NJSIAA Tournament

Sectional Finals | Preview

Central Jersey Group IV

(1) Princeton 5, (2) Howell 1

Junior Nick Turturro scored a game-tying goal for Howell in the 21st minute, but freshman Troi Panniel's goal 2:12 before halftime started an avalanche that buried the Rebels and carried the Tigers to their first sectional championship since 2017.

Senior Pasquale Carusone scored the first of his two goals in the eighth minute to stake Princeton to a 1-0 lead. In the 1st, junior Tye Maser won the ball on the left side, carried it toward the end-line and crossed it into the box. Senior Bryce Ocholla dummied the ball to set up Turturro with a clean shot from the top of the six-yard box and Howell's leading scorer buried the chance to tie the game.

Howell nearly made it to halftime tied with the No. 1 seed in what was a mostly-even game through 37 minutes, but Princeton's attack turned up the pressure in time to grab one more goal. Off a corner kick, freshman Harvey Smith knifed into the box and crossed the ball to the top of the 18-yard box, where Penniel set up for a shot that he ripped into the lower left of the goal.

Princeton scored the dagger in the 51st minute on a quick restart immediately after the whistle for a foul and it caught Howell's defense off-guard. Junior Archie Smith slipped the ball through a sea of Howell defenders gathered near the ball and junior Azariah Breitman collected it with no one around him but Howell goalkeeper Patrick Martin before finishing off Princeton's third goal.

Carusone finished his 25th goal of the season in the 54th after Felipe Matar Grande picked the ball off in the Howell third of the field and found Princeton's top target.

Sophomore Chase Hamerschlag capped the scoring with a minute to go.

Princeton moves on to host Washington Township Wednesday in the Group IV semifinals.


Central Jersey Group II

(1) Holmdel 1, (6) Manasquan 0

Frankie Brusco knocked in a diagonal cross from Stepan Kapranov in the 73rd minute and the Hornets topped the Warriors to win their second straight sectional championship and ninth overall -- all in the last 18 years.

Both sides kept the game scoreless into the final 10 minutes, with Holmdel sophomore defender Connor Paul clearing a shot on goal off the line midway through the first half to deny Manasquan.

Holmdel advances to host South Jersey champion Delran -- winner on penalty kicks over West Deptford -- in Wednesday's Group II semifinal.

Central Jersey Group I

(3) Shore 1, (8) College Achieve Central 0 (OT)

Junior Lukas Villa headed in the golden goal three minutes into overtime and the Blue Devils overcame the Phoenix to capture the Central Group I championship for the second straight season.

After a game's worth of opportunities to cash in on the winning goal, Shore's winning chance finally came early in the overtime period. Freshman Silvio Pessoa served up the corner kick from the left side and Villa elevated over the defense to slam in the header for the win.

Shore will host South Jersey champion Palmyra Wednesday in the Group I semifinal, with the Blue Devils looking to advance to a state final for the first time in 53 years.

South Jersey Group IV

(1) Washington Twp. 3, (3) Toms River North 0

Senior Ajani Dwyer scored two goals and drew two fouls that led to penalty kicks, including a crippling red card on a goal-scoring opportunity as the Minutemen topped the Mariners to end a five-year drought between sectional championships.

Dwyer followed up a shot by classmate Drew Heil for the first Washington Township goal in the 20th minute. Toms River North goalkeeper Mike Vivolo made a diving save on Heil's strike and Dwyer fought through a pair of Mariners defenders and finished the goal with a sliding shot.

The game-changing foul came in the 27th minute, when Dwyer broke free for a run at the goal and toms River North senior defender Jack Eubanks took him down inside the box. The referee ruled that Eubanks did not play the ball in denying the goal-scoring chance, which, by rule, warrants a red card.

Vivolo picked his team up by saving the ensuing penalty kick, but Landon Heil played Dwyer into a breakaway 30 seconds later and Dwyer finished that one to make it 2-0 with 12:42 left in the half.

Dwyer was tripped up just inside the box again in the 48th minute and Heil buried his second penalty attempt to cap the scoring.



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