B Central champions!
Junior Coulter scores two goals in division win
POINT PLEASANT BEACH — The Point Pleasant Beach boys soccer team won its first B Central title since 2006 on Monday with a 2-1 result over Shore Regional High School at the G. Harold Antrim School fields.
Point Beach forward Connor Coulter led the way for the Gulls, scoring two goals. He put the Gulls ahead in the 16th minute when he shot the ball in the lower-left corner of the net on a penalty kick.
Shore Regional was able to tie the game later on in the first half when Alden Aikins’ corner kick from the left side of the field connected with the head of Jake Friedland at the right back post and into the net.
The two teams remained competitive and the game remained tied mostly due to some clutch saves from Point Beach goalie Ryan Franzoni.
He was flying around in the second half saving everything that came his way, totaling to six throughout the game.
Most of his saves were crucial in the Gulls keeping the game tied against Shore’s high-scoring offense.
“He played the best game of his high school career,” Point Pleasant Beach head coach Mike Baiata said. “Like four of the [saved] goals were game-saving.”
With just less than four minutes left in the game, forward Charlie Turro kicked the ball hard at the Shore Regional keeper, which deflected off the crossbar and back onto the field. With the goalie out of position, Coulter took advantage of the opportunity, booting the ball in the back of the net. With joy, Coulter slid to his knees on the grass before being surrounded by the rest of his team.
Afterward, the Gulls were able to keep the ball away from the Blue Devils for the remaining allotted time. Once the clock expired the Gulls ran together and celebrated in joy.
“Last year was a rebuilding year and we knew coming into this season we were going to build on that to something good,” Coulter said. “It feels incredible to win. Hard work really does pays off. I woke up today and all I was thinking about was Shore Regional.”
Point Pleasant Beach lost to Shore Regional 5-1 on the road earlier this season. The win marks a big step forward for a team that finished with a 3-13 record last season. Coach Baiata said he knew his team could have a promising season after winning at home versus Asbury Park. After the Gulls defeated the Blue Bishops for the second time this season on the road, he started to believe his team had a knack for winning big games.
“I think it is becoming more and more real,” Baiata said, about the Gulls’ championship season. “You really don’t start to see how good we can be until you hit a couple milestones.
“We knew exactly what today was about and what we had to do,” he added, referring to the game vs. Shore Regional.
Point Beach went on to play Toms River South in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament. The game occurred too late to be covered in this edition of The Ocean Star. For full coverage, see next week’s issue.
Point Beach’s next game is contingent on how the Gulls performed in the first round of the Shore Conference Tournament.
Franzoni hopes the best performance from the Point Pleasant Beach soccer team is yet to come.
“It took a lot from us to win the division this year with all of us working together,” Franzoni said. “We just keep getting better and better.”