Three more area boys soccer teams will play for South Jersey titles Friday.
The Egg Harbor Township High School boys soccer team will Toms River North at 2 p.m. Friday in EHT’s first South Jersey Group IV championship game in more than two decades. Ocean City will head to Triton Regional for the Group III title at 2 p.m. Friday, and Oakcrest will head to top-seeded Delran for the S.J. Group II championship at 2 p.m.
EHT (18-5), the No. 2 seed, is ranked No. 6 in The Press Elite 11. Toms River North (10-6-1), the 16th seed, has been a surprise team.
“We last got to the South Jersey final in 1996,” Egg Harbor Township coach Pete Lambert said. “We have two (assistant) coaches on our team who were on that ‘96 team: Dennis Heenan, who was a senior goalie then, and Phil Maturi, who was a sophomore fullback defender then. They’ve told the team what is was like to get that far, but also what is was like to not win. This team has gotten that far and wants to get the result.”
Toms River North, which joined the Elite 11 this week at No. 9, beat top-seeded Clearview Regional 2-0, topped eighth-seeded Cherry Hill East 2-0 and beat fourth-seeded Jackson Memorial 2-1.
EHT defeated 15th-seeded Lenape 4-3, seventh-seeded Shawnee 3-2 and defending state Group IV champion Washington Township, the No. 6 seed, 1-0 in its three tournament games.
“The guys are fired up and ready,” Lambert said. “The schedule we’ve had to play (in the tournament) against three Olympic Conference teams has made us better. Toms River North is a Cinderella team. They’ve made a run like us, and they’ve been refusing to lose like us.”
Ocean City, the No. 9 seed in Group III, has upset its way to the sectional final to face second-seeded Triton (17-5). The Red Raiders (9-7-1) beat No. 8 Lacey Township 3-1 in the first-round, and upset top-seeded Moorestown in penalty kicks in the quarterfinals. They went on the road again, beating fifth-seeded Toms River South 5-1 in the semifinals. O.C. has six straight wins.
Ori Levy-Smith, John Lindsay and Fisher Hudak each have eight goals to lead the Red Raiders. Kyle Plenn is in goal.
“I think they’re playing their best soccer at the right time of the year,” O.C. coach Aaron Bogushefsky said.
“They’re buying into the game plan and going out and executing. The guys are pretty excited, especially with the run we’ve been on lately.”
Under Bogushefsky, the Red Raider also reached South Jersey finals in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2017, winning in 2013 and 2014.
Oakcrest (18-3-1) is having a surprising season as the No. 2 seed in Group II. The Falcons have allowed just one goal in their three playoff games, beating Haddon Heights 5-0, Barnegat 5-1 and Manasquan 2-0 on their way to the final against Delran (15-4-2).