CBA takes second-straight Shore Conference title, looks toward states
By Rich Fisher | Correspondent
The Christian Brothers Academy boys’ soccer team certainly feels good about winning a second straight Shore Conference Tournament championship, but first-year coach Tom Mulligan feels the Colts are looking for an even bigger sensation.
“The team was really excited to get the 10th SCT championship (in school history),” Mulligan said. “But we won an SCT last year and this team has not won a state championship since 2011 and that’s the ultimate goal this year. We’re looking forward to the last part of the season.”
CBA reached the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Non-Public A championship game last year before dropping a 2-0 decision in legendary coach Dan Keane’s final game. With eight regulars returning from that team, the Colts are seeking every tournament title in sight this year.
“I believe that we’re playing with a lot of confidence right now from many different spots on the field,” said Mulligan, who was Keane’s long-time assistant before taking over. “As long as we stay healthy and maintain our energy level heading into the last two weeks, it’s going to be an exciting time for CBA soccer.”
Asked if the trip to the finals will pay dividends for this year’s returnees, Mulligan said, “We’re going to find out. Hopefully if we can survive the state tournament and get to that championship game and we’ll find out how much it means. We have eight returning players from that game. I think if we can get to the finals we’ll know what it takes.”
CBA carried a 20-1 record into its first-round South Jersey Non Public A game with St. John Vianney on Nov. 3. Its only loss was a 3-1 setback to Marlboro on Oct. 13, which was played without top defender Scott Misson. With Misson out, P.J. Ringel scored two Marlboro goals.
But with the senior having returned, he and his teammates did a nice job shutting down Ringel to take a 2-0 victory over Marlboro in the SCT championship game at Central Regional High School in Bayville Oct. 29.
“Scott Misson is a tremendous defender and he’s an integral key component of our defense, he’s really important to our team,” Mulligan said. “He’s our captain, he’s our leader and gives us security on that back line. When he was out, we had to put guys in some slots they were unaccustomed to this year.”
Misson’s return had everyone back to normal, and CBA was able to keep Ringel from being too dangerous just by doing what it does best.
“PJ’s a great player, but we never talked about marking PJ,” Mulligan said. “We discussed playing our brand of soccer for 80 minutes. We have yet to focus on one individual on one team. It’s more about what we’re doing as a group.”
The Colts jumped to an early lead when Matt Mawson scored off a return pass from Patrick Kollman in the 15th minute. CBA got an insurance goal when John Askin, the lone junior in a starting lineup of 10 seniors, converted a pass from Tom Judge.
After the final whistle sounded, Mulligan said it felt no different winning a title as a head coach, than it did as an assistant.
“I’ve been a part of the CBA basketball program for 15 years and soccer for over 20 years and every time our team wins a championship, whether you’re a head coach or an assistant, it’s always special,” Mulligan said. “You can see the happiness in the players and the joy in their eyes and that’s what makes it special. It never changes, no matter what level you’re coaching at.”
The crux of this year’s Colts include senior veterans Kollman, Judge, Mawson, Misson, Matt Thorsheim, Aaron Robertson, Ryan Nigro, Colin Lankau and Aedan Boriotti, while senior Ryan O’Connor is a first-year starter along with junior Askin. Sophomore Joe Lozowski and Jack Gill are key reserves.
It is a group that Mulligan will count on to play the CBA way, which is a possession oriented game that attacks with numbers from every position.
“We had an assist from our outside back (against Marlboro) and a goal from our center-back,” the coach said. “We can score from many different places on the field. If they want to put several players on one of our key forwards, that’s OK with us. It will open it up for someone else.
“If we can play our style of soccer in the states, than that’s going to be massive for our team. Were gonna be pretty tough to deal with if we’re allowed to play our style of soccer.” [[In-content Ad]]