The Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament boys soccer semifinals are set for tonight at Woodbridge High School and the four teams there certainly have the experience of playing on that stage, as they’ve all appeared in a GMCT final over the past two seasons.
A pair of division rivals will meet for a third time this season in the first game of the doubleheader at 6 p.m. as top-seeded East Brunswick will face fifth-seeded and defending champion Monroe.
In the 8 p.m. game third-seeded South Brunswick will meet 10th-seeded and red hot Edison.
“Never fun to play a team a third time and they’re a tough team,” East Brunswick coach Terry McKibbin said of his team’s opponent, Monroe. “I expect to see a tough team, a one goal game most likely.”
The Bears have been a regular in the semifinals, appearing in semis six of the past seven years, taking a one-year hiatus last season when they lost in the round of 16 on penalty kicks as a No. 2 seed.
This year East Brunswick has the most balance and depth of any team in the GMC, as seniors Joey Gudzak and Anik Ray anchor the midfield, Jesse Stabinsky anchors a terrific defense along with goalie Dennis Kotenko. Adam Rosa (11 goals) and Kevin Walsh (10 goals) headline the dearth of forwards McKibbin can rotate in and out to keep fresh.
Monroe meanwhile is trying to defend its title and will have to get past an East Brunswick team that it lost to 2-1 and tied 1-1 this season.
The Falcons are tested and have the most postseason experience of the four teams, as they’ve experienced winning after taking both the GMCT and Central Group IV titles last season.
Senior center back Christian Corbisiero is one of the best in the county and seniors Mike Mischler and Brandon Cherney control things in the midfield.
Unlike last season when Monroe mainly relied on two players for all the scoring, it has had a very balanced attack this season, as six players have between four and six goals.
In the second game, South Brunswick and Edison also played each other this season, with the Vikings winning 4-2, but both teams have changed since that meeting on Sept. 23.
Edison has been the team of October winning 11 of its 12 games after starting the season 2-6.
Junior forward Mused Mohamed has 23 goals, 19 of which have come during the October stretch, while seniors Jordan Rosenhouse (six goals, 16 assists) and Ali Mohamed (four goals, 11 assists) are capable of coming up big for coach Brian Murtagh.
The Eagles made a run as a No. 10 seed in Murtagh’s first season two years ago, playing top-seeded East Brunswick to a 1-1 draw for a co-championship in the final. Edison hopes to make another run as the No. 10 seed.
It will have a very dangerous opponent in South Brunswick, which has been boosted with the addition of senior forward Kyle Goodwin.
He’s joined by seniors Tommy Dorsay and Jorge de la Bandera in the midfield, sophomore forward Patrick Grudnick, and a pair of solid defenders in Alexi Rissiotis and Tommy Tuskey.
Nader sets goal record
Wardlaw-Hartridge senior and Bernardsville resident Matt Nader set the school’s boys soccer record for most career goals Oct. 19, when he scored two goals in a 4-0 win to give him 55 for his career, which broke Arturo Martinez’s record set in 2011.