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Falcons primed for successful 2021 soccer campaign

Monmouth Regional High School boys soccer player Chris Theobald advances the ball up the field during a game against Holmdel on Sept. 9 in Tinton Falls. Holmdel defeated Monmouth Regional 5-1.

TINTON FALLS – A core group of eight returning seniors has Coach Darren Spadavecchia believing there are great things to come from his Monmouth Regional High School boys soccer squad in 2021.

“The sky’s the limit for us,” Spadavecchia said. “We have a senior-led team. I see a lot of passion from the guys.”

Ethan Wallace, Aiden Hicks, Kaan Pehlivan, Tom Siracusa, Arturo Reyes, Chris Theobald, Probnoor Singh and Andy Sanchez are the returning seniors with varsity experience for the Falcons.

Pehlivan was the team’s second-leading scorer in 2020 with nine goals. He added three assists during his junior campaign.

Hicks and Wallace played well in midfield. Wallace scored four goals, while Hicks added three goals and three assists.

As of Sept. 10, Monmouth Regional was playing without senior midfielder Ryan Kuldanek, who led the team with 13 goals and 10 assists in 2020. Kuldanek, who has committed to Lehigh University, is deciding between playing for the Falcons or on the academy circuit.

Spadavecchia said it “would be great” for the team if Kuldanek returns.

In the back, Theobald, Siracusa, Sanchez and junior Anthony Cano anchor the defense.

Spadavecchia has been impressed with the leadership and play Theobald has shown and that factored into the decision to name him a captain in 2021.

“He’s a leader,” the coach said of Theobald. “The kids respect him.”

Goalkeeper Dominick Santaniello has graduated and junior Kyle Desai and senior Kevin Terhune have both seen action in net in the team’s early matches.

Desai and Terhune can both play in the field. In a match against Holmdel on Sept. 9 in Tinton Falls, Desai scored his first goal of the season.

Seniors Sean Malloy and Evan Ciccone, and juniors Phillip Barbosa and Alexander Rausch are expected to contribute during 2021.

Monmouth Regional started the season on Sept. 7 with a 4-2 victory over Middletown South. Wallace and Probnoor each scored two goals.

However, the Falcons hit a “bump in the road,” as Spadavecchia called it, in a 5-1 loss to Holmdel on Sept. 9.

“Hopefully they put the bad feeling (of the loss) in the back of their heads and will use it later on to prevail. It’s still super early,” the coach said.

Monmouth Regional (1-1) is scheduled to play Long Branch on Sept. 11 and host Asbury Park on Sept. 13.

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