Ocean County College men’s soccer players have earned National Junior College Athletic Association Division III postseason honors.
Named to the All-Region XIX first team were sophomore midfielder-forward Doug Jensen, a former Central Regional High School player, and freshman goalie Robert Andrade, who competed for the Toms River South Indians.
Jensen made the All-Garden State Athletic Conference first team. Andrade was a second-team All-GSAC choice.
Sophomore midfielder Ryan Cheslock was a second-team all-region and second-team all-conference selection. He played for North’s Mariners.
Ex-Southern Regional player Dylan Kanson, a sophomore midfielder, was a third-team all-region and a third-team all-GSAC selection.
Jensen led the Vikings in points with 42 through his first 16 matches of the season. He paced OCC in goals with 18 and added six assists for coach Sal Colino, a former Mariner. Jensen netted an OCC-best five match-winning goals. He started in 16 matches.
Andrade notched a 1.60 goals against average through his first 15 matches of the campaign. He allowed 20 goals and made 70 saves. The former Indian started 14 matches and handed out one assist. He played 1,125 minutes in the net. He put up a 7-5 record as a keeper and notched a .778 saves percentage.
Kanson handed out one assist through his first 16 games of the season. He started in each match.
OCC freshman midfielder-forward Youssef Abdelaziz, who hails from Central, put home eight goals and added five assists for 21 points through his first 16 matches of the season.
He netted one match-winning goal. He started seven matches.
OCC freshman midfielder Matt Singh, a Toms River East graduate, netted seven goals, including one match-winner, and added one assist through his first 16 outings of the season.
He started in 14 matches.
Hansen honored: Former Howell player Connor Hansen, a member of the Brookdale Community College men’s soccer team, was a first team All-Region XIX and first-team All-Garden State Athletic Conference selection.
The freshman midfielder-defender netted two goals and handed out two assists through his first 16 matches of the season.
Lions cited: The Georgian Court University men’s soccer team for the fourth straight year has achieved All-Academic status as it earned the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award.
The Lions, with their team grade point average of 3.03, joined 281 men’s soccer programs on the list. A total of 813 collegiate teams (282 men and 531 women) earned the Team Academic Award.
College Team Academic Award recipients are active members of the United Soccer Coaches College Services Program with a composite grade point average of either 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale for all players on the roster.
Meanwhile, GCU sophomore defender Michael Tapp (Toms River South) handed out one assist through his first 12 matches of the season.
Scoring for the Hawks: Freehold resident Jake Areman, a former Colts Neck player, netted two goals and handed out three assists for seven points and a two-way tie for first place on the Monmouth University men’s soccer team.
Over hill and dale: Former Brick Township runner Kyle Mueller, a junior member of Monmouth’s men’s cross country team, won the 23rd annual Henry Mercer Monmouth Invitational in 26:24.35 at hilly Holmdel Park.
It was the fourth-best time in Monmouth history on the five-mile course.
Mueller placed third at the Monmouth Cross Country Kick-Off at Thompson Park.
A member of the Brookdale men’s team is sophomore William Nemeth, a Freehold Township graduate.
The former Patriot was 67th in 30:42.70 at the Osprey Open at Stockton University. He crossed the finish line in 34:17.60 at the Bill Fritz Invitational, placed 18th in 19:03.27 at the Dukes Invitational and was 59th at the Ramapo XC Season Opener in 19:16.20.
Grasso sparkles: Former Donovan Catholic player Vinny Grasso, a senior wide receiver, helped the host Monmouth football team to a 56-39 win over Liberty University on Homecoming Day in front of 4,235 fans.
Grasso, one of the Hawks’ captains, caught three passes for 43 yards. One reception devoured a season-high 23 yards. The former Griffin returned two kickoffs for 23 yards, including a 15-yard dash.
Through his first seven games of the season, Grasso was second on the team in receptions (21), average yards per game (31.7) and receiving yards (222). He averaged 10.6 yards per catch.
Teammate Mike Basile, a senior strong safety out of Brick Memorial, made seven solo stops and broke up two passes as the Hawks, winners of four straight games, pushed their record to 6-1 overall, including 1-0 in the Big South Conference.
One of Monmouth’s captains, Basile through his first seven games of the season led the Hawks in solo tackles (76), solo stops (58), tackles for yards lost (6 1/2 for 35) and sacks for yards lost (two for 16). He was second on the team in assists (18). He picked off one pass, broke up three passes, deflected four tosses, force one fumble and blocked one kick.
Monmouth junior defensive back Tymere Berry, who played at Toms River South, added two solo tackles and broke up two passes.
Junior teammate Matt Castronuova, a former Jackson Memorial star, returned one kickoff for 18 yards.
The loss dropped the Flames to 3-4, overall, including 0-2 in the Big South. Monmouth is 1-3 all-time in Big South openers.
A charitable mood: The Ocean County College Athletics program launched a charitable initiative, a Halloween costume collection drive, with the goal of providing a fun fall holiday for the community’s less fortunate.
The drive ran from Oct. 1-20 and collected new and gently used children’s costumes, masks, accessories and face makeup.
The materials donated by the OCC community went to Jersey Cares, a local charitable organization that serves the state’s children’s shelters among many other endeavors.
The initiative will likely become an annual tradition.