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The road to a top finish in the Shore Conference Class A North division is always lined with adversity and even when a team comes up short in that pursuit, that road prepares its traveler for what is to come in postseason play.

The Marlboro boys soccer team remains a longshot to win a share of the Class A North title, but the dream is still alive thanks to the resilience the Mustangs showed last week, when they successfully made their case as the Week 3 Surf Taco Boys Soccer Team of the Week.

Photo: Steve Meyer
Photo: Steve Meyer

Marlboro's award-winning week actually started with a loss, which came at the hands of surging Middletown South -- the Week 1 Team of the Week winner.

In addition to rebounding from the psychological toll of a division loss, Marlboro had to overcome two key injuries in its next game, which came against a one-loss Howell team. Playing with central defender and senior captain Cooper Laitman injured, the Mustangs handed Howell its second loss of the season, with a final tally of 1-0.

Playing with a broken nose, sophomore Trevor Barrett scored the deciding goal in the win over Howell, with junior Ryan Cohen provided the assist.

Playing without Laitman again on Saturday, Marlboro went on the road and earned a 1-1 draw against Rumson-Fair Haven -- a defending NJSIAA sectional champion with most of its 2021 team back and riding high off a win over previously-unbeaten Holmdel. Both teams traded penalty kicks in the game, with Mustangs sophomore Jake Langella tying the game with his second-half penalty.

Marlboro's division-title hopes took a hit with a loss at Freehold Township on Thursday of this week, but with wins over Christian Brothers Academy -- the No. 1 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 -- Howell and Manalapan, plus a star defender likely to return in time for the postseason, the Mustangs have shown the ability to be dangerous against top-level competition.


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