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No. 1 seeds struggle in South Jersey playoffs

Two top seeds fell in NJSIAA playoff action on Thursday

Mike Ralph

Always the ones with the biggest targets on their backs heading into the postseason, top seeds hit a couple bumps in the road in NJSIAA playoff action on Thursday as two of South Jersey’s top teams were taken down by eight seeds.

Top-seeded Clearview fell victim to eighth-seeded Egg Harbor Township in Mullica Hill. Jon Gjyleri scored a goal in each half and goalkeeper Hunter Barbieri made 13 saves to lead the Eagles to the upset.

EHT will take on fifth-seeded Washington Township in the Group 4 South semifinal on Monday afternoon. Washington Township edged Cherokee 1-0 on a Brett Guetens goal.

The other Group 4 semifinal will see No. 2 Williamstown hosting third-seeded Rancocas Valley. Rancocas Valley topped Shawnee 4-1 behind goals from Tyler Kazmierowicz, Danny Morgan, Kyle Sweeney and John Weeast and Williamstown edged Toms River North 1-0 on a Matt Fahey goal and a six-save clean sheet from Jason Saas.

The top seed in Group 3, Ocean City, dropped a 1-0 decision to Hammonton. Vincent Petulla scored the winner and Devin Piro made seven saves to keep the shutout.

One semifinal will see Hammonton visiting Cherry Hill West, which beat Seneca 3-0 behind goals from Ishmael Bokai, Jason Kahan and Dimitri Malliaros and an eight-save clean sheet from Andrew Robertson. The other semifinal will have Mainland, which beat Triton in the battle of Mustangs 5-0 and Central Regional, 1-0 winners over Pinelands.

In Group 2, Delran avoided the upset with a 5-3 win over Bordentown and will take on Robbinsville in Monday’s semifinal while Point Pleasant Boro topped Collingswood 4-1 to set up a semifinal against Haddonfield, 1-0 winners over second-seeded Middle Township.

Haddon Township was the only top seed not even put to the test on Thursday. Jared Green had a hat trick and four others scored to lead the Hawks to a 7-0 win. Kieran Burns made four saves to set a new program record with 33 clean sheets in the match.

Audubon will meet Haddon Township in one Monday semifinal after a 4-2 win over Maple Shade while Schalick advanced on PKs after a scoreless draw with Haddon Heights to set up a meeting No. 2 seed Glassboro, which got a hat trick from Danny Guerin in an 8-1 blowout of Gateway.

South Jersey Non-Public A’s semifinals will see top seed Christian Brothers against St. Joseph and No. 2 St. Augustine take on Notre Dame. Non-Public B’s semifinals will have top see Gil St. Bernard’s against Gloucester Catholic and No. 2 Wildwood Catholic taking on Holy Cross.