High-SchoolNew-Jersey: Soccer

The Top 10 Stories of the Year in New Jersey

December, 29, 2011
The year 2011 is winding down to a close and what a year it was in sports. Here are the top 10 stories from the New Jersey high school sports scene:

10. Pin 'Em Down
Andrew Campolattano epitomized dominance on the mat, capping his prep career with a fourth state wrestling title (215 pounds). The Brook Bound senior also set a state record in career wins (178) and pins (117) and lost just once in four years. He's now a freshman wrestler at Ohio State.

9. What a Farewell
Vincent Ascolese's final football game as coach on the North Bergen sidelines was one he'll never forget. Bruins wideout Debray Tavarez caught a 22-yard touchdown pass as time expired to stun previously undefeated Montclair, 14-13, in the North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 championship.

8. Gillie the Kidd
Michael Gilchrist may have fallen short of a perfect season and state title as a senior at St. Patrick, but one of the greatest players to come out of New Jersey still made his mark. Gilchrist earned Mr. Basketball USA honors before being named co-MVP at the McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago. Now known as Michael Gilchrist-Kidd in honor of his late uncle, he's holding his own as a freshman swingman for Kentucky.

7. California Love
Kyle Anderson could have gone anywhere in the country to play college basketball, but on the day before his birthday (Sept. 19), the St. Anthony senior committed to UCLA. Anderson's decision was huge for the Bruins, who snagged the nation's fifth-best senior recruit.

6. No Gray Area
Winning a state title is nothing new for St. Benedict's Prep — the Gray Bees copped their 23rd straight Prep A crown this past fall. But the Gray Bees ended a five-year drought atop the national standings by going 24-0 and finishing atop the POWERADE FAB 50. Christiano Francois led the way with 43 goals and 22 assists.

5. CBA Runs Away with State, National Titles
Christian Brothers Academy tore through the regular season before winning its record 17th Meet of Champions crown and extending their national-record dual-meet win streak to 315 (and counting). The Colts went on to finish first at the prestigious Nike Cross Nationals meet with a meet-record 91 points and a course-record average of 15:58.99.

4. Perfect Saint
St. Anthony entered the season with a couple new faces, as Kyle Anderson and Myles Mack joined the Friars after Paterson Catholic was forced to shut down. The duo turned out to be the biggest reasons behind the Friars' 33-0 season, state title and top ranking in the final POWERADE FAB 50.

3. King Edward
With the Rosa twins and Lukas Verzbicas gone, Edward Cheserek wasted little time picking up the baton as the nation's best cross country runner. The St. Benedict's junior harrier won all eight of his races this season, setting course records in the first seven before winning the prestigious Foot Locker Nationals meet.

2. The Don
After beginning the year at No. 1 and with a bevy of tough opponents on the schedule, Don Bosco Prep's football team passed the test with flying colors. Led by a suffocating defense, the Ironmen went 11-0 en route to their sixth straight Non-Public Group 4 title and second national crown in three years.

1. Who's No. 1?
Perhaps it's fitting the top story was the epic battle for the state and nation's top spot on the hardwood when No. 2 St. Anthony and No. 1 St. Patrick met in the Non-Public North B championship. The Celtics led for most of the way, but the Friars put together a late run in the fourth quarter to take control and win, 62-45, at the RAC.

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Fall postseason update

November, 16, 2011
From the nation's No. 1 team (Don Bosco Prep) to the nation's No. 5 baller (Kyle Anderson of St. Anthony), I know you've heard plenty about football and basketball of late. But don't think I've forgotten about the equally important and intense postseason battles taking place in the other fall sports of soccer and cross country. Here's an update on how things have shaken out:

*Surprise, surprise. Christian Brothers Academy, No. 3 in the Dyestat rankings, won its 23rd cross country team state title, tying Bernards for the most in state history. The Colts broke their own meet record with an average mark of 16:11. CBA senior George Kelly took the individual crown with a time of 16:05, helping the Colts down rival Don Bosco Prep, 18-45, in the Non-Public A race.

*Tim Ball of Piscataway looked impressive entering this weekend's Meet of Champions, running a time of 15:38 to capture the Group 4 title. Click here to read more about the group championships at Dyestat.

