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Boca team completes one of the best summer seasons in club history – Tri-Town News
August 2, 2006

Tri-Town News Sports
August 3, 2006

Boca U23 team loses in MSSL Cup semifinals
Team completes one of the best summer seasons in club history

LAKEWOOD – The Jersey Shore Boca U23 men’s soccer team advanced to the semifinal game of the Mid-Atlantic Summer Showcase League (MSSL) Championships on Sunday afternoon at the John F. Patrick Sports Complex in Lakewood before losing a 2-1 heartbreaker to West Chester (Pa.) United, completing their summer season.

Boca advanced to the semifinal match with a 1-0 shutout of the Golden Hawks of the N.J. Rangers Soccer Club from Denville early Sunday morning in preliminary MSSL Cup action.

In the first game, Andy Fraggos (Marlboro) tallied his third game-winning goal of the season for Boca about 18 minutes into the second half as the Towson University junior snapped home a head-ball into the far corner off a 20-yard picture-perfect service by Andy Perez (Brick) for the only goal of the game.

Chris Konopka (Toms River) picked up this fourth shutout of the summer between the pipes for Boca.

In the semifinal MSSL Cup match, West Chester tallied the first goal of the game midway through the first stanza when their attack beat Boca GK Jon Curry-Edwards (Spring Lake Heights) to the right side after West Chester moved quickly through the midfield uncontested.

After another tally by West Chester early in the second half, Boca made the game interesting when Christian Pontier (Forked River) found Perez inside the West Chester penalty area 15 minutes in, and Perez buried his fourth goal of the season and cut to score to 2-1.

Although Boca created three or four quality scoring opportunities during the remainder of the match, the U23s could not find the equalizer, and the semifinal game ended with West Chester advancing to the MSSL Cup finals.

In the MSSL Championship game, after a 1-1 tie through regulation and overtime, West Chester defeated Milmay FC from South Jersey on FIFA penalty kicks to claim the 2006 MSSL Cup.

The Boca U23 team played 22 games during the 2006 season and finished with an overall record of 16-5-1, which included five exhibition games (3-2-0), 12 league games (10-1-1), three USASA Regional Tournament games (2-1-0) and two MSSL Cup games (1-1-0).

Excluding their five exhibition games, the Boca U23 team scored 37 goals while only allowing 16 with the goalkeeper tandem of Konopka and Curry-Edwards finishing with a 0.94 goals-against average for the season.

“This has to be one of the best summer seasons our U23 teams have had in the recent history of our Club – 22 games played since March with 16 wins, a second-place finish during the league regular season, USASA U23 tournament semifinalist, and MSSL Cup semifinalist,” said Walt Konopka, a member of the Jersey Shore Board of Directors who also coaches the Boca U23 team. “I’m very happy to have had the opportunity to coach such a very talented group of players this year. The guys played very well this summer and went well beyond my expectations. I’m very proud of all of them and will be following each one of them during their college seasons this fall.

“Also, on behalf of all of our Boca U23 coaches and players and our entire soccer club, I would like to give a special thanks to Lakewood Township and the Lakewood Department of Recreation for hosting the MSSL Cup this year,” Konopka added. “Their new complex [John F. Patrick Sports Complex] is a great venue truly worthy of such an event. They did a wonderful job getting the facilities ready.”

MSSL is a third-year regional soccer league fostering high-level competition during the summer months at both the youth and adult ages in both men’s and women’s divisions in which Jersey Shore Boca is a founding member.

The adult level of MSSL is specifically designed for collegiate players under the age of 23 and is fully sanctioned by the USASA, the national governing body for adult amateur soccer.