Boys Soccer State Tournament Roundup

West Deptford Ends Barnegat’s Season in Soccer Quarterfinal

Pinelands and Southern Also Eliminated
Nov 07, 2017
Photo by: David Biggy Barnegat’s Ricky Norman attempts to get a shot on goal as a West Deptford defender and the goalkeeper converge during the Bengals’ 4-0 loss in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group II quarterfinals on Nov. 3.

Considering where the Barnegat High School boys soccer team has been in recent seasons, a 10-win campaign in which the Bengals qualified for the Shore Conference Tournament for the first time probably seemed like a dream they were living through.

“We definitely had a better season than in past years,” said coach Mike McCullion, whose squad’s season came to end following a 3-0 loss to West Deptford in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group II quarterfinals on Nov. 3. “We had a great group of seniors and the attitude was really good, and that kind of high energy really picked up the team. We had some guys who became good goal-scorers, and being able to put the ball in the goal more often really made up for wherever we lacked on the field.”

Against the third-seeded Eagles, the 11th-seeded Bengals mostly lacked physicality. West Deptford far outpaced Barnegat on 50-50 balls, at times easily ran the visiting Bengals off the ball and controlled play for long stretches of the contest.

“Coming into the game, I thought they were beatable, and we held our own for a while,” McCullion said. “But they were a little more physical and they got a couple of breaks early on. They won most of the 50-50s and they were more aggressive than us.”

The Bengals started off well, developing several scoring chances during the first 15 minutes. About 10 minutes into the game, senior Ryan Flaherty ran onto a ball in the penalty area and was dragged down by the arm, but the referee didn’t call a foul, which would have resulted in a penalty kick. A few minutes later, junior Ricky Norman got to a ball played into the box, but as the keeper challenged the play Norman booted the ball just to the left of the goal. Another corner kick moments later resulted in a header than soared over the crossbar.

The Eagles then took the game, possessing the ball for longer stretches while continuing to test the Bengals’ back line with long balls deep into the corners and working the ball back to the penalty area. Eventually, West Deptford broke through. With 3:06 left in the first half, Maguire Lyons cleanly one-touched a throw-in and buried it into the goal. Just over two minutes later, a service from near the left touch line was headed in by Kyle Whitehouse and the Eagles took a 2-0 lead into the half.

With West Deptford playing with more fire and confidence in the second half, the Bengals simply didn’t have enough to nullify it. A few minutes into the second half, senior Chad Fraser managed to get a shot off from about 20 yards, but it banged off the right post and was cleared. With 28:40 to go, Flaherty bent a shot aimed at the top-right corner, but the keeper deflected it over the crossbar.

Upon clearing the ensuing corner, West Deptford rushed the ball to the opposite end of the field and Lyons again one-touched a ball past Barnegat keeper Tyler Langan, giving the Eagles a three-goal advantage with 28 minutes left.

The loss ended the Bengals’ season with a 10-11 record.

“Flaherty was really big this season for us, and he and Ricky Norman really played well together up front,” McCullion said. “Corey Branz in the midfield and Chad Fraser in the back were really solid leaders for us, and Tyler had a big season in front of the goal. Our guys realized they were a solid group and they could play with a lot of teams. And making it to the Shore Conference Tournament, and then getting here to the quarterfinals of the state tournament, has given the younger guys some experience. And now they know what their goals are for next year.”

Pinelands Loses

SJ3 Semifinal

After easily knocking off 14th-seeded Gloucester Tech earlier last week, the Pinelands Regional boys soccer team continued its run toward a possible state sectional title when Frank Aguilar scored five minutes into the first overtime on Nov. 3 and the Wildcats advanced to the South Jersey Group III semifinals with a 5-4 victory over 11th-seeded Winslow.

Unfortunately, the third-seeded Wildcats’ run ended on Nov. 7 with a 5-2 loss to second-seeded Mainland, their season closing out with a 17-4-1 record. Anthony Diaz scored both goals for Pinelands, and Aniello Lubrano and Kieran Sundermann provided assists. Diaz’ second goal tied the contest at 2-2, but the Mustangs broke the deadlock with about 17 minutes to go and added two more goals during the final 15 minutes.

Against Winslow, the Wildcats trailed 4-1 at the half and rallied to tie the contest with three in the second half while keeping the Eagles (12-10) scoreless during the last 40 minutes of regulation. Diaz, Lubrano and Sundermann each had a goal and an assist, while the other Pinelands score was an own goal. Logan Johnson and Gavin Harris combined for six saves in front of the Pinelands goal.

“We had a great season and accomplished a lot of firsts,” said coach Nino Scotto di Carlo. “I’m a little disappointed we couldn’t accomplish more for our two seniors, especially our captain, Caden Sundermann, but, all in all, I am extremely proud of this group of guys and can’t wait for next season.”

Southern Falls Short

In SJ4 Quarters

Also on Nov. 3, the Southern Regional boys soccer team’s season came to end with a 12-8-1 record, as the 11th-seeded Rams dropped a 2-1 contest to third-seeded Shawnee in the South Jersey Group IV quarterfinals. After a scoreless first half, the Renegades were fueled by goals from Dan Goodson and Vaughn Paga, while Nico Leonard was assisted by Joe Kiernan for the Rams’ only goal. Keeper Braden Dugan made 11 saves to help keep the Rams close.

David Biggy

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