Revenge Against Howell Keeps Southern Alive in Shore Conference Boys Soccer

Rams Reach Quarterfinal After Penalty Kick Win
Oct 17, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy Aidan McInerney watches his touch head into the goal to cap the scoring in the Southern Regional boys soccer team’s 3-0 win over Barnegat in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament on Oct. 13.

The last time the Southern Regional boys soccer team squared off against Howell, the Rams were a struggling bunch, and with that 2-0 loss to the Rebels on Oct. 1, it culminated a five-game winless skid. But Southern hasn’t lost since.

“During that winless streak, we weren’t using our wings as much as we could have,” said junior midfielder Aidan McInerney after he scored the third of the Rams’ goals in a 3-0 win over Barnegat during the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament on Oct. 13. “Once we started using our wings more, it spread things out, and we were able to control the ball more. We were trying to jam the ball through the middle too much, but once we spread the offense, it created more chances to score.”

The eighth-seeded Rams (8-4-1) on Saturday created plenty of scoring chances against the 25th-seeded Bengals (6-5), easily dominating play throughout the contest and allowing Barnegat just a few shots on goal.

During the 15th minute of the game, Southern grabbed the initial lead when Kevin Kiernan buried a shot into the left corner. About 15 minutes later, Dylan Blauvelt made it 2-0 when he converted on a penalty kick. Just four minutes into the second half, Kiernan delivered a perfect pass to the front of the goal ,and McInerney one-touched it past Barnegat keeper Dominick Guiro from 4 yards out.

“We’re a highly skilled team, but we had a bad stretch for five games,” McInerney said. “Now we have ourselves together, and we’re on a roll. We have a lot of experience and a lot of us have played together for awhile, so we have good chemistry.”

The Rams definitely are rolling right now. Since the loss to Howell two weeks ago, Southern had registered four straight shutouts and six for the season, including a 3-0 win over Central Regional on Oct. 9, during which Kiernan scored a hat trick and Nico Leonard and Nico Wojdyla each gave out assists.

Interestingly, Southern’s SCT second-round contest was scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 16, against Howell, the tourney’s ninth seed. The Rams outlasted the Rebels during a penalty-kick shootout and advanced to the quarterfinals to face top-seeded Holmdel with a 2-1 victory.

“The last time we played Howell, it was on their field, and we controlled the play,” said Southern coach Guy Lockwood, whose squad hasn’t allowed more than two goals in any game this season, and three of its four losses are by a goal. “They scored a couple of goals in the second half, but we had a lot of scoring opportunities. We just didn’t finish well in that game, which is unusual for us.”

The Rams’ defense has been fantastic so far, giving up an average of less than a goal per game as Southern had outscored its opponents, 26-12, heading into this week’s action.

“Our center backs just don’t let anything get through,” McInerney said. “They don’t allow any balls to get by at the top of the box unless it’s over their heads. Nothing really gets by them unless the other team has a really good attack.”

Southern Girls Win
First SCT Contest

In what certainly was a rare feat, not only did the Southern boys win their first SCT contest, but the girls’ s soccer quad did as well – knocking off Red Bank Regional, 3-1, in the first game of the Rams’ home doubleheader on Oct. 13.

Grace Rickards, Karagan Bulger and Stefani Leonard each scored for the 15th-seeded Rams, while Sarah Harkness and Megan Lockwood contributed assists. Bulger also had an assist, while goalkeeper Lindsey Selert managed 13 saves to help lead the Rams (9-4).

Unfortunately, Southern’s SCT road ended on Oct. 16 following a 2-0 loss to second-seeded Red Bank Catholic.

Earlier last week, the Rams scored their eighth victory with a 3-0 shutout of Central Regional, as Lockwood scored the 37th goal of her career and gave out a pair of assists while Bulger and Rickards each scored goals and Selert tallied nine saves.

— David Biggy

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