Shore Sports Network 2021 Soccer Year in Review
The 2021 soccer season at the Shore was a memorable one, if for no other reason than it was a complete one. After a truncated 2020 season played under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 was a return to normalcy when it came to the high-school soccer schedule -- even as COVID-19 still remains an issue around the state and the globe.
On the boys side, Christian Brothers Academy dominated the Shore Conference and finished No. 2 in the entire state, finishing behind only the team that beat the Colts in the NJSIAA Non-Public A final: Seton Hall Prep.
Toms River North and Freehold Township battled throughout the year for the No. 2 spot behind CBA, with Toms River North clobbering the Patriots in the Shore Conference Tournament final before Freehold Township paid the Mariners back with a penalty-kicks win in the Group IV semifinal.
There were a number of other stories that grabbed headlines during the year: Rumson-Fair Haven won its first ever NJSIAA sectional championship; Manalapan went from winless in 2020 to No. 4 in the conference; Ocean's Aidan Tisony set a school record with his scoring prowess; Howell made it back to a sectional final for the first time in 14 years.
The 2021 season was also a historic one for girls soccer at the Shore, where some of the state's top teams resided. Freehold Township rolled to its first Shore Conference Tournament title in 10 years, spent most of the season unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the state, and held onto to those distinctions until the final seconds of the NJSIAA Group IV championship game.
Holmdel returned to the top of Group II by authoring a one-loss season, stumbling only to Red Bank Catholic in the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
Speaking of Red Bank Catholic, the Caseys joined Holmdel and Freehold Township as one of four Shore Conference teams to reach the six NJSIAA Group championship games. RBC rallied to beat St. John Vianney in the South Jersey Non-Public A final before losing to Immaculate Heart Academy in the state final.
The other Shore Conference team to reach a state final was Shore Regional and the Blue Devils reclaimed the Group I championship in dramatic fashion, winning on a golden goal after trailing 3-2.
The 2021 season was also a big one for Toms River North, which won the South Jersey Group IV title and suffered its only two losses of the year to Freehold Township. Manalapan also had a memorable 15-3 season, which included three losses to Freehold Township: one on opening day, one in the Shore Conference Tournament semifinal and another in the Central Jersey Group IV semifinal.
Lacey also won its first sectional championship in 18 years by knocking off Mainland on penalty kicks, while Brick Memorial returned to prominence with a deep, dangerous run through Group III as well.
Below are links to all of Shore Sports Network's postseason soccer content, including All-Shore Teams, award-winners coaches' all-division picks, the final Top 10 and stat leaders.
Once again, a heartfelt thank you for following along during this high school season.
Boys Soccer 2021 All-Shore Teams
2021 Boys Soccer Player of the Year: Dylan Cupo, CBA
2021 Boys Soccer Coach of the Year: Jeff Soares, Rumson-Fair Haven
2021 Boys Soccer Team of the Year: Christian Brothers Academy
2021 All-Shore Final Vote Winners
Boys Soccer 2021 Coaches' All-Division Teams
Boys Soccer 2021 Coaches' All-County Teams
Girls Soccer 2021 Coaches' All-Division Teams
Girls Soccer 2021 Coaches' All-County Teams
Boys Soccer 2021 Final Stat Leaders
NJSIAA State Final Stories
Freehold Township's Ride Ends vs. Talented Kearny Side
CBA Attack Meets its Match in Loss to Seton Hall Prep
Holmdel Finishes Off Group II Championship
Shore Rallies for Group I Title in Dramatic Fashion
Freehold Township Loses Heartbreaker in Battle for No. 1