CBA soccer caps ‘great year’ with third consecutive South Jersey championship battle

November 17, 2023 at 7:00 a.m.
The Colts soccer team of Christian Brothers Acadamy, Lincroft, gathers for a victory photo after winning the Shore Conference Tournament title Oct. 23. They lost their NJSIAA Nonpublic A final championship game Nov. 10 to Seton Hall Prep. Photo courtesy of CBA
The Colts soccer team of Christian Brothers Acadamy, Lincroft, gathers for a victory photo after winning the Shore Conference Tournament title Oct. 23. They lost their NJSIAA Nonpublic A final championship game Nov. 10 to Seton Hall Prep. Photo courtesy of CBA

By RICH FISHER
Contributing Editor

A passerby on the Franklin Township High School turf yelled over to Tom Mulligan, “Congratulations on a good year.” He was quickly corrected.

“It was a great year,” the Christian Brothers Academy soccer coach said.

Indeed it was. Despite falling one game short of the ultimate year, the Lincroft-based school enjoyed another season that would make most programs envious.

CBA finished with a 17-3-1 record that included its third straight Shore Conference Tournament title and third consecutive NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public A championship.

The only blemish came in Franklin Nov. 10 when Seton Hall Prep, West Orange, ranked No. 1 in New Jersey, knocked off the then-No. 2-ranked CBA Colts, 3-0. It was the third straight meeting between the teams in the state finals, with CBA winning last year’s meeting.


CBA-Team: The CBA soccer team lines up for pre-game introductions prior to the NJSIAA Non-Public A championship game against Seton Hall Prep. Rich Fisher photo

 

Eddie Krupski proved to be CBA’s undoing. The Rutgers-bound forward scored 7:58 into the game to make it 1-0, and tallied the final goal 7:52 into the second half for what was the death blow.

“Once they got that first goal (4:42 into the second half) it was like ‘Alright, we’re down 2-0, let’s try to pick ourselves up,’” said senior Dimitry Corba, playing his first in nearly a month due to a knee injury. “That third goal was a nail in the coffin. We kind of put our heads down and had to start switching what we were doing; rushing a little bit. That was the goal that killed us.”

It’s not surprising it came off the foot of Krupski, who finished his senior season with 30 goals.

“He’s hard to play,” Corba said. “I’ve known him forever. He’s a great kid. I hate playing against him. I’ve played against him for years and in the state finals he got the best of me two out of three times.”

While the two second-half goals were back breakers, Mulligan felt Krupski’s first score set somewhat of a tone.

 

CBA coach Tom Mulligan has a pregame chat with a referee prior to the state final. Rich Fisher photo

CBA coach Tom Mulligan has a pregame chat with a referee prior to the state final. Rich Fisher photo

“The first goal in the first 10 minutes was a little upsetting to us,” the coach said. “I think we were a little passive initially. I was hoping for a little more aggressiveness from our back line. Seton Hall took it to us in that first half a little bit. We really couldn’t get anything going forward until later in the first half. We had an opportunity or two but at this level when you don’t capitalize it can come back to haunt you.”

Seton Hall goalie Roy Bonanno preserved the one-goal lead with several big saves, most notably one on CBA leading scorer Dylan Millevoi, whose low shot from 10 yards out was smothered by the keeper.

The Colts seized some of the play late in the half before the Pirates took it back with their early blitz after intermission. With CBA pushing up late, it got several opportunities but nothing overly dangerous. Still, the fight remained until the final buzzer sounded.

“It’s always there; even if we’re down we never give up,” Corba said. “We just try to keep going. You never know what can happen. We tried to get one goal and if we did that, we’d try to get another and keep it going and going. Unfortunately we didn’t get the goal but we kept working until the end.”

Mulligan agreed, saying, “The boys’ effort was tremendous on both sides. Seton Hall was just the better team tonight. They’ll get the rewards they deserve.”

When the sting of the loss subsides, CBA’s seniors will have the pleasant memories to relish. Winning one SCT title is hard; winning three straight was something never before accomplished by the Colts. They did it despite graduating a wealth of starters last year.

“I’m really proud of their effort tonight, especially the seniors,” Mulligan said. “It’s a quality group; we’re gonna miss that class of seniors. They were one of the best classes to come through CBA soccer in its history. They proved that with three straight Shore Conference titles.”


Senior Dimitry Corba, who played through pain in his knee in the state final, listens to coach Tom Mulligan after CBA's loss in the Non-Public A final. Rich Fisher photo

The class features Corba, John Gambale, Lawrence Mancino, Dylan Millevoi, Sean Galvin, Charlie Pesce, Dan Dinnell, Cameron D’Alterio, Conor Mellor, Christian DeOliveira and goalie Miles Gallagher, who did not allow a goal in five straight games encompassing the Shore and South Jersey tournaments. Gallagher and the defense were key during a season in which the Colts had some offensive issues.

Corba typified CBA’s grit and toughness. He suffered a high grade knee sprain against Marlboro Oct. 13 and, despite still being in pain, was determined to play in the state final.

“It hurts a little bit right now, it’s a little sore,” he said after the match. “It was my last game ever; I figured I’d just grind it out for the team.”

Mulligan was not about to stop him.

“I would never jeopardize a kid’s health,” he said. “But I know Dimitry and he would want nothing more than to contribute to tonight’s performance. As a three-year varsity player, I felt he deserved to get some minutes tonight and it looked like he was moving pretty good.

“I decided to stay with him a little longer than I originally planned. He didn’t complain, he didn’t say he was in a lot of pain and he wanted to get right back out there when he came off, so good for him. That’s our ‘No guts, no glory’ philosophy we have here.”

Although the glory didn’t come in his final game; Corba will look back on the season – and his career – with a smile.

“I think we’re all really proud of the effort we gave day in, day out,” he said. “We trained hard. Some games didn’t go our way. We rebounded. At practice we would work, push each other to the limit, actually. There’s a lot to be proud of. It stings a little bit that we didn’t win this game but we did the best we could.”

That’s all Mulligan could ask. He told his team that the loss hurts “because it was meaningful to you. We celebrate the victories because it’s meaningful and we agonize over the defeats because it’s meaningful, and that’s part of high school sports.

“They’ll look back on this in the future,” he continued, “and they’ll cherish these experiences they had at CBA.”

Including this senior year which, as Mulligan pointed out, was not just good, it was great.



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A passerby on the Franklin Township High School turf yelled over to Tom Mulligan, “Congratulations on a good year.” He was quickly corrected.

“It was a great year,” the Christian Brothers Academy soccer coach said.

Indeed it was. Despite falling one game short of the ultimate year, the Lincroft-based school enjoyed another season that would make most programs envious.

CBA finished with a 17-3-1 record that included its third straight Shore Conference Tournament title and third consecutive NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public A championship.

The only blemish came in Franklin Nov. 10 when Seton Hall Prep, West Orange, ranked No. 1 in New Jersey, knocked off the then-No. 2-ranked CBA Colts, 3-0. It was the third straight meeting between the teams in the state finals, with CBA winning last year’s meeting.


CBA-Team: The CBA soccer team lines up for pre-game introductions prior to the NJSIAA Non-Public A championship game against Seton Hall Prep. Rich Fisher photo

 

Eddie Krupski proved to be CBA’s undoing. The Rutgers-bound forward scored 7:58 into the game to make it 1-0, and tallied the final goal 7:52 into the second half for what was the death blow.

“Once they got that first goal (4:42 into the second half) it was like ‘Alright, we’re down 2-0, let’s try to pick ourselves up,’” said senior Dimitry Corba, playing his first in nearly a month due to a knee injury. “That third goal was a nail in the coffin. We kind of put our heads down and had to start switching what we were doing; rushing a little bit. That was the goal that killed us.”

It’s not surprising it came off the foot of Krupski, who finished his senior season with 30 goals.

“He’s hard to play,” Corba said. “I’ve known him forever. He’s a great kid. I hate playing against him. I’ve played against him for years and in the state finals he got the best of me two out of three times.”

While the two second-half goals were back breakers, Mulligan felt Krupski’s first score set somewhat of a tone.

 

CBA coach Tom Mulligan has a pregame chat with a referee prior to the state final. Rich Fisher photo

CBA coach Tom Mulligan has a pregame chat with a referee prior to the state final. Rich Fisher photo

“The first goal in the first 10 minutes was a little upsetting to us,” the coach said. “I think we were a little passive initially. I was hoping for a little more aggressiveness from our back line. Seton Hall took it to us in that first half a little bit. We really couldn’t get anything going forward until later in the first half. We had an opportunity or two but at this level when you don’t capitalize it can come back to haunt you.”

Seton Hall goalie Roy Bonanno preserved the one-goal lead with several big saves, most notably one on CBA leading scorer Dylan Millevoi, whose low shot from 10 yards out was smothered by the keeper.

The Colts seized some of the play late in the half before the Pirates took it back with their early blitz after intermission. With CBA pushing up late, it got several opportunities but nothing overly dangerous. Still, the fight remained until the final buzzer sounded.

“It’s always there; even if we’re down we never give up,” Corba said. “We just try to keep going. You never know what can happen. We tried to get one goal and if we did that, we’d try to get another and keep it going and going. Unfortunately we didn’t get the goal but we kept working until the end.”

Mulligan agreed, saying, “The boys’ effort was tremendous on both sides. Seton Hall was just the better team tonight. They’ll get the rewards they deserve.”

When the sting of the loss subsides, CBA’s seniors will have the pleasant memories to relish. Winning one SCT title is hard; winning three straight was something never before accomplished by the Colts. They did it despite graduating a wealth of starters last year.

“I’m really proud of their effort tonight, especially the seniors,” Mulligan said. “It’s a quality group; we’re gonna miss that class of seniors. They were one of the best classes to come through CBA soccer in its history. They proved that with three straight Shore Conference titles.”


Senior Dimitry Corba, who played through pain in his knee in the state final, listens to coach Tom Mulligan after CBA's loss in the Non-Public A final. Rich Fisher photo

The class features Corba, John Gambale, Lawrence Mancino, Dylan Millevoi, Sean Galvin, Charlie Pesce, Dan Dinnell, Cameron D’Alterio, Conor Mellor, Christian DeOliveira and goalie Miles Gallagher, who did not allow a goal in five straight games encompassing the Shore and South Jersey tournaments. Gallagher and the defense were key during a season in which the Colts had some offensive issues.

Corba typified CBA’s grit and toughness. He suffered a high grade knee sprain against Marlboro Oct. 13 and, despite still being in pain, was determined to play in the state final.

“It hurts a little bit right now, it’s a little sore,” he said after the match. “It was my last game ever; I figured I’d just grind it out for the team.”

Mulligan was not about to stop him.

“I would never jeopardize a kid’s health,” he said. “But I know Dimitry and he would want nothing more than to contribute to tonight’s performance. As a three-year varsity player, I felt he deserved to get some minutes tonight and it looked like he was moving pretty good.

“I decided to stay with him a little longer than I originally planned. He didn’t complain, he didn’t say he was in a lot of pain and he wanted to get right back out there when he came off, so good for him. That’s our ‘No guts, no glory’ philosophy we have here.”

Although the glory didn’t come in his final game; Corba will look back on the season – and his career – with a smile.

“I think we’re all really proud of the effort we gave day in, day out,” he said. “We trained hard. Some games didn’t go our way. We rebounded. At practice we would work, push each other to the limit, actually. There’s a lot to be proud of. It stings a little bit that we didn’t win this game but we did the best we could.”

That’s all Mulligan could ask. He told his team that the loss hurts “because it was meaningful to you. We celebrate the victories because it’s meaningful and we agonize over the defeats because it’s meaningful, and that’s part of high school sports.

“They’ll look back on this in the future,” he continued, “and they’ll cherish these experiences they had at CBA.”

Including this senior year which, as Mulligan pointed out, was not just good, it was great.


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