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CBA looks to move past sole blemish of boys’ soccer season

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By Wayne Witkowski

Teams often validate their seasons by avenging losses.

Christian Brothers Academy’s (CBA) soccer team has taken that same approach over the years, particularly with matches against Delbarton School — its perennial nemesis — in the late rounds of the NJSIAA Non-Public A state tournament and perennial state tournament foe Don Bosco Preparatory High School, which CBA beat, 2-1, earlier this year. Delbarton beat CBA in last year’s state final that marked the end of Dan Keane’s 35-year Hall of Fame career as head coach of the Colts before longtime assistant Tom Mulligan was promoted to the position this season.

CBA is aiming for another grudge game against Marlboro High School, which marred the Colts’ 17-1 season. Marlboro scored a 3-1 victory Oct. 19 in Shore Conference A North Division action. CBA went on to clinch the division title.

Marlboro, which is 14-4-1 coming into the week, finished right behind CBA in the division at 12-1-1. It could have finished as co-champion in the division with CBA if not for its 2-2 tie Oct. 10 with Freehold Township High School (10-5-1), which finished in third place in the division at 8-5-1.

In a touch of irony, Marlboro is coached by Dave Santos, who also has been the head coach of CBA’s lacrosse team.

“We totally came in thinking we were going to win,” Santos said after the victory in Lincroft. “I told them that this was the most confident I had felt coming on to this field in a long time. We’re going to enjoy this, but we have to focus on the Shore Conference Tournament because no one is going to remember this if we lose that.”

P.J. Ringel scored Marlboro’s first two goals in its victory over CBA — the first heading in a long throw-in and the second from short range after outrunning a defender to a through ball. CBA’s Joe Lozowski scored off a pass form Matt Mawson to make it a 2-1 score 29 minutes into the game before Marlboro’s Josh Grun restored the two-goal lead midway through the second half on a header.

“I have to credit Marlboro,” Mulligan said after the loss. “They had a good game plan and they played hard, they played physical and they got an early lead on us, so you have to credit Marlboro. It changed the game.

“It’s difficult to go through an entire season unbeaten, especially in A North. There are a lot of competitive teams, although I do not feel they’re recognized enough in the Shore Conference. We knew Marlboro would be one of the best teams in the state, and we did not have our best game that day.”

Stellar CBA fullback Scott Misson had to serve a red-card suspension, which Mulligan said led to some players moving to different positions.

CBA wrapped up the division title as expected Oct. 20 with a 5-0 blitz of Neptune High School — a struggling team that lost to CBA, 6-3, earlier in the season. Three goals are the most allowed by CBA this season.

Matt Thorsheim scored two goals and assisted another in the division title-clinching victory over Neptune, and Patrick Kollman, O’Connor and Lozowski put in the others, as the Colts stampeded to a 4-0 lead at halftime.

CBA had beaten Marlboro, 1-0, in the second game of the season and for a third game to take place between CBA and Marlboro, both teams would need to reach the Shore Conference Tournament (SCT) championship game. CBA, the defending SCT champion, took that first step Oct. 22 with a convincing 3-1 victory over Colts Neck High School, led by Mawson’s two goals. Ryan O’Connor put in the other goal, and goalkeeper Aedan Boriotti needed to make only one save.

CBA plays Matawan Regional High School in the next round Oct. 25. Matawan (10-2-3) finished tied with Raritan High School for the Shore Conference A Central Division championship. Both teams played to a scoreless tie Oct. 13 — the second time this season they played to a tie. On Oct. 17, Matawan, with a chance for sole possession of the championship, played to a 1-1 tie with Red Bank Regional High School, which meant an identical division record with Raritan.

“Teams take advantage of weaknesses, which leads to so many upsets this time of year,” Mulligan said. “Matawan is not a senior-dominated team like we are with 13 seniors, but they are well-organized and well-coached. But when we rise up and play as a team, we’re as good as any team in the state.”

Boriotti is the keystone to a defense that has allowed only 14 goals this season and has needed to make only 48 saves playing nearly the entire season in goal.

Twelve players figure among CBA’s 60 goals scored as a team, led by Kollman’s 11 and Thorsheim’s 10. Thorsheim also has a team-high 16 assists. Jack Gill and Mawson follow with eight each. Kollman, Ryan Nigro and Aaron Robertson each have six assists.

“When a great player like Matt leads your team in assists, that shows you how great a player he is,” Mulligan said.

He says that kind of team attitude has led to the team’s success.

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