By Jim Hintelmann
LINCROFT – With a team that has 16 seniors on its roster, the major goal for Christian Brothers Academy has been to win the NJSIAA Non-Public A soccer championship this season, and the unbeaten (19-0) Colts are two wins away from achieving their goal.
With senior Nicholas Villani setting the pace with the Hat Trick (three goals), CBA looked sharp in all departments in shutting out defending Non-Public A champion St. Augustine of Richland, 5-0, Tuesday, in a semifinal game.
The Colts, who were upset by St. Joseph’s of Metuchen in last year’s semi finals will play St. Joseph’s in a rematch Thursday for the South Jersey Non-Public A title at Eastern High School.
“Villani’s three goals was all the more impressive because he just came back from an ankle injury that had sidelined him for three weeks,” said CBA coach Dan Keane.
“He just came back in our last game,” said Keane. “He had a high ankle sprain and it’s great to see him come back. I think we wore them down. That has been our pattern all year.
“We have a very talented team of mostly seniors,” he said. “We have a good fan base and come at people in waves.”
CBA’s Chris Thorsheim scored the first goal for the Colts at 26:37 of the first on a shot from 15 yards out, and then Villani scored the next three goals.
His first one came off a deflected shot from five yards out and then he followed up early in the second half with a five-yard shot off a breakaway for a 3-0 lead. Villani finished off his scoring with a shot from 10 yards out with eight minutes left.
Alex Bialko scored the final CBA goal from three yards out at the five-minute mark.
CBA’s defense kept the Hermits in check most of the game. Their best chance came midway in the first half when Dylan Morton got open and lined a shot from about 10 yards out, but CBA goalie Steve Donato made a great diving stop.
“It was tough in the beginning because I was scared about my ankle, said Villani, who will play soccer at Lafayette next year. “I haven’t scored too many goals this season because its tough being on the sidelines. I think I have seven or eight goals this season.
“You wish you could do something to help the team, but its nice to be back on the field,” he said. “This is a special team. We’re all seniors and are great friends. We don’t want to give up any goals, but a win is a win.
“This was my first start back from the injury,” he noted, “but I played a little in the Shore Conference finals against Holmdel.
If CBA wins Thursday, it will play for the state title Monday at the College of New Jersey.
“Seton Hall Prep, Delbarton and Pingry are all good teams in North Jersey, but two of them will lose,” Keane pointed out.