Bombers in the mix in White Division race


Staff Writer

Frank Carr and his Monroe Falcons are one of several local soccer teams that have played their way into contention for their respective division titles early on.Frank Carr and his Monroe Falcons are one of several local soccer teams that have played their way into contention for their respective division titles early on. The Sayreville War Memorial High School boys soccer team is out of the gate with a 3-1 mark as it seeks to move up in the Greater Middlesex Conference White Division standings this season.

The Bombers are coming off a solid 10-5-3 year, which earned them a trip to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV playoffs – their seventh straight playoff berth – where they were eliminated in the opening round by Howell.

Coach Nick Cifelli noted that his team has the fifth best record in the county over the past five years, but two of the teams with better records, East Brunswick and Monroe, are also in the White Division. The other teams ahead of Sayreville are North Brunswick and Highland Park.

Thus far, Monroe is the only team to beat Sayreville, scoring a 4-1 win. The Bombers jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Lamin Sidibeh’s goal and were tied at the half. Monroe got up and pulled away in the second half. The two teams are scheduled to meet again in Sayreville on Tuesday.

In its other matches, Sayreville downed Perth Amboy, 2-1, behind goals by freshman Kene Eze and Jeff Rapach, who put home the game-winner; South Plainfield, 6-1, with Eze pumping in four tallies and Colly Muwalo adding the other two; and New Brunswick, 2-1, with sophomore Tinashe Muwalo scoring both Bombers’ goals.

The increased scoring is a plus as Sayreville scored only 31 goals a year ago, but with a defense that allowed just 13 goals against that proved to be more than enough.

“The added scoring we’ve seen is a big help and it’s also important that several players are doing the scoring,” Cifelli said. “It’s always nice to have plenty of players who can score, then the opposing defenses can’t really key on anyone.”

Sidibeh, a four-year starter who plays center-midfield, scored 10 goals a year ago, second to the 12 by Chris Cesare, who graduated in June. Colly Muwalo may be Sayreville’s most dangerous forward, but he’ll have plenty of help from Kevin Black, junior P.J. Gary and Eze, who has been quite impressive in his first four varsity contests.

With Sidibeh in the middle along with Tinashe Muwalo, there is more offensive firepower. Rapach and junior Matt Welna, a three-year veteran, will also start, with Fernando Erler, juniors Louis D’Anna and Ryan Reed sharing the other spot and spelling the starters.

With only junior sweeper Mike Weber back on defense, Cifelli was concerned about how his backfield would play. But Adam Fiorentino and Matt Moken, a pair of seniors promoted from JV, have been steady, and sophomore stopper Sean Mosser has fit in nicely.

In goal, Jason Tash has looked good in the early going, and Mike Mosser, playing soccer for the first time, has done well when called upon.

“I’d have to say our midfield is our real strength,” Cifelli said. “They’re veterans and they’re excellent two-way players. I’m also happy with the offense.

“But I’ve been very impressed with the defense. Other than Weber, no one had any real varsity experience before this season, yet they’ve worked hard, played smart, and have been very effective.”

Sayreville was set to visit Colonia on Wednesday and will be off until Monroe comes to visit on Tuesday.

“We’re looking forward to that game,” Cifelli said.

“Because of the weather, we only had two scrimmages to prepare for Monroe, but they had the same issues. They’re a very good team and that’s a game we want.”

GMC Division races start

to take shape

High school soccer fans won’t have to travel too far to see some of the top teams in the Greater Middlesex Conference in action this season.

While the Sayreville boys are playing their way into the mix in what looks like a tough White Division race, they are joined in that pursuit by a couple of other local teams – Monroe and North Brunswick.

Combined, the Bombers, Falcons and Raiders have played to a 14-1 mark so far, and are well on their way to making this chase a three-team race.

While North Brunswick (6-0) and Monroe (5-0) have not taken anyone by surprise with their dominant play early on (they were the two top-ranked teams in the GMC coming into the year), Sayreville looks poised to prove they too are ready to play with the GMC’s elite once again. Colonia, at 3-3, is another team that could make things interesting in the White Division race, while Woodbridge, which came into the season with high hopes, has struggled a bit early on at 1-3.

The Red Division is also being led by local teams, with South Brunswick (5-0) and East Brunswick (4-2), the only two teams playing to winning records thus far. The Vikings established themselves as the division’s team to beat on Tuesday with a 1-0 win over the Bears, despite being outshot 21-10 in the game. East Brunswick, which hit the post on one occasion and had a near goal cleared off the back line at the last moment, proved to be a worthy challenge for the Vikings, and should keep the pressure on South Brunswick the rest of the way.

St. Joseph, which entered the season ranked fifth in the GMC (three spots ahead of East Brunswick) is another team that could certainly make a run at the Red Division title, although the Falcons have sputtered a bit out of the gate, playing to a 2-2 mark, much like J.P. Stevens (ranked fourth when the season began), who is just 1-2-1 through the first few weeks of the regular season.

Down in the Blue Division, Spotswood has emerged as the team to beat, improving to 4-0 with a 1-0 win over Metuchen (3-1) on Monday. That win put the Chargers in the drivers’ seat early on.

In girl’s action, the East Brunswick Bears have taken their usual spot atop the standings with a quick 4-1 start, which included an impressive 4-0 blanking of South Brunswick on Monday. While the Bears are certainly the team to beat here, the rest of the Red Division pack is a tight bunch, led by J.P. Stevens (2-0-1), Old Bridge (2-2) and Edison (2-3).

The girl’s White Division race will be fascinating to watch the rest of the way, as several teams, including Monroe (3-1), North Brunswick (4-1), Sayreville (3-1) and Woodbridge (4-0), have looked strong early on. Woodbridge entered the season ranked atop the GMC, and has looked every bit like the team to beat, having just beaten Monroe, 4-0, on Monday.

However, with so much talent scattered throughout this division, there is far too much soccer left to play to think about handing the Barrons the division title.

In the Blue Division, Metuchen has emerged as the early favorite, racing out to a 5-0 start. However, Spotswood (2-2), who fell to the Bulldogs, 4-2, on Monday, and Bishop Ahr (3-2) should keep the pressure on Metuchen the rest of the way.