College Corner: Where Yesterday’s High School Athletes Excel Today

The Ocean County College men's soccer team relaxes after a win. (Photo courtesy Ocean County College Athletics Department)

The Ocean County College men’s soccer team won the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III Region XIX Tournament with a conquest of Union County College in a shootout in the championship game.

OCC keeper Robert Andrade, a freshman from Toms River High School South, stopped two Union shots in the shootout. Teammates Andrew Jozwicki, a sophomore midfielder-forward from Jackson Memorial; Doug Jensen, a sophomore midfielder-forward from Central Regional, and sophomore midfielder Ryan Cheslock, who played for Toms River North, converted their kicks.

OCC outside back Chandler Gibbons, a freshman defender from Toms River East, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Andrade, who stopped two penalty kicks in a shootout against Sussex in the semifinals, was named the Outstanding Defensive Player of the championship match. He made eight saves in the match.

The teams battled to a 1-1 tie through regulation and two overtimes.

OCC allowed a goal early in the second half. It executed a set play in the 78th minute, tying the match.

Scott Larsen, a freshman midfielder from Lacey, drove the ball into the box and the ball was headed toward the goal by Kyle Unger, a sophomore defender out of Toms River East. Gibbons drove the ball into the net.

OCC (9-8-2) outshot Union 18-11 on the day. OCC was charged with 11 fouls to Union’s 14. Union (11-8-3) had a 4-3 advantage on corner kicks.

It was OCC’s second Region XIX title in five years.

Honors for Vikings: Women’s athletes at OCC have won postseason honors.

In soccer, Kristyn Adams, a freshman forward from Island Heights and Bordentown Regional High School, was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association Region XIX third team. She also won first-team All-Garden State Athletic Conference honors.

Allison Krebs, a sophomore defender from Brick Township High School, was a third-team all-region choice and an all-conference second-teamer.

Krebs, who appeared in 15 games and started 15, netted one goal.

Pascal El-Khouri, from Brick Memorial, helped Ocean County College’s volleyball team reach 18-4. (Photo courtesy Ocean County College Athletics Department)

In volleyball, freshman Pascal El-Khouri, a freshman middle blocker-outside hitter from Brick Memorial, and sophomore Samantha Allen, an opposite-setter from Toms River South, were all-region selections.

Adams led the Vikings in points with 18. She paced the team in goals (seven) and was fourth on the club in assists with four. She netted three match-winning goals. She appeared in and started 15 matches.

El-Khouri finished the season with 174 kills, 44 digs and 227.0 points. She led the team in the latter category. She played in 21 games

Allen finished the campaign with 42 kills, 144 digs and 108 1/5 points. She played in 21 games.

The Vikings were 16-3 for second place in Region XIX. They went 13-1 in the GSAC in which they tied Raritan Valley for first place. OCC was 18-4 overall.

Samantha Allen, from Toms River South, helped Ocean County College’s volleyball team reach 18-4. (Photo courtesy Ocean County College Athletics Department)

Getting their kicks: Five Georgian Court University women’s soccer players captured All-Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference honors.

Senior Morgan DeLuca, a Toms River resident and a Point Pleasant Beach graduate, was named the CACC Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.

Sophomore midfielder Anissia Fucci, a former Manchester player, was a first-team selection. Senior forward Lizzy Kroon, who hails from Central, and sophomore midfielder Kaitlin Lister (East) also were first-team choices.

Named to the second team was sophomore keeper Natalie Axelsson, a former Absegami player.

DeLuca, a three-time All-CACC first-team selection, captained a defense that posted a conference-best 1.18 goals against average and allowed 22 goals during the regular season. She scored a career-high four goals.

Lizzy Kroon, formerly of Central Regional High School, was honored for her work on Georgian Court University’s women’s soccer team. (Photo courtesy Georgian Court University Athletics Department)

Fucci enjoyed career plateaus of 11 goals and five assists in 18 matches. The Lions were 7-1-1 when she found the back of the net.

Kroon, a two-time first-team choice, was third in the CACC this year with 12 goals, seven assists and 31 points. She scored 48 goals handed out 21 assists and scored 117 points through her first 69 career games. She led the Lions to NCAA Division II’s fifth-best scoring offense (3.28 goals per match) this season.

Lister led the CACC with 12 assists and was fourth in feeds in Division II. She added six goals. She handed out assists in nine of her team’s 18 matches.

Axelsson was 9-2-1 and led the CACC with a 1.19 goals against average. She was second among CACC keepers, allowing 15 goals.

GCU coach James Moore was named the CACC 20127 Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year. He led the Lions to the CACC regular-season title at 12-0. They were 13-3-2 overall during the regular season.

Moore owns a 148-94-25 record in 13 years at the helm of the Lions. He also won the honor in 2006 and 2015.

Meanwhile, the Monmouth women’s team won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament, downing Manhattan 5-1 in the championship match.

Howell Township resident Jessica Johnson, a sophomore midfielder-defender and a graduate of the Hun School in Princeton, netted her second goal of the season for Monmouth when she scored on a free kick. It was her third career goal.

A teammate is freshman midfielder Ashley Dellapietro (Central). She was scoreless through her first 12 games of the season off the bench.

Breeana Cassidy, originally from Freehold, is now playing for Brookdale Community College. (Photo courtesy Brookdale Community College)

Locals on the Brookdale Community College women’s team were freshman midfielder-defender Madison Doria, a Howell High School graduate, and freshman forward-midfielder Breeana Cassidy (Freehold).

Doria paced the Jersey Blues in points (24) and goals (10) and added four assists. She appeared in 17 games and started 15. She earned first-team All-Region XIX honors and was a second-team All-Garden State Athletic Conference selection.

Cassidy was a second-team all-region selection and a member of the all-conference first team.

She was second on the Jersey Blues in points (22). She scored seven goals to finish in a three-way tie for second on te Jersey Blues. She was second on the club in assists with eight.

Madison Doria, originally from Howell Township High School, is now playing for Brookdale Community College. (Photo courtesy Brookdale Community College)

On hill and dale: Brick Township resident Kyle Mueller, competing for the Monmouth University men’s cross country team, placed 11th overall in 25:24.01 at the Metro Atlantic Collegiate Conference Championships at hilly Holmdel Park.

He sped to All-MAAC honors for the second straight season. It was Monmouth’s second-fastest time in school history over the five-mile course first used in 2012. It included Sled Hill and two trips through the Bowl Mile.

Mueller, a junior, graduated from the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science.

Brookdale sophomore Noah Reilly, a Toms River North graduate, placed fourth overall in a five-kilometer time of 16:03.36 at the Brookdale Community College Invitational.

Georgian Court junior Morgan Blusewicz, an East graduate, placed 10th at the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference championship meet in 20:28.0 at White Clay Creek State Park in Newark, Del., for first-team all-conference honors.

The Lions finished third.

In the men’s CACC championship race at White Clay Creek State Park, GCU senior Patrick Parr, a Brick graduate, placed 14th in 27:57.9 for All-CACC laurels for the second straight season.

The Lions finished sixth.

Setting and spiking: Two former local high school players were members of the Brookdale women’s volleyball team.

On the Jersey Blues’ roster were sophomore defensive specialist Johanna Williams (Jackson Memorial) and freshman libero Juliana Varela, a Berkeley Township resident and a Mater Dei Prep graduate.

Williams finished the season second on the Jersey Blues in digs 130. She was second on the club in kills (72) and points (109.0).

Varela notched 36 digs and scored 9.0 points.

Grasso charges: Former Donovan Catholic player Vinny Grasso, a senior wide receiver-punt returner, helped the host Monmouth Hawks to a 42-21 win over the Blue Hose of Presbyterian College.

Grasso blazed 70 yards with a punt return for a 28-13 lead with 7:33 left in the third quarter. It was the first punt return touchdown of his career.

“Vinny returned punts last year for us,” winning coach Kevin Callahan said. “The punt return is something we work a lot on and the guys work hard on trying to get on blocks. That was a big play in the game and a huge momentum swing for us.”

Grasso caught one pass for 11 yards. His lone pass of the game fell incomplete.

Senior teammate Mike Basile (Brick Memorial) made a team-high 10 tackles to push his program record to 404 stops. He led the Hawks with eight solos and added two assists.

Monmouth junior Tymere Berry (Toms River South) jetted 36 yards with an interception to set up a touchdown that put the Hawks in front 34-14 with 6:24 left in the third quarter.

Berry added three solo tackles and broke up two passes.

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Chris Christopher covers sports for Micromedia Publications Inc. with knowledge, pride and passion. His beats are the high school, college, professional, youth and recreational scenes. A three-time New Jersey Press Association award winner for sports writing, Christopher was inducted into the Shore Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Fame in 2015 for his work in the media. The Lakewood resident enjoys taking walks in Ocean County Park and on the boardwalks in Ocean and Monmouth counties and rooting for the New York Mets.