Pinelands Boys Soccer Falls Short of B South Crown
As regular seasons start winding down and tournament time ramps up, local teams begin their quests for postseason prominence.
Among them are the Pinelands Regional boys soccer team, which took on Point Pleasant Borough in a crucial matchup that decided the Shore Conference Class B South championship on Oct. 17. After dropping a 1-0 decision to the Panthers, the Wildcats (13-3 overall, 12-2 B South) on Monday evening were dealt the 15th seed for the upcoming Shore Conference Tournament.
Last week, Pinelands scored three straight shutouts – 4-0 against Jackson Liberty, 7-0 against Barnegat and another 4-0 contest against Lacey – to go into Monday’s clash with the Panthers tied for the B South lead. But a sixth-minute goal by Liam Kirinovic staked Point Borough to a lead it never relinquished, giving the Panthers the B South crown at 13-1.
Pinelands now will face off against 18th-seeded Shore Regional in the SCT’s preliminary round, with the winner scheduled to take on No. 2 Marlboro in the first round.
Meanwhile, for the first time in a long time the Southern Regional boys soccer team qualified for the SCT as well, given the 17th seed. The Rams (9-6) will play at 16th-seeded Colts Neck in the preliminary round, with the winner to meet top-seeded Christian Brothers Academy.
The Rams on Oct. 13 scored a 3-0 victory over Class A South foe Toms River East, then dropped a 1-0 decision to Toms River South the next day. Against the Raiders, Collin McHugh, Nick Sinopoli and Sam Iacoves each scored goals.
Gain SCT Berths
In girls soccer, both Barnegat (8-8) and Pinelands (7-7-2) earned spots in the SCT. The Wildcats secured their place with a 3-1 win over the Bengals on Oct. 12, fueled by a pair of goals from Aileen Cahill and another from Tori Angelus, who also assisted on Cahill’s goals. Alexis Kirk scored the Bengals’ only goal.
Unfortunately, the Wildcats’ seven-game unbeaten streak came crashing down on Oct. 14 during a 6-0 loss to Lacey, which was followed by a 3-0 loss to division winner Point Pleasant Borough on Oct. 17. As for the Bengals, they barely qualified for the SCT on the heels of a three-game losing streak, which was extended during a 5-1 loss to Point Borough on Oct. 14.
For the SCT, Pinelands received the 21st seed and will play at No. 12 Rumson-Fair Haven, with the winner to meet No. 5 Colts Neck. Barnegat received the 22nd seed and will meet up with No. 11 Point Pleasant Borough in the preliminary round, with the winner to face No. 6 Shore.
Teams in SCT
As if there wasn’t enough proof that the local girls volleyball scene has solidified with viable programs, all three local squads were awarded top-10 spots for this year’s Shore Conference Tournament, slated to begin on Oct. 27.
Barnegat on Oct. 17 secured the No. 6 seed for the SCT with a huge, 25-23, 25-23 win over previously undefeated Jackson Liberty, as Mary Rawley delivered eight kills and Roxy Urso and Lauren Walers each hammered down five kills. Emma Lloyd handed out 19 assists as well, pushing the Bengals to 11-8 overall.
In the SCT first round, Barnegat will host No. 11 Donovan Catholic, which the Bengals defeated in three games, 25-18, 22-25, 25-11, on Oct. 13. Lloyd had a mammoth effort in that contest: 13 assists, 15 digs and 23 service points, including nine aces.
As for the 14-5 Wildcats, they dropped a 2-0 contest to Jackson Liberty on Oct. 13 but rebounded on Monday with a 25-11, 25-20 victory over Lacey, during which Sydney Burke had six aces, five kills and five digs; Alex Houston had six digs; Kayla Thornton had five kills and five blocks; and Carly Jannsch had four digs, three aces and three kills.
For the SCT, Pinelands received the 10th seed and will travel to No. 7 Red Bank Catholic for the first round. Southern (14-10), which lost a 2-0 contest to Toms River North on Monday, is the fifth seed in the SCT and will host No. 12 Jackson Liberty in the first round.
On Oct. 15, the Rams knocked off Long Branch, 25-18, 25-14, as Tatiyana Ford delivered on 11 service points, including five aces; Lauren Cruse and Olivia Maxwell each banged down four kills; and Morgan Koeppen recorded six assists and two aces.
In field hockey, No. 12 Pinelands on Oct. 15 knocked off 21st-seeded St. Rose, 3-0, in a Shore Conference Tournament preliminary-round clash, but on Monday was ousted from the SCT during a 3-0, first-round loss to No. 5 Freehold Borough.
Against the Purple Roses, goaltender Julia Kline needed just two saves for the shutout, while Madison Dancisin, Rachel Papernik and Brianna Suralik each scored for the Wildcats (10-4). Papernik and Susie Cardillo each had assists during the win. Against the Colonials, Pinelands gave up all three goals in the first half. Kline made five saves.