Huskies’ boys rebound from loss with big victories

first_imgBy WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent Matawan Regional High School’s Amil Muminovic, left, kicks the ball up the field while Holmdel High School’s Nick Chrystal tries to stop him during the Oct. 1 game played at Holmdel. The Matawan boys soccer team (8-2) is off to its best start in years, and it beat Holmdel, 3-1. STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ERIC SUCAR MATAWAN M atawan Regional High School’s boys soccer team is off to one of its best starts in coach Dave Deegan’s 14 seasons, rebounding from a 3-2 loss to Manasquan High School with a pair of big Shore Conference A Central Division victories.The Huskies come into this week with an 8-2 record after knocking off Holmdel High School, 3-1, on Oct. 1 and Monmouth Regional High School, 4-0, on Oct. 3.“I was interested in seeing how this team would bounce back. I’m very proud of this team,” Deegan said.Credit that to the senior leadership of center midfielder Matt Isaacson and forward Alex Cella, who lead a rebuilding effort that exceeds expectations.Isaacson got things going in the Holmdel victory when Matawan rallied from a 1-0 halftime deficit.“It was not one of our best halves, and I knew we had to get something going up front,” Isaacson said. “We had to get one goal to get confidence, and I said to my coach, ‘Put me at forward. I will get you a goal.’ “Isaacson played up to his request and tied the game early in the second half off a restart. Cella was pulled down when he used his raw speed for another of his many breakaways and converted the penalty kick for a 2-1 lead. Senior forward Abisai Gutierrez put in the insurance goal off a cross from senior midfielder Bronson Dhume.Matawan ended an eight-year drought against Holmdel.Against Monmouth Regional, Cella broke down the field for a shot that was deflected off junior midfielder Amil Muminovic. That was all goalkeeper Colin Thompson needed. Cella added the next two goals, the first off a pass from Gutierrez and the next one off a breakaway set up by sophomore midfielder Charlie Costello. Denir Radoncic capped the scoring with three minutes left.“The main thing is that we’ve had a positive attitude throughout the year,” Cella said. “We’re young. I haven’t gotten a sense of this team [personality] yet. We have to adjust, and the sophomores are nervous. We don’t have that experience yet. It’ll be something when that happens.”The Huskies looked to continue progressing when they visited Raritan High School on Oct. 7. They host St. John Vianney High School on Oct. 9.Cella’s sheer speed helps that development, and it has led to his team-high 13 goals. Matawan has a 28-10 edge in goals scored.“He’s one of the most dangerous players in the Shore. He’s so fast that he is dangerous even when he’s double-teamed,” Isaacson said. “That is how I look at everything. I don’t have the best skill or the best moves, but I have my speed,” Cella said.Deegan also credited his back line of interior defenders — sophomores Jacob Labinger and Keleb Mehari and outside backs Sada Mehari (senior) and Tyler Chin (sophomore).Sophomore Juris Stutts also starts at outside halfback. Girls soccer The Huskies’ girls are looking to end their scoring woes in a 4-6 start with games this week against Raritan on Oct. 7, at St. John Vianney on Oct. 9 and at Middletown High School North on Oct. 11. The team is driving toward berths in the Shore Conference and NJSIAA tournaments. Matawan comes off a 3-0 victory over Monmouth Regional on Oct. 3, as sophomore forwards Samantha Anderson and Lauren Conroy scored in the first half. Kacey Lambertson recorded the shutout in goal.“We’ve been playing close games, but it’s tough getting the ball in the back of the net,” coach Ken McCabe said, referring to 1-0 losses to Raritan and St. John Vianney earlier in the season that Matawan will look to avenge.Matawan has been shut out five times and been outscored, 19-13. With the way Matawan has been playing defense behind senior Colleen Branagan and sophomore DoraAnn Marshall in the middle and senior Lyndsey Larsen and junior Jenna Trischitta on the outside, the Huskies can make a run for the tournaments if the offense gets going.In 2011, Matawan won the Central Jersey Group III title. It was the team’s last winning season.Midfield starters include senior Endila Radoncic, junior Jaida Allison and sophomore Gabrielle Sferrazza, as Matawan goes into a 4-3-3 to try to get more scoring. Senior Jenna Howley is the other starter when the scheme is a 4-4-2.last_img

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