SSN Week 6 Boys Soccer Player of the Week

Matteo Paolillo, Manalapan

This time of the year is ideal for goalkeepers to shine, not only because every save is magnified but there are also penalty-kick shootouts to navigate.

In Paolillo’s case, he did it all, making some big saves in games vs. Shore and Ocean – the latter of which was a Shore Conference Tournament game and the former of which was a 0-0 draw that effectively clinched Manalapan the No. 4 seed in the tournament. In the round of 16 vs. Ocean, Manalapan needed to survive penalty kicks to advance and Paolillo came up with two huge saves in the shootout to ensure the Braves would move on to Saturday’s quarterfinal round.

Paolillo made his case to the voters with another shutout performance on Saturday, when Manalapan beat Marlboro, 1-0, on a golden goal in the second overtime. Paolillo made a number of key saves to preserve the clean sheet, including a diving one to his lower left late in regulation.

Paolillo won last week's contest with 31 percent of the vote, which beat out a pair of scorers who fought out a tight battle for second place. Howell's Kris Maza collected 20 percent of the vote and Holmdel senior Brendan Worobel drew 19.5 percent.

Manalapan sophomore Matteo Paolillo goes up with teammate Connor Kinnucane. (Photo: Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)