SPOTSWOOD, NJ - The Spotswood High School boys varsity soccer team shares its fourth Greater Middlesex Conference Blue Division championship under head coach Jeff Marvinny with South Plainfield High School. With South Plainfield's 2-0 victory Thursday over John F. Kennedy High School, both teams complete their GMC Blue Division games with an 8-2 record. The Chargers and the Tigers also split their two regular season meetings this fall.

Marvinny has been behind the boys' bench for 17 season and last won a title in 2016. The 2016 championship ended a decade-long drought.

"I'm so happy for the boys," Marvinny said. "This senior class were freshmen when we last won the division in 2016. They really wanted to win it again as seniors and really worked hard to do it. The journey wasn't always easy and it's not supposed to be. The way they battled through tough times in the season makes me proud. We are playing our best soccer now and the players continuing to get better makes me really happy as well."

Sign Up for Milltown/Spotswood Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

The Chargers only lost two games this season over fellow Blue Division teams and swept both games with their chief rivals, South River High School.

"We try not to make any one game bigger than any other, but obviously the South River games are important to the team," Marvinny explained. "The first game was part of a day at Spotswood where us, the girls tennis team and the football team all played and beat South River. We definitely wanted to make sure we did our part that day. The night game at South River is probably the game everyone looks for when they get the schedule. A lot of our former players come back. Its just a lot of fun. Usually, as was the case this year as well, our two teams are battling at the top of the division so the games are hard fought, competitive and fun."

In addition to the Rams, the 2019 Blue Division champs were successful against other teams in their division as well.

"I feel like we had an extra focus to our level of play," Marvinny said of the team's performance on the field against fellow Blue Division teams. "The boys knew every division game was important if they wanted to win a title. Out of division games, we didn't always play with the same focus and desire, not to take anything away from the teams that beat us. They outplayed us on those days. I could just see a little something more in their eyes for the division games."

Senior Andrew Bishara was in net for every Spotswood game this season and backstopped the team to seven shutouts, including two in a row to clinch a tie for the division title.

"Andrew is such a leader in the back," Marvinny said of Bishara. "He helps organize our defense. Knowing we have him back there gives us a little room for error since we know he can clean up any mess. It allows the rest of our defense to play the way we want them to with confidence. He has made some big saves for us."

In addition to Bishara, the Chargers had three other returning All-Blue Division players on the field this season, including Chris Moran, Luke Tharney and Yanni Hatzistefanis.

"Obviously their play has been really important for us," Marvinny said. "Chris, Yanni and Luke have all scored big goals for us. They are on the top of the other teams scouting reports. Andrew gives us such confidence to play they way we want to play, but what has really had a big impact is the way other players have stepped up." 
 
"Liam Barlow has been incredible the past few weeks," Marvinny continued. "The back line of Brian Lumsden, Jon Wasserman, Steven Karczewski, Jason Schwartz and Miguel Chica have been really tough to beat.  Getting Timmy Smith healthy in the midfield gives us freedom to push more players forward. Gabe Rosario and Jimmy Lentino have made big steps up from more reserve roles last year. Aiden Scher has added the ability to keep the ball in the middle of the field. Sunny Goswami and Andrew Dao have come up from the JV team last year and have contributed."
 
Spotswood has three regular season games left on the schedule including a Saturday morning trip down the shore to play Brick Memorial High School tomorrow. Tournament season gets rolling soon with the Chargers facing off in the Greater Middlesex County Tournament and the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group Two Tournament. Seedings and matchups have not yet been announced for the upcoming tournaments. The Chargers though are looking forward to having more than three games remaining on the calendar.
 
"First and foremost is to continue to get better," Marvinny said of the prospect of the upcoming tournaments. "If we don't keep improving we won't be able to make a run in either tournament. We have to continue looking at the next game on our schedule as the most important game we play. Hopefully we will be in each tournament long enough to play a lot more soccer."