Bombers are feeling like the team to beat


Staff Writer

The Sayreville High School boys soccer team has earned the top seed in the upcoming Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) tourney and is now waiting to find out which team it will play.

Coach Nick Cifelli’s Bombers will play on Monday. Sayreville’s opponent depends on the outcome of two preliminary games. Yesterday, South Amboy was set to meet Bishop Ahr, with the winner meeting Middlesex either Friday or Saturday. The winner of that game will play Sayreville.

“Our job right now is to make sure we’re ready,” Cifelli said. “Whoever we play is going to want to make its mark.”

The Bombers have played well all season, even in a season-opening 4-1 loss to GMC White Division rival Monroe. Since then, Sayreville has won 13 of its next 14 matches and could grab a share of the division crown. That will depend on the North Brunswick-Perth Amboy game. A win or a tie by Perth Amboy will give Sayreville a tie for first in the division. That game will be scheduled around the GMC tourney.

With a 14-2 mark, Sayreville has also qualified for the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV playoffs, which the Bombers are likely to open at home. Cifelli, however, cautioned about looking ahead.

MIGUEL JUAREZ staff Monroe goaltender Michael Rettberger makes a valiant effort to stop a shot during the Falcons' tough overtime loss to North Brunswick on Oct. 12. MIGUEL JUAREZ staff Monroe goaltender Michael Rettberger makes a valiant effort to stop a shot during the Falcons’ tough overtime loss to North Brunswick on Oct. 12. “One thing at a time,” he said. “The GMC Tournament comes first and that’s where our focus needs to be.”

Cifelli’s team avenged its only losses, downing both Monroe and Woodbridge in rematches. The Bombers also defeated Old Bridge and North Brunswick twice along the way. He credited his team’s depth with Sayreville’s success.

“We have 16 guys here and they can all play the game,” the coach said. “The hardest part for me is trying to get everyone the playing time they deserve. That’s not been easy because every one of them has played well.”

In 16 games Sayreville has amassed 48 goals, while permitting just 17. Freshman forward Kene Eze leads the team with 15 goals and an assist. Center-midfielders Lamin Sidibeh and Matt Welna, a junior, have been quite offensive-minded. Sidibeh has eight goals and 12 assists, while Welna has seven goals and three assists. Forward Colly Muwalo has contributed six goals and seven assists.

On the flip side of the coin, the Bombers defense has been rather stingy. Goalie Jason Tash has a sparkling 1.06 goals against average. Fullbacks Adam Fiortentino, Matt Moken and sophomore Sean Mosser have displayed stellar skills in their own end. Junior sweeper Mike Weber has helped shut down some of the top offenses in the county. In addition, when Moken suffered a stress fracture, midfielder Jeff Rapach moved to the backline where has played well. Cifelli said Moken could return in time for Monday’s game.

The coach has used a platoon of Louis D’Anna and junior Ryan Reed, who normally start, along with Fernando Erler and sophomore Tinashe Muwalo to flank Sidibeh and Welna in the middle. Up front Kevin Black and junior P.J. Gary have provided Cifelli with quality minutes off the bench.

“It’s kind of a cliché, but this really is a team,” he explained. “We have very few, if any egos, and the boys work together well. All they care about is winning and it shows.”