*Christian Brothers also found success on the soccer field, completing a 21-0 season with a 1-0 win in the Non-Public A championship against Delbarton. Scott Thomsen provided the winning goal just over a minute into the first overtime period, pushing the Colts to their first title in nine years and the No. 4 ranking in the latest POWERADE FAB 50.

*Freshman Malcolm Dixon stepped up in a big way in the Non-Public B title, knocking a deflected shot into the net to give Montclair Kimberley a 1-0 overtime win against Gill St. Bernard's for the state crown.

*On Thursday and Sunday, Groups 1-4 will play their respective soccer championships at The College of New Jersey. Here's how the schedule looks:

Group 4: Bridgewater-Raritan vs. Cherokee
Group 3: Ramapo vs. Timber Creek

Group 2: Bernards vs. Holmdel
Group 1: Waldwick vs. Haddon Township

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

St. Benedict's soccer wins 23rd straight state title

November, 8, 2011
Twenty-three like Jordan. That's how many consecutive Prep A state championships St. Benedict's has now won after downing Pennington, 4-1, this past weekend. Christiano Francois led the way, netting two goals to run his season total to a ridiculous 44.

The Gray Bees finished 24-0 and tops in the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings. Click here to read more about St. Benedict's great accomplishment.
The October issue of ESPNHS magazine hits schools this week, and wouldn't you know that St. Benedict's Prep just took hold of the top spot in our latest POWERADE FAB 50 soccer rankings. Needless to say, the Gray Bees were represented well on this year's All-State soccer team. See who else made the cut in the Garden State:

New Jersey All-State Soccer

Starting 11
[F] Brandon Allen, St. Joseph (Met.), Senior, Red Bulls Academy
Georgetown commit racked up 30 goals and four assists last season

[F] Ismar Tandir, Hackettstown, Junior, Match Fit Chelsea
Recorded 10 goals and two assists in breakout sophomore season

[F] Scott Thomsen, Christian Brothers, Senior, Red Bulls Academy
Expected to have big senior year after missing 2010 with knee injury

[MF] Mael Corboz, Pingry, Senior, NJSA 04
Rutgers pledge had four goals and 14 assists as a junior

Read More »

St. Benedict's Prep soccer takes over nation's top spot

September, 27, 2011
With Jesuit (Calif.) boasting a 67-game win streak, it seemed as if St. Benedict's Prep would be stuck at No. 2 in the national rankings all season. But a not-so lucky draw for Jesuit and dominant play by the Gray Bees has allowed them to inherit the top spot in the latest POWERADE FAB 50.

Want to know how good the nation's new No. 1 squad is? Look no further than this stat: In 10 games, the Gray Bees have scored 47 goals and allowed only 20 shots on goal to their opponents.

In other soccer news around the state, Scotch Plains-Fanwood coach Tom Breznitsky notched his 600th career win last Tuesday. He's the fourth coach in the Garden State to reach this mark. Read more in this Star-Ledger report.

Also, check back here tomorrow to find out who made our annual All-State soccer team.

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Six pack of New Jersey soccer teams in POWERADE FAB 50

September, 13, 2011
St. Benedict's Prep passed its first major test of the season, defeating New York soccer power Chaminade, 3-1, on Sunday behind Pablo Perez's two goals. The win solidified the Gray Bees' No. 2 national spot, but they aren't the only New Jersey squad representing well in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Coming in after the Gray Bees are Pingry at No. 6 and Christian Brothers Academy at No. 10 following victories in their first contests of the year.

See which other two Garden State programs made the national rankings by clicking here.

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

New Jersey soccer preview

August, 25, 2011
Last, but certainly not least, we round out New Jersey's fall sports with soccer. And boy, is there a lot to talk about on the futbol scene.

Of course any conversation about soccer must start with St. Benedict's Prep, which has won a ridiculous 22 consecutive state titles. And get this — the Gray Bees could field one of their best teams ever this fall. All eleven, count 'em, 11 starters are slated to be Development Academy players, led by senior midfielder Christian Hernandez. Needless to say, the Gray Bees enter the season slotted second in the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings, with four other local teams joining them on the list.

Want more local soccer news? Our resident futbol expert Sheldon Shealer has got you covered with preseason rankings and an in-depth state preview, which highlights the top players as well as games to watch in New Jersey this year.

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter (@brandoncparker) or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.