Soccer – Vote: Shore Sports Network Player of the Week, State Tournament Edition
The soccer season is officially over and which means there is one last Player of the Week to settle. To wrap up the season in grand fashion, the final Shore Sports Network Player of the Week vote will be a mixed competition, with four boys candidates and five girls candidates. To be eligible, a player had to have played in a sectional final and nominations were based on results from the sectional semifinals (Nov. 6, 7 and 8) all the way through the group finals Saturday and Sunday.
Both the girls and boys teams from the Shore had six sectional finalists, but since the girls had four sectional finalists to just two on the boys side, they get an extra nomination. There is also only one nomination per team so as to avoid players splitting votes. The Holmdel boys and the four girls finalists – Shore, Wall, Middletown South and Freehold Township all had more than one strong candidate, but each has only one representative in the poll.
To all the readers, thanks for participating throughout the year. To all the players up for nomination, congratulations on a great finish to the year. Vote closes 10 p.m. on Tuesday.
Dominic Bellomo, CBA
CBA’s breakout star in the midfield capped his stellar season with three great performances to finish the year. Bellomo assisted both goals in a 2-0 win over St. Joseph Metuchen in the sectional semifinals, scored the first goal in a 2-0 win over Bishop Eustace in the sectional finals, and scored on a beautiful strike to give CBA a 1-0 lead on Delbarton before the Green Wave erupted for four second-half goals.
Anthony Arena, Holmdel
Holmdel had a lot of heroes over their last four state tournament games – Mikey Neff, Justin McStay, Joe Arena, Matt Leon, Matt Lionette in goal. In the end, though, Anthony Arena is once again the guy for the Hornets. He scored three goals in the sectional final and initiated another own goal, scored one and was involved in two others in a big win over Delran, then assisted a goal in the state final win over Dover. He finished the year leading the Shore Conference in both goals (35) and assists (25).
Shane Kluxen, Toms River South
Toms River South won its third straight sectional title this year and their standout offensive player was a sophomore playing his first year with the varsity team. Kluxen scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Northern Burlington in the sectional semifinals, then assisted both goals in a sectional-final win over Ocean.
Davensky JoinVilmar, Asbury Park
Asbury Park capped an outstanding two-year run with another trip to the Central Jersey Group I final and JoinVilmar led the way for a second straight year. The senior scored both goals in a shootout win over New Egypt and was a major threat in the first half of his team’s sectional final loss to Highland Park, which took over the game with five goals in the second half.
Julia Eichenbaum, Shore
With 18 goals in four games, there were plenty of players who contributed to Shore’s scoring cause, but none quite like Eichennbaum. The sophomore did not score in the Central Jersey Group I sectional players, but broke out in a big way over the last two games, scoring four goals in an 8-1 win over Pitman and two of the most clutch goals you will ever see in the Group I final. Eichenbaum’s last two goals of her 32-goal season were an equalizer with 3:09 left and a game-winner with nine seconds left, which gave Shore its third straight Group I title. Eichenbaum is on pace to finish her career with 100 goals after scoring 50 in her first two varsity campaigns.
Jasmine Colbert, Freehold Twp.
Picking between Jada and Jasmine Colbert for Freehold Township’s nomination is splitting hairs, to put it mildly. Over the last four games of the tournament, each sister had four goals and Jasmine held the edge in assists, 4-2. Jada did score the golden goal in a 2-1, sectional-final win over East Brunswick, but that goal doesn’t happen without Jasmine’s equalizer in the 78th minute. Jasmine also scored twice in a 4-0 win over Old Bridge in the sectional semifinals and scored a big insurance goal in the wild, 5-3 win over Washington Township in the Group IV semifinal.
Lauren Karabin, Wall
Karabin, her sister Jenna and Sarah Gordon combined for 10 goals over Wall’s last four games, with Gordon scoring a team-high four goals. Lauren Karabin, meanwhile recorded a hat trick in a 6-1 win over Rumson, converted the winning penalty kick in a shootout win over Cinnaminson, and assisted both goals by Gordon in the Group II championship win over Westwood while giving the Cardinals fits with the ball at her feet.
Emma Laudisi, Middletown South
For the first time since 2000, Middletown South advanced all the way to the Group III final and did so with three memorable performances to get there. It started with a 4-3, overtime win over Somerville, in which Laudisi scored three goals, including the golden goal to win the game. The sophomore also assisted Grace Massell’s goal in a 1-0, Group III final upset of Northern Highlands, whose streak of six straight Group III finals appearances ended at the hands of the Eagles.
Jillian Conklin, Toms River East
Toms River East came up just short of its first sectional title in more than a decade, but Conklin was among the top performers in the tournament, nonetheless. She scored two goals to lead the Raiders past second-seeded Steinert in the sectional semifinals and scored another to give Toms River East a short-lived 1-0 lead on Allentown in the Central Jersey Group III final. Conklin scored five goals in four games during the state tournament and finished the season with 35 to tie for second in the Shore Conference.