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Lions fill out boys soccer roster as season approaches

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By Wayne Witkowski

Eight players return to Jackson Liberty High School’s boys soccer team, but coach Brett Malinson decided to extend tryouts to a second week concluding Aug. 23, with some positions still up in the air until the end of the week.

“We have a lot of open spots, so we’ve been figuring cuts,” Malinson said.

The Lions open their scrimmage schedule Aug. 25 against Manalapan High School. They also have scrimmages against Raritan High School and Point Pleasant Beach High School.

Jackson Liberty finished 8-10-1, ending last season in a 5-0 loss to Long Branch High School in the opening round of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group III tournament. It was an up-and-down season, said Malinson, as the Lions went 6-7-1 in the Shore Conference B North Division.

Riley Fahrholz, who had three shutouts as a freshman starting in goal and who matured significantly as the season progressed, is back for this season for a team that struggled to score. Midfielder Kevin Garry, who had five goals as a sophomore last season, looks to help the team’s struggles in scoring goals at times. His older brother, Bryan, scored six goals and graduated in the spring.

“We need to improve our goal scoring,” said Malinson, who again has Tim LaBarre as his varsity assistant and Justin Siering coaching the junior varsity team. “We need to have somebody step up as a striker to hit the back of the net. What was good last year was our teamwork. We had some high points and when we got down to some low points — nobody quit. There was good camaraderie and some good midfield play.”

Credit a lot of that to rising seniors Alex Florio, who is preparing for his third season as a starter, and Nate Santana. Kyle MacCauley, who saw spot time on defense as a junior last season, is ready for a larger role along with fellow junior Matt Campbell.

Jackson Liberty opens its season against Donovan Catholic High School Sept. 8.

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