Patriots’ sectional championship highlighted boys soccer season

Freehold Township High School helped make it another championship season for Freehold Regional High School District (FRHSD) boys’ soccer.

In Todd Briggs’ final year as the Patriots head coach — he stepped down at the end of the season — Freehold Township backed up the head coach’s expectations by capturing the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group IV championship.

The Patriots did it in dramatic fashion by beating Monroe Township High School, 3- 2, on Nick Facendo’s late goal. Goalie Mike Christina made a save on a penalty kick in the first half that loomed large.

Chris Hoskins (18 goals and nine assists) stepped up in the postseason, scoring the game-winning goal in back-to-back 1-0 victories, and Mike Maltese anchored the Patriots’ consistent defense. Maltese was also important on offense, registering a schoolrecord tying 14 assists.

The Patriots, who were also the public school Shore Conference A North Division champions, finished 15-4-4.

During Briggs’ decade as the Patriots’ head man, Freehold Township won two Shore Conference Tournament and two Central Jersey sectional championships.

Manalapan High School, last year’s Central Jersey, Group IV winner, backed that title up with another fine season, going 11-6-2 for head coach John Natoli (bringing his career win total to 299). Mike McNicholas, who led the Braves’ defense, won the John Cobb Senior Excellence Award from the Shore Soccer Officials Association.

Marlboro High School may have been a year ahead this fall, as the young and inexperience Mustangs went 8-7-4 for head coach Dave Santos.

Art Collier’s Colts Neck High School team (8-9-3) was again in the postseason hunt. The Cougars gave the Patriots all they could handle in the first round of the state playoffs, falling, 1-0, on Hoskins’ goal that was assisted by Maltese.

Joining Hoskins (forward), Maltese (defense) and Christina (goalie) on the News Transcript’s 2015 All-FRHSD Boys Soccer Team are forwards Facendo of Freehold Township, Rocky Garretson of Manalapan and Andy Rizo of Freehold High School; midfielders Mitch Volis of Manalapan, Mark Fasano and Adrian Barajas of Freehold Township, P.J. Ringel of Marlboro and Rob Berdel of Colts Neck; and defenders Dean Raynor of Colts Neck, McNicholas of Manalapan, Jacob Boardman of Marlboro and Will Lee of Freehold.