first_img BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer The Middletown High School South boys soccer team has been pointing toward the postseason since September, and the Eagles are flying high. Coach Sean Reid’s team has been dominant in the Shore Conference tourney, downing Ocean (2-0) and Toms River South (1-0) to reach the semifinals on Friday. There the Eagles dominated CBA en route to a 6-1 victory and a meeting on Monday night against Toms River North for the conference crown. “We’re peaking at just the right time,” said Reid of his 17-0-1 team. “The old saying is that offense wins games and defense wins championships; well, we have both playing at their best right now.” Following the Shore finale, the Eagles will begin play in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section II Group III playoffs on Friday against the winner of the West Morris-Milburn game. Middletown South received a first-round bye as the second seed. Scotch Plains is the top seed. Meanwhile, the defense has been getting the job done all year long for the Eagles. Junior goalie Brian Hessinger, playing with two broken toes, has been outstanding behind a defense that includes sweeper Ryan Leahey, 6-0, 230-pound stopper Anthony Testa, and gritty 6-3 marking back David Kumm, who has tonsillitis and will have surgery after the season. In recent years Middletown South has mainly been known for its high-powered offense led by Tom Gray and Thomas Campbell. Both players have again been superlative. Gray leads the team in scoring with 20 goals and 21 assists, while Campbell has 21 goals to go with 15 assists. “We’re a team now, and our supporting cast is as good as, if not better than, anyone’s,” Reid said. “If anyone thinks we’re just the Tom and Tom show, they’re mistaken.” Chris Trimboli has been another mainstay on offense, contributing 11 goals and seven assists; and Leahey, playing with a brace due to a torn meniscus, has six goals and four assists from his sweeper post. In the middle Billy Snyder is a key along with Tyler Kimble, who has been playing through an illness. “As well as our guys have played, I don’t think they’ve been at their best yet,” Reid said. That’s not a pleasant thought for any Middletown South opponent. Notes… Following Monday night’s SCT final, the Eagles were set to concentrate on the state tournament, along with a handful of other local teams. The Christian Brothers Academy Colts received the No. 4 seed in the South Jersey Parochial A tournament, and will take on St. Joseph’s of Metuchen on Friday. St. Joe’s will also be playing for the Greater Middlesex Conference championship on Sunday against South Brunswick, and is playing its best soccer of the year. On the other side of the bracket, the seventh-seeded St. John Vianney Lancers will take on second-seeded Paul VI on Friday. The Middletown North Lions got the seventh seed in the Central Jersey Group IV tournament, and were set to take on No. 10 Old Bridge yesterday in the first round. The winner will take on the winner of the Marlboro-Brick Memorial opening-round game on Friday. In girls action, the St. John Vianney Lancers are the second seed in the South Jersey Parochial A tournament, behind top-seeded Red Bank Catholic. The Lancers will take on Bishop Ahr, seeded seventh, tomorrow, with the winner to face the winner of the Gloucester Catholic-Holy Cross game one Monday. The Middletown North girls entered Monday’s first-round action with the unenviable task of taking on fourth-seeded Hunterdon Central in their Central Jersey Group IV tourney opener. The Lions got the No. 13 seed, and were hoping to advance to tomorrow’s second round, where the winner of the East Brunswick-Hillsborough game would be waiting. Old Bridge is the top seed in this bracket. As for the Middletown South girls, they squared off with Colonia on Monday in the first round of the North Jersey Section II Group III tournament. The Eagles were the eighth seed in the tournament, and were playing for the right to take on top-seeded Ridge in tomorrow’s second-round action. BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer last_img

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