Buena Regional High School coach Tom Ruhl concedes he only likes watching seniors Josue Guadarrama, Miguel Hernandez and A.J. Gazzara play soccer because he stands on the same side of the field as they do.
"It's a beautiful thing for me to watch, but it must be a nightmare for opposing coaches," Ruhl said Monday. "You're just watching beautiful soccer. The way the three of them move the ball is just a great thing to watch."
A loss to Middle Township on Monday dropped Buena to 14-4 this season. The Chiefs were 8-12-1 last season and won just six games in 2010.
The Chiefs are one of the area's most improved teams and it all starts with the team's big three. Guadarrama is an attacking midfielder. Hernandez and Gazzara are strikers.
When Guadarrama wins a ball in the midfield, he has the luxury of looking for not one, but two of the area's most prolific scorers.
"Having them up top makes my job easier," Guadarrama said. "When I look up to pass the ball, they are always there."
Hernandez leads the team with 20 goals. Gazzara has 16 goals to go with 12 assists. Guadarrama is third on the team with nine goals and has a team-high 17 assists.
"We just have to make the right runs and he'll find us," Hernandez said of Guadarrama. "We kind of have that chemistry where we know where they're at before we get the ball and what kind of ball they want. The three of us have really good chemistry."
Hernandez and Gazzara have become the area's top scoring tandem.
"We're fast with the ball," Gazzara said. "We know what we're going to do ahead of time. We make good passes and give-and-goes because we know where each other is going to be."
Buena lost 3-0 to Middle on Monday but beat the Panthers 2-0 on Oct. 2. Each team is 6-1 in Division I play within the Cape-Atlantic League National Conference with one more game to go.
Then it's on to the state tournament.
"If we stay strong we should do pretty good," Gazzara said. "I think we can do good against these teams."
The big three account for just half of the team's six senior starters.
"We want to go out big since it's our last year," Hernandez said. "It's good for the younger guys, too, so they can see how nice it feels to have a nice record so they can practice and get ready for their years."
Absegami clinched the Division I title within the CAL American Conference on Monday with a 4-1 win against a hot Atlantic City team.
Sean Milligan scored his team-leading 15th and 16th goals of the season to lead the Braves.
Atlantic City entered the game on a five-game winning streak during which the Vikings outscored opponents 28-0. Akwasi Adu scored 10 goals during the stretch while Bryan Torres (who scored on Monday) scored nine.
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