By TOM WILLIAMS
Add one more possible South Jersey champion this week at Ocean City High School.
Aaron Bogushefsky’s boys soccer team defeated Toms River South today, 5-1, in Toms River to move into the sectional championship game on Friday afternoon in Runnemede.
And they came within a narrow margin of a third Ocean City-Mainland game this week.
The Raiders (9-7-1) will face Triton (17-5) on Friday for the title. The Triton Mustangs edged the Mainland Mustangs, 1-0, in double overtime today.
Ocean City is already playing Mainland Thursday at Carey Stadium in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 3 Girls Soccer final. And will play Mainland Friday night in Linwood in the first round of the Group 4 football playoffs.
Sophomore Ori Levy-Smith scored twice for the Raiders with senior Fisher Hudak, senior Aidan Pearce and sophomore John Lindsay also scoring. Hudak, Pearce, junior Sean McNaughton and senior Noam Levy-Smith each had an assist. Junior Kyle Plenn made six saves in goal.
Bogushefsky has done a terrific job keeping this team focused and he is very proud of their efforts.
“They believe in what we are trying to do,” he said, “believe in me and they go out and execute. This season has been a roller coaster. Looking back three weeks we were 4-7 but I knew we had more to show.”
The Raiders started the turn-around with a tight win against Middle Township and have not lost in almost a month.
“We have really learned how to take a punch this year,” Bogushefsky said. “We don’t get frazzled if we go down. Case in point would be in this game where South was awarded a penalty kick early in the game. After they scored, I saw no panic or change of the plan from my team. They got back to work and were up 2-1 in the next 20 minutes. Then we absorbed South’s best shot at the start of the second half and responded again with adding three more goals. What a come from behind game and season it’s been so far.”
In addition to the boys and girls soccer teams playing for championships, both OCHS cross country teams will defend their NJSIAA South Jersey titles on Saturday in Franklinville. The Ocean City boys and girls cross country teams have won a combined 16 South Jersey titles but last year was the first time they both won during the same season.