Boys soccer player of the year: St. Augustine Prep's Connor Hurff
St. Aug 4 Connor Hurff. Monday November 8 2010 St. Augustine Prep hosts Notre Dame in a Non Public A boys soccer semifinal. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

At times during the season, senior striker Connor Hurff played well enough to make people think he could win a game all by himself.

What made Hurff a special player, however, is that he never did.

Hurff was the ultimate team player for the St. Augustine Prep boys soccer team and is the 2010 Press Player of the Year.

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"They teach us the whole brotherhood idea at the Prep, that everyone is family," Hurff said. "This year we were just a family. It wasn't one player here and one player there. We are all best friends. We could get done what we had to get done and at the same time we would have fun doing it."

As a sophomore, Hurff spent time in the midfield and the front line but was more of a role player. As a junior last season, he was the team's playmaker in the midfield but was typically responsible for setting up other players.

This season it was Hurff's team and all he did was lead the Hermits to the most successful season in school history with a team-high 25 goals.

"My sophomore year, I got some experience," Hurff said.

"Last year it was, 'Get the ball and distribute it.' Going into this season after last year I knew the offense would kind of rely on what I did and I didn't want to let anybody down. I had to do whatever I could."

The Hermits won their second straight Cape-Atlantic League American Conference title. They followed that up with the first South Jersey Coaches Tournament title in school history and capped off a 25-win season with South Jersey and state Non-Public A titles.

The Prep has had teams with as much or more talent than this year's squad but may never have had a team that played better as a unit.

"Connor and the guys that have played for a couple of years have seen what talent without the team concept does for you," Prep coach Les Heggan said. "It gets you nowhere.

"He bought into that concept right from the get-go. Even when I would play him off of the front line and use him more as a midfielder. A lot of goalscorers would have balked at that. The nice thing about Connor is that he would score anyway and it's because of his unselfish nature that he was able to do it."

Hurff was at his best when it mattered most. His best game of the season came when he netted a hat trick to give the Prep its first Coaches Tournament title in school history.

He moved the ball almost at will and nearly had five or six goals if not for an unfriendly post or two.

"I thought I would lay back and get the assists and distribute the ball this season," Hurff said. "They put me up top and I just started scoring."

With all of the great performances Heggan has seen in his time at the Prep, Hurff's was perhaps the finest.

"That was probably the best individual performance I have ever seen," Heggan said. "He not only scored three goals but also hit the bar two or three times. It just seemed like they had no answer for him. He was on fire. If you talked to him, that was the one title that he wanted and he went out there and made sure it happened."

Cincinnati, George Mason, Northwestern and Seton Hall have contacted Hurff.

Team of the Year

The St. Augustine Prep soccer team has had some special seasons over the years but none like this season.

The Hermits won the school's first South Jersey Coaches Tournament title and also a South Jersey and state Non-Public A title.

The Hermits (25-1) finished the season No. 1 in The Press Elite 11 and are the 2010 Press Team of the Year.

"I think what made this year better was that nobody expected us to be as good as we were," senior captain Connor Hurff said. "It came down to hard work and team chemistry that made us as good as we were."

This year's Prep team also made head coach Les Heggan the winningest coach in CAL history.

Heggan passed former Vineland coach Rich Klimek earlier in the season and finished the year with 458 career wins.

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