight Shore Conference Semifinal
MIDDLETOWN -- Dylan Millevoi entered his junior season in 2022 a proven varsity goal-scorer for the Christian Brothers Academy soccer team, but his move up to striker in CBA's formation meant replacing a 6-foot-4, 20-goal scorer coming off a Player-of-the-Year season.
In the games he has played since replacing Dylan Cupo up top, Millevoi has shown a wide array of ability but there is no way around it: he is nowhere near 6-foot-4.
On Friday, however, with his Colts desperate for an overtime golden goal against eighth-seeded Marlboro in the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinal, Millevoi made a play as big as any he has have made by getting bigger than he ever has.
In the 93rd minute, Millevoi elevated to head a ball into the box from fellow senior Dan Dinnell and directed it into the goal for the overtime winner in CBA's 2-1, extra-time win over a Marlboro side that, once again, pushed the top-seeded Colts to their limit.
"These last two years (winning the Shore Conference Tournament) have been really special for me," Millevoi said. "Winning this a third time would probably one of the best feelings I will ever have, so knowing I will have to give more than 100 percent, that's what I did right there. Somehow, I got up there, at my size (5-7), and got that goal."
"Dylan Millevoi has scored over 30 varsity goals in his career," CBA coach Tom Mulligan said. "That's a pretty good accomplishment at CBA, in the (Shore Conference Class) A North Conference and playing in all the competitive games that he has been able to participate in and help us along."
The last time Marlboro visited CBA, the Mustangs spoiled the opening of Dan Keane Field with a 1-0 overtime win over the Colts on opening day of 2022. On opening day of this season, CBA beat the Mustangs, 1-0, on a Millevoi goal with 1:40 left in regulation and the Mustangs appeared primed for a resounding response with a goal early in the second half.
Senior Wyatt Oechsner received a free kick from 40 yards away from the goal, turned and buried a shot inside the near post three minutes into the second half.
"Marlboro was an excellent side today," Mulligan said. "They pushed us to the limit and beyond. If they continue to play like that, they are going to be a force in that Group IV state playoff. I was very impressed with how they played, how talented their players were, from their goalkeeper, to their midfield and defenders and even their strikers. They were a very tough opponent."
The lead lasted for nine minutes and up until that point, goalkeeper Arnav Bitla had turned away the Colts at several turns. In the 52nd minute, however, senior Dimitry Corba found his fellow senior, Millevoi, with a through-ball into the left side of the box. Millevoi tracked it down and, without breaking stride, struck a shot inside the far right post for the first of his two goals on the day.
"Last year, when we lost to them on our home field, it was our first game on this field, so it was definitely meaningful for us," Millevoi said, referring to last year's Marlboro win that ended on current senior Cade Jacobs's strike for the golden goal. "Last night, we were looking at social media and their nation posted something that it should be re-named (Cade) Jacobs Field. As soon as we saw that, we said, 'Nope, this isn't happening.'"
Bitla -- who saved three penalty kicks during Marlboro's shootout victory over Long Branch in Wednesday's round of 16 -- again rose to the occasion for Marlboro after getting beat for the equalizer. He saved a point-blank shot by Millevoi with two minutes left in regulation and another long strike by Millevoi in the final seconds of the first overtime period. Bitla also got a piece of a 20-yard strike by Corba that clanged off the crossbar in the 67th minute. All three saves kept the game tied, 1-1.
"You had to score a good goal against Marlboro," Mulligan said. "Their goalie was outstanding today. I don't get to watch that boy play and I don't know if he has been like that all season, but he was player of the match for Marlboro, hands down. Even though the other boys contributed, he kept them in that game."
In the 13th minute of overtime, Millevoi finally broke through for goal No. 2 on the day. CBA swung the ball around to right outside back Dan Dinnell, who played a give-and-go with Nick Vieira to create some extra space. After two touches toward the right corner, Dinnell played the ball into the box, where Millevoi camped out on the near side and elevated for the header. Millevoi got his head on it before a charging Bitla could get to it and his shot slowly rolled into the goal as the rest of Marlboro's team watched helplessly and the CBA side rejoiced.
"Dinnell has been an amazing right back for us this year and we didn't necessarily expect that, but he has stepped up," Millevoi said. "That ball was probably one of the best balls I have ever seen him play. It was beautiful."
CBA will play No. 12 Middletown North in the SCT semifinals on Wednesday night at Memorial Field at Summerfield Elementary School in Neptune. It marks the second straight year the teams will meet in the semifinal, with CBA winning last year's game, 2-1, on a memorable goal by Jack D'Eletto in the final two minutes.
Unfortunately for CBA, the opponent and venue are not the only similarities between this season's SCT run and last year's. A year ago, the Colts finished off their SCT championship run while missing leading scorer Will Thygeson due to a hamstring injury. This year's team could also find itself without a top player after Corba left Friday's game with a knee injury, according to Mulligan, and did not return.
Corba is the team's center midfielder on the attack and is tied with senior midfielder Lawrence Mancino for second on the team in total scoring with five goals and five assists behind only Millevoi (13 goals, three assists).
"I remember last year, when Will went down, everyone kind of looked around and was like, 'Oh no, what's going to happen now?,'" Millevoi said. "It's the same feeling now. Dimitry is such a great player. He is a leader on this team. He has proven himself all three years, just like I have. Seeing him go down is a big loss, but we know we have depth on our bench where we know we can get another one of our players out there and he'll do just as good as Dimitry."