By Jim Hintelmann
TINTON FALLS – Although his team is only 5-7-1, Mater Dei Prep’s new boys soccer coach, Jim McLees, is still looking ahead to a possible post-season appearance, and the Seraphs kept their hopes alive with a 2-1 overtime win over Ranney School Monday.
“The boys have a lot on the line as they try to fight for the Shore Conference Tournament,” said McLees. “They left their hearts out there on the field and we lucked out and got a goal there at the end.”
Senior Ryan Yetman provided the game-winning goal with 2:28 left in the overtime period with a 10-yard shot from the right side that went into the corner of the net.
“We were coming up and the ball made its way through,” said Yetman, whose father, Chris, was a basketball standout at Mater Dei Prep in the late 1980s. “I was hitting it over the net a few times but this one went into the back of the net. I think it was my fifth goal of the season.”
The game was hard-fought and evenly played, but Ranney School got on the board 18 minutes into the second half when Alex Karagianakis took a feed from Joshua Pelman and knocked the ball in from just in front of the net.
Ranney had a number of other good opportunities to build on the lead , but the shots either went wide or were stopped by Mater Dei Prep goalie Bobby Klatt.
“We had a couple of decent chances,” said Ranney School coach, Mike Link. “We had a couple of guys out of position at the time but for the most part, I was pleased with the boys. This game could have gone either way.”
Mater Dei Prep tied the game at 16 minutes of the second half when Kevin McLaughlin scored from in close following a scramble.
“We have three games left before the cutoff date for the Shore Conference Tournament,” said McLees. “We got Shore next and they are in first place in our division and then we play Manchester and Monmouth Regional coming, so we have to keep playing.”
“These boys come to play hard every day,” said McLees. “We’re getting better every day and are a work in progress. We are going to hit our stride. I’m very excited about the outcome today.”
Ranney’s outlook is also promising according to Link.
“The team has been doing better,” he said. “We played a 1-1 draw with Mater Dei Prep in overtime earlier this season and I knew that this would be a battle. We were prepared but didn’t get this one.”