Middle’s comeback effort falls short in CAL semifinal
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VIDEO, PHOTO GALLERY: Hammonton edges Middle in CAL semifinal

Middle Township's Colin Jastremski turns away from Hammonton pressure.


CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — The Middle Township High School boys soccer team simply couldn’t muster that one quality chance at goal when it needed it.

The Panthers fell to Hammonton, 2-1, Saturday afternoon in a Cape-Atlantic League playoff tournament semifinal game after being held scoreless for the final 55-plus minutes.

“I don’t think we brought our best game today,” Middle coach Scott Kurkowski said. “We’ve definitely played better games. But there’s no excuse. You have to bring it in these kinds of games. It’s going to be a battle.

“We had some chances we could have tucked away, arguably just as many as they did, if not more, but that happens. We have to pick our heads up and move on to the next one.”

Middle gave up both goals due to failure to deal with loose balls in its own penalty area. On the opener, Hammonton’s Gavin West, the son of Middle Township High School principal George West, hammered the ball inside the right post after two Middle defenders wound up on the ground after a failure to either gain possession or clear the ball.

Middle responded quickly to equalize, however. Steve Berrodin flicked Tommy Carr’s free kick toward the far post, where Xander Hardin was in perfect position to nod the ball across the line for the goal.

Late in the first half, though, Hammonton took the lead for good when Marco Schiano benefitted from a fortunate bounce and ripped a shot under the crossbar and inside the right post.

Middle, the second seed in the four-team tournament, fell to 12-2-1. 

“This was a good test for us,” Kurkowski said. “I told the boys, at the beginning of the season, who would even think that we’d be here, in the top four of the CAL. We were happy to be here. The goal is to get back here next year and win it.”

Third-seeded Hammonton (13-3) moves on to play in the tournament title game Monday against No. 4 Egg Harbor Township, which was a 2-1 upset winner over top-seeded St. Augustine in the other semifinal.

  • Middle Township goalkeeper Devon Bock punts the ball away.
  • Middle Township's Tommy Carr wins a header against a Hammonton player.
  • Middle Township's Vinny Povio drives through the midfield.
  • Middle Township's Colin Jastremski turns away from Hammonton pressure.
  • Middle Township's Tommy Shagren with possession near the touchline.
  • Middle Township's Cameron Odom tries to run down the ball.
  • Middle Township's Matt Sgrignioli tracks a ball in the air.
  • Middle Township's Austin Carr pulls the ball out of the air as he wins possession.
  • Middle Township's Xander Hardin attempts to clear.
  • Middle Township's Matt Sgrignioli slide tackles the ball away from a Hammonton player.