Boys Soccer – VOTE: Week 9 Surf Taco Player of the Week
With only two weeks remaining in the 2019 high school soccer season, there remain only two more Surf Taco Player of the Week contests.
This week's group of nominees is drawn from the first two rounds of the NJSIAA Tournament, which kicked off on Tuesday of last week. The 12 candidates this week include standouts from those first two rounds, most of whom are still playing in this week's semifinal round.
Read about each of the top performers and vote for your favorite. Vote once per hour through the Wednesday deadline at 10 p.m. The top vote-getter will win a $25 gift card to Surf Taco.
Tagg Acrum, Wall
Wall’s standout center back pushed up for three goals in Wall’s two state tournament wins last week, including a pair in a 6-0 win over Pennsauken in round one. In the sectional quarterfinal on Friday, Ancrum scored the clincher in a 2-0 win over Freehold Boro and was also part of two shutouts.
Jake Baurerband, Toms River North
No team has stolen the headlines in the state tournament in louder fashion than Toms River North, which upset No. 1 seed Clearview in the South Jersey Group IV first round and followed that up with another road win over Cherry Hill East. Baurerband was a big part of both wins, first scoring a goal and assisting another by junior Parker Nickelsen in the 2-0 upset of Clearview. After Nickelsen gave the Mariners the lead against Cherry Hill East, Baurerband capped the win with his second goal in as many games.
Tommy Johnson, Manasquan
Johnson scored just one goal in Manasquan’s deep Shore Conference Tournament run and none in the final four rounds, but is making up for it during the state tournament. The junior has exploded for five goals in the first two rounds, first scoring two in a 5-0 win over Cape May Tech and going off for a hat trick in a 4-1 win over Haddonfield in the sectional quarterfinals.
Matt Kirkpatrick, St. Rose
St. Rose got past Class B Central rival Mater Dei in the opening round if the South Jersey Non-Public B bracket thanks to a big second half from Kirkpatrick, who blew open a 4-0 win over the Seraphs with a hat trick after the break.
Patrick O’Dwyer, Long Branch
O’Dwyer scored just once last week but it was arguably the biggest goal any Shore player has scored during this state tournament. The senior forward turned and fired home the golden goal in the Green Wave’s first-round shocker over Freehold Township – the Shore Conference Tournament and Class A North champion that defeated 13th-seeded Long Branch during the regular season, 3-1.
Dominick Santaniello, Monmouth
The Falcons twice rolled the dice in penalty kicks last week and survived both ventures thanks to their sophomore goalkeeper. Santaniello saved two shots in the first-round, shootout win over Raritan and saved another against Rumson-Fair Haven in the quarterfinal. On top of the shootout performances, Santaniello earned shutouts in both scoreless games against Class A Central division rivals.
Ben Schnaak, Jackson Memorial
After missing most of the season with a hamstring injury, Schnaak is rounding into form at just the right time. The 2018 SSN Second Team All-Shore Selection scored the deciding goal in a 1-0 win over Rancocas Valley in Tuesday’s South Jersey IV opener and assisted the first score in Jackson Memorial’s 3-0 win over Southern in Friday’s sectional quarterfinal.
Kyle Schembri, Neptune
The Scarlet Fliers survived a wild, 4-3, game against Class B North rival Middletown North in the Central Jersey Group III opening round and Schembri was the hero. Both Schembri and Louis Pennington scored two goals each in the win and it was Schembri who came through with the golden goal to win it for Neptune in overtime. Schembri also assisted one of Pennington’s goals in the win.
Max Shushkovsky, Marlboro
With his team’s season on the brink, Shushkovsky ignited a come-from-behind win for the Mustangs over Montgomery in the first round of the Central Group IV bracket. The senior scored his first goal to cut the deficit to 3-2 and tied the game with a penalty kick in the 74th minute to set up the winning goal in overtime by senior Mitchell Katsman. Shushkovsky added another goal to cap Marlboro’s 2-0, sectional quarterfinal win over North Brunswick on Saturday.
Andrew Singleton, Rumson-Fair Haven
One year after winning only one game, Rumson advanced to the Central Group II sectional quarterfinals and bowed out only after a round of penalty kicks at division rival Monmouth. Singleton got the Bulldogs out of the first round with a pair of first-half goals off assists from freshman Alec Pentikis in a 3-0 win over A.L. Johnson.
Aidan Tisony, Ocean
The sophomore did not score a goal in either of Ocean’s 1-0 road wins but assisted the deciding goal in each. He set up senior Eli Brandimarte’s winner in a 1-0 win over Hopewell Valley and crossed a ball to the head of senior Rob Lopes for the go-ahead goal against No. 3 Steinert. After failing to reach the Shore Conference Tournament for a chance to defend their title, the 11th-seededSpartans have jumpstarted their Group III title defense with two wins and will host the sectional semifinal on Tuesday.
Anthony Virone, Ranney
Ranney reached the sectional quarterfinals and nearly pulled off the upset before bowing out on penalties. The Panthers advanced past Trenton Catholic in the opening round on penalties, with Virone saving a shot and converting the winner following a 1-1 draw. Virone again held the opposition to one goal in the sectional quarterfinal at top-seeded Wardlaw-Hartridge, but the hosts pulled out the win in the shootout.
Honorable Mention: Mitchell Katsman, Marlboro; Parker Nickelsen, Toms River North; Louis Pennington, Neptune; Jack Giamanco, Holmdel; Alex Perez, Middletown North; Jake Pepe, Wall; Matt White, Barnegat; Charles Anyichie, Ranney; Tyler Weiss, Toms River South; Shane Kluxen, Toms River South; Stephen Beaton, Toms River South; Angel Sanchez, Toms River South; Eric Hinds, Holmdel; Mark Walier, Holmdel; Mike Steinberg, Marlboro; Eryck Lazo, Long Branch; Herbert Ruiz, Long Branch; Dylan Cupo, CBA