Shore Sports Network 2018-2019 Reader’s Choice Awards Winners
After 10 days of voting, you, the readers, have selected the 2018-2019 Shore Sports Network Readers' Choice Award winners.
Congratulations to all the teams and individuals who were nominated and the hundreds more who had great seasons.
SHORE SPORTS NETWORK 2018-2019 READERS' CHOICE AWARDS
MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
David Melfi, Sr., Jackson Liberty baseball
The most dominant players in high-school baseball are typically the ones who control the game on the mound and game break it open at the plate. Melfi never pitched an inning in his four-year career but that didn’t stop him from growing into the Shore’s most dominant player and one who impacted the game on multiple levels. The most obvious way was at the plate, where Melfi turned in a monster campaign as a senior. He hit .437 while leading the Shore Conference in doubles (14), home runs (10) and RBI (46) and finished third in both runs scored (37) and slugging percentage (.943).
While those numbers speak volumes, they only tell part of the story. On top of the volume, Melfi was undeniably clutch, never more so that in the Central Jersey Group III quarterfinals against Allentown. Leading off the bottom of the seventh in a 4-4 game, Melfi crushed a 3-2 pitch of the right-field fence for a game-winning solo home run – his second longball of the game. Melfi – a Wagner commit – was also one of the state’s top defensive catchers, throwing out 10 of the 27 runners who tried to steal on him (37 percent) and giving the Lions an advantage at the most important position on the field other than on the mound.
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Faith Masonius, Sr. Manasquan girls basketball
A player with limitless skills backed her talent on the hardwood with a grace and class that made her one of the most revered figures in the rich history of Shore Conference girls basketball.
Masonius did plenty in her time as a Warrior and got in return a career jam-packed with notable treasures. She was a central figure in four Central Jersey, Group 2 sectional titles, three Group 2 state championships and a TOC crown as well as a Shore Conference Tournament trophy claimed as a junior. Manasquan boasted a 113-19 mark during her term and was annually considered among the state’s premier teams.
She was also a collective force who accumulated 2,032 points, 1,116 rebounds, 428 assists, 272 steals and 71 blocked shots for her career, one stamped by a senior year that saw her team with fellow senior Lola Mullaney to groom a young cast with hopes it can maintain the annual lofty standards the Warriors are held to. In her final season, Masonius, who is bound for Maryland, clicked for 19.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.6 steals, 4.0 assists and 0.5 blocks, pushing Manasquan to a 22-7 record that featured a second-place finish to St. Rose in the grueling A Central and a run to a sixth straight sectional championship.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Dave Porta, Shore wrestling
Porta was selected as the Shore Sports Network Wrestling Coach of the Year for leading Shore Regional to new heights. It was a memorable winter in West Long Branch as the Blue Devils turned in the best season in program history to finish ranked in the Shore Conference Top 10 for the first time.
Shore captured the Class B Central division title by defeating rival Point Beach, but it was the second win over the Garnet Gulls that made history. Shore beat the three-time defending sectional champions, 45-19, to win the Central Jersey Group 1 title for the first time in program history. Along the way, Shore also defeated West Deptford and No. 9 Ocean. The Blue Devils finished fourth at the Shore Conference Tournament with sophomore Jack Maida (106) and junior Al DeSantis (138) finishing second and sophomore Mike McGhee (145) taking fourth. At the District 20 Tournament, Shore finished third and had a program-record nine medal winners, including champions Maida, DeSantis, McGhee and Taylor Sousa (195). Maida (2nd at 106), McGhee (3rd at 145) and DeSantis (4th at 132) qualified for the state tournament out of Region 5. Maida reached the state semifinals before finishing sixth to become the Blue Devils’ second state medalist in program history and first since 2002.
TEAM OF THE YEAR
Red Bank Catholic football
The Caseys defeated Mater Dei Prep, 14-10, to capture the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 3 state title and finish as the top-ranked team in the Shore. RBC went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team, claimed its second state title in five years and finished undefeated for the first time since 1960. Along the way, the Caseys had five wins over ranked opponents, including victories over No. 3 Long Branch and No. 4 Rumson-Fair Haven, both of which won NJSIAA sectional titles and bowl games. In addition to the win over Mater Dei, RBC also defeated No. 7 Red Bank and beat St. John Vianney in the season-opener when the Lancers were ranked No. 2.
The Caseys had the No. 3 scoring offense in the Shore at 33.7 points per game and the No. 2 scoring defense at 10 points per game. Boston College-bound senior quarterback Steve Lubischer was selected as the Freedom Division Offensive Player of the Year and was named the Shore Sports Network Most Valuable Player. Senior defensive back Jaden Key was selected as a Freedom Division Co-Defensive Player of the Year and head coach Frank Edgerly was named the Freedom Division Coach of the Year.