After a brief hiatus between the Shore Conference and NJSIAA Tournaments, the Surf Taco Player of the Week contest is back in full force after the first two rounds of the NJSIAA Tournament. Read about the top boys performers who helped their respective teams advance in the tournament and vote at the bottom of the post for the one you think stands out as the best of the best. Vote once every hour at the bottom of this post through the 6 p.m. deadline on Tuesday.


Nominees listed alphabetically

Wilby Alfred, Neptune

Alfred continues to make his case as the Player of the Year at the Shore with his latest submission perhaps his best yet. He scored six goals in Neptune’s first two NJSIAA Tournament games – four in a 6-1 opening-round win over Red Bank and two in a 2-1, golden-goal win over Northern Burlington in the sectional quarterfinal. Alfred’s goal in the fourth minute of overtime avenged a playoff loss to the Greyhounds last season and send the Scarlet Fliers to the sectional semifinals Monday vs. Colts Neck.

Anthony Arena, Holmdel

Arena has made up for lost time since returning from a hamstring industry and his first two performances in the NJSIAA Tournament fall right in line with his season as a whole. The senior striker scored two goals in each of Holmdel’s blowout wins and added an assist in the first one over Hillside and two in the win over Robbinsville in the quarterfinals.

Max Cameron, Shore

The senior outside back came through with two huge plays last week, one on each side of the field. Cameron picked the perfect spot for his first career goal when he buried the golden goal to beat third-seeded Delaware Valley in the opening round of Central Group II Tournament. Then, in Shore’s 1-0 overtime win over Raritan, Cameron cleared away a shot heading for the Blue Devils goal in the 73rd minute to prevent the Rockets from scoring a go-ahead goal late in regulation.

Gavin Harris, Pinelands

Harris took over in goal early in the season and has settled in nicely as Pinelands’ keeper of the future. He also proved he is a keeper for the present when he saved three penalty-kick attempts by Toms River South in Pinelands’ 3-0 shootout victory over the Indians in the South Jersey Group III opening round. Harris also turned in a shutout over the 100 minutes of that game, keeping a three-time defending sectional champion off the board to allow his team to advance.

Aidan Newbury, Wall

Wall earned a chance to beat Shore Conference Tournament champion Ocean for a second time this year by beating both Middletown North and Hopewell in shutout fashion. Newbury pitched in on the scoring effort in each game, scoring a goal in the 3-0 win over Middletown North and another in a 2-0 win over Hopewell Valley – a perennial contender in Group III in recent years.

Zach Orrico, Freehold Twp.

Freehold Township is the only team represented in this week’s Players of the Week contest that is no longer playing in the NJSIAA Tournament, but Orrico was electric in two games for a Patriots team that was eliminated on penalties by a one-loss South Brunswick team. Orrico exploded for a hat trick in a 4-0 win over Marlboro in the opening round and came through with an equalizing goal in the middle of the second half against South Brunswick on Thursday.

Christian Riozzi-Bodine, St. Rose

The 2018 season has been a challenging one for St. Rose, but it is ending on a high note thanks to the efforts of Riozzi-Bodine and his teammates. The junior forward scored in a 3-0 win over Trenton Catholic in the South Jersey, Non-Public B opener, then scored six minutes into the Purple Roses’ 1-0 upset win over top-seeded Immaculata in Thursday’s sectional quarterfinal.

Dan Russo, Jackson Memorial

Like Alfred and Arena, Russo continues to throw his name into the Player of the Week discussion and the first week of the NJSIAA Tournament was no exception. The junior forward scored twice in a first-round win over Vineland on Monday and kicked in the golden goal in a 2-1, overtime victory over Kingsway that pushed Jackson Memorial into South Jersey Group IV semifinals Monday against No. 6 Eastern.

David Tuschmann, Colts Neck

Colts Neck’s late-season surge continued last week with wins over Brick and Steinert, the latter of which came on the road. Tuschmann made an impact in each game, with the freshman scoring in a 3-0 win over Brick and assisting Rudy Ramirez’s game-winner in the 1-0 win at Steinert.

Andre Wells, Matawan

Once again, Matawan is making noise as a double-digit seed in the NJSIAA Tournament, just as the Huskies did as a No. 13 seed last year when they nearly upset Holmdel in the sectional semifinals. This time, Matawan is in the sectional semifinals as a No. 12 seed and the run began with a golden goal by the sophomore Wells in the opening-round win at No. 5 Nutley.



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