When CBA Soccer head coach Dan Keane announced this would be his 38th and final season, it was more than expected that the Colts would play inspired ball in 2015.
They not only played some terrific, inspired team soccer, but they also gave Coach Keane quite the ride into retirement.
It had been four seasons since CBA's last Shore Conference Championship, but after a few rebuilding seasons, the Colts delivered Keane's ninth Shore Conference title, a 2-0 decision over Ocean Township.
While a Shore Conference Championship would have been enough to send Keane out with a bang, CBA didn't stop there. They rode a nine-game winning streak through tournament season, capturing the NJSIAA Non-Public A South Sectional Championship on the way. The streak carried the Colts into the NJSIAA Non-Public A State Championship, where they fell in a tight battle with Delbarton. It was Keane's 15th trip to the state final in his career.
Both the Shore Conference and Sectional titles were the first since 2011, when CBA went undefeated and won the state championship.
Leading the charge for Keane's Colts was Matt Thorsheim, a junior midfielder. Thorsheim was honored as NJ.com's Shore Conference Player of the Year and a member of the all-state first team after a 12-goal, 19-assist season. Thorsheim was known for his multiple goal outbursts and delivered some of CBA's most exciting moments, including a late game-winning goal against St. Augustine to advance the Colts into the Sectional Championship. He was also named an All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
Thorsheim was joined by running mate Ryan Nigro, the junior midfielder who added three goals and seven assists, but made his impact felt down the stretch in tournament time. It was Nigro who netted the deciding goal in the Shore Conference Championship game in the 68th minute. Nigro was named to NJ.com's all-state third team.
In NJ.com's non-public honors, CBA took four spots, including Thorsheim and Nigro on the first team, junior defenseman Thomas Judge on the second team and junior goalie Aedan Boriotti on the third team.
Of course, Coach Keane took home honors as well. The Colts' head coach was named Coach of the Year by the NSCAA