2003-10-01 / Sports
Young CBA team is learning on the fly
BY DOUG McKENZIE
Christian Brothers Academy boys soccer coach Dan Keane was hoping his team would be 5-1, at worst, entering tomorrow’s match-up with Middletown North.
But the longtime coach, now in his 26th year at CBA, admits that he’s satisfied with 4-1-1.
"We’ve done well," he said. "We’re not jelling offensively just yet, but we’re a young team. I suspect they’ll get a little better offensively the rest of the way."
The Colts knocked off Howell on Friday, 4-0, following a hard-fought 1-1 tie with Ocean Township on Sept. 23. Prior to that game, CBA had beaten Toms River East, Middletown North and Freehold Township. Their lone loss this year came against Manalapan, the surprise team of the Shore Conference. In that game, the Braves’ Jesse Linker broke a 1-1 tie in the 67th minute to propel the top-ranked Braves to the win.
"We were a little disappointed with the loss to Manalapan, but they’re playing very well right now," Keane said.
Tomorrow’s game with North is an important one, as the Colts, ranked second in the Shore, look to sweep the season’s series from the sixth-ranked Lions.
"That first game was a 1-0 overtime thriller," Keane said.
"It was an outstanding game by both teams. I imagine it will be another great game this time around too."
Keane is hoping that his team’s offense will find its groove before long, and is confident that his younger players will develop quickly.
"We’re weak offensively, very good in the midfield, and excellent in goal," he said.
"But we’re only weak because of our forwards’ lack of experience. We’ve got a lot of first-year varsity guys, and no experienced forwards at all."The strength of the Colt team is in net where junior netminder Mike Giallombardo is back.
"Mike stepped in last year and made an immediate impact," Keane said. "He is technically skilled, and is tremendously prepared to play every game. He has to rank up there with the top one or two keepers in the Shore.
"Obviously, we are very fortunate to have him in net."
Giallombardo has some experienced players in front of him as well, as senior co-captains Brian Smith and Jamie Richards patrol the defensive backfield, along with senior Joe Cajigal and junior Brian Beaty at the sweeper back.
The Colts’ midfielders have also played well so far, led by senior Cody Peters. He is joined by sophomore Justin Kahle and juniors Alex Russo and John Ferraro.
The forwards include freshman Andrew Giallombardo, Mike’s brother, and junior Robbie Larocca.
Keane said that senior defensive players Chris Collins and Mike Garcia, along with junior Mike White (forward) also see playing time for the Colts.
"So far we’ve gotten this far getting two or three goals a game," Keane said. "But we’re hoping for more production the rest of the way. If you see a bunch of 1-0 games in October, we still should have a decent year, but we’ll probably be a year away."
Looking ahead to the rapidly approaching postseason, CBA hopes to defend the Parochial A title it won last year with a 1-0 win over Don Bosco Prep in the final. But the Colts also want to compete for the Shore Conference crown.
‘We should qualify for both tournaments, and we’ll see what happens from there," Keane said. "I think this team will go as far as its offensive capabilities take it."
Although that may sound like a lot of pressure to put on inexperienced players, the Colts’ offensive newcomers certainly have the star power behind them, and can afford to learn on the fly.