Visco goal lifts Patriots to Central Jersey Group IV sectional soccer crown


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There were question marks about what to expect from the Freehold Township High School boys soccer team at the beginning of the 2022 season.

Would there be a difference with Michael Tepedino replacing Josh Mehl as the Patriots’ coach? How were the Patriots going to replace 16-goal scorer Herman Colbert and seven other senior starters?

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Those questions were answered during the season and were officially put to bed on Nov. 5 in Freehold Township when the No. 3 seed Patriots hosted No. 4 seed Monroe Township High School in the 2022 NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV state sectional tournament championship match.

The Patriots stonewalled the Falcons for 80 minutes and scored the only goal they needed to win 1-0 and claim a second consecutive state sectional tournament championship and the fourth in the program’s 50-year history.

“It’s a dream come true to come here and coach a team on a deep run in the playoffs and wind up with a state sectional championship,” said Tepedino. “It feels great.”

The lone goal of the championship match was delivered in the 34th minute off the foot of senior Jake Visco, whose shot bounced off the ground in the area, over the arm of goalkeeper Justin Graham and into the net to give the Patriots a 1-0 lead.

“All it takes is one shot and it gave us the lead,” Visco said of his goal. “I’m not going to lie, it was a lucky bounce, but you need to expect anything to happen on this field.”

Visco had an outstanding state sectional tournament as he scored four goals in four games. The senior forward has scored six goals in 2022.

“It’s just amazing winning two (sectional championships) in a row,” Visco said. “Everyone played great (today).”

One goal from the offense was all senior goalkeeper Jack Goldsmith and the Freehold Township defense needed. The Patriots stifled Monroe’s attack for 80 minutes and limited the visitors’ scoring chances.

On the few occasions when the Falcons had a scoring chance, Goldsmith was there to answer the call. In the 74th minute, Goldsmith made a diving stop on a shot on goal by Nate Lipton.

“I know I can make the saves, so when those chances come, I am ready to make them,” Goldsmith said. “(Monroe) was pushing the ball over our defense in the second half and I knew at some point they were going to get a chance to score and I was ready for it.”

Freehold Township (14-6) will play South Jersey Group IV state sectional tournament champion Cherokee High School in a Group IV state tournament semifinal match on Nov. 9 in Marlton. The winner will advance to the Group IV state championship match.

In 2021, the Patriots defeated Toms River North High School in the Group IV semifinals. In the Group IV state championship match the Patriots fell to Kearny High School, 6-2.

“If we can make it (to the Group IV final), it would be awesome,” Tepedino said. “That was our goal from the beginning of the year. We want to play on the last day of the season.”

A second straight appearance in the Group IV final would add another accolade to a team that Tepedino believes has established itself as one of the best in Freehold Township’s history.

“Their names are right up there with the best of them in the history of Freehold Township boys soccer. It’s a testament to them for what they have done,” the coach said.

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