2000-12-13 / Sports
Cougar and Brave duos top All-District soccer team
With Colts Neck (19-6) and Manalapan (17-4-1) providing the highlights, the 2000 soccer season was one for the books.
Art Collier’s Cougars stunned everyone by capturing the Group I state championship in just their second year of varsity play. When they beat Bound Brook in the semifinals of the Central Jersey Group I tourney, it was reason to celebrate because it was their first state win. However, the Cougars were just warming up. They would beat South River next and capture the Central Jersey Group I crown. After that it was a shootout win over Bordentown in the state semifinals, and, finally, a 4-2 win over Whippany Park at Kean University, Union, that ended Colts Neck’s remarkable run for the state championship.
John Natoli’s Braves were the top team in the Shore, and they confirmed it by winning the Shore Conference Tournament in the most one-sided final ever, a brilliant 8-0 victory over Ocean. The Braves’ domination of the SCT was thorough.
Howell (14-5-2) and Freehold Borough (15-5-1) were both top teams as well. The Rebels were top-ranked in the Shore for a period of time and remained one of the conference’s best after wining a pair of state playoff games (including an upset on the road of defending champion East Brunswick) and reaching the Central Jersey Group IV semifinals.
Freehold Borough lost the C Central title by just one game and made both the SCT and state playoffs like Colts Neck, Manalapan and Howell.
Manalapan’s Pat DiComo and Ahmet Kamil, and Colts Neck’s duo of Shawn Caltigirone and Ryan Sova, the players who led their teams to their respective titles, head the New Transcript’s 2000 All-Freehold District boys soccer team.
Joining them are Howell’s Nick Guilfoyle, Marc Fay, Pat Montefinese and Rob Renuart; Freehold Borough’s Bryan Cavallaro, Abhay Singh and Alex Kennedy; Freehold Township’s Bill Cosentino and Jariq Hamami; Colts Neck’s Ryan Aldridge; Manalapan’s Rob Hanlon and Andrew Logel; and Marlboro’s Matt Marcus.
DiComo was the Monmouth County Player of the Year. The senior midfielder was Manalapan’s play maker and on-field leader. Everything was funneled through the savvy and talented midfielder, who has an innate sense of where to be at all times. He was among the Shore’s leading scorers this fall with seven goals and 14 assists.
Kamil, one of the Braves’ tri-captains, is one of the best skilled players in the Shore, someone who demands double-teaming. Kamil used his passing to get everyone involved in the play as teams focused on keeping him from getting any open space. Still, the senior led the balanced Braves’ attack with 11 goals and seven assists.
Sophomore Caltigirone more than lived up to the promise he showed as a freshman. The speedy forward turned into a scoring machine, leading the Shore in scoring with 26 goals and another 12 assists for 54 points. A very aggressive, relentless attacker, he has a knack for being in the right place at the right time, either creating chances or finishing them off. He had two assists in the state championship.
Sova gave Colts Neck a pair of dashing, aggressive forwards who took it to the opposition. Sova, who came up big for the Cougars in the playoffs, had 15 goals and six assists. He scored Colts Neck’s first goal in the state final and that proved to be the team’s spark as the Cougars went on to score four times in a span of 9:40.
Guilfoyle was Howell’s most complete player. The senior center midfielder was the Rebels’ connection from defense to offense with his two-way play. His field vision and passing triggered a potent Rebel attack. He had six goals and seven assists on the season.
Up front, Howell had a pair of scoring threats in Fay and Montefinese, which made it doubly difficult for teams to defend them. Fay, a senior, and Montefinese, a junior, ended up working very well together. Fay had 13 goals and six assists, while Montefinese matched him with 13 goals and five assists.
Cavallaro blossomed into a fine all-around player this fall, one of the best in the Shore. The senior forward became a focus of the Colonials’ attack and did an outstanding job of getting everyone involved. He led the Colonials with 16 goals and seven assists, good for 39 points, putting him in the upper echelon of the conference’s scorers.
Kennedy’s pure speed (he is the reigning Shore Conference and Central Jersey sprint champion) was a major weapon for the Colonials. He scored 14 goals on the season and had three assists.
Three-year starter Cosentino was the Pats’ field general. The center midfielder had six goals and five assists this year as he led the Pats to the postseason.
Marcus, a senior, had a solid season for the Mustangs at forward. He delivered 12 goals and four assists and led Marlboro’s late-season surge.
Colts Neck could attack with the best with their up-front speed, but they didn’t win a state championship without defense. Senior Aldridge was the team’s security blanket. The sweeper back was all over the field, thwarting offenses and then triggering Colts Neck’s transition with his passing and dribbling. He did find the time to score four goals.
Singh was quietly spectacular this fall. The Colonial senior made a smooth transition from stopper back to sweeper. He was able to display all-around talents more from his new position. He had a goal and two assists while quarterbacking the defense.
Hamami was one of the outstanding stopper backs in the Shore. A co-captain with Cosentino, Hamami could start the Pats’ offense from the back with his skills. He had two goals and two assists.
In Manalapan’s run to the SCT title it was easy to overlook the defense; however, the Braves wouldn’t have been 17-4-1 and top-ranked in the Shore without making life difficult for offenses. Hanlon, a senior, was Manalapan’s marking back, charged with shadowing the opposition’s best. He can take his credit for the shutout the Braves put up.
Renuart had another very strong year in the net for the Rebels. The senior had more pressure put on him this year because of the loss of so many defenders to graduation, and he responded positively. Renuart not only makes the spectacular save, but avoids giving up the easy ones. He had eight shutouts.
Logel completed the Braves’ tri-captaincy, and like DiComo and Kamil, was a team leader on and off the field. The senior tied for the Shore lead with 11 shutouts. Even though the Braves’ offense was overpowering this fall, Logel always seemed to make the big save when needed.
Those earning honorable mention are Chris Roche, Mitch Kapsaskis, Sal Avino, Jesus Salinas and Michael Augello, Colts Neck; Dave Hatcher, Kasim Whitehouse and Dan Romaroson, Freehold Borough; Mario Szatkowski, Jeff Estremera and Ryan Brown, Freehold Township; Frank Burgaretta, Rob Whyte and Rich Whyte, Howell; Steve Reiter, Dan Saffer and Mahesh Varadarajan, Manalapan; and Tom Zubulake, Vin Passalacqua and Yoni Litwok, Marlboro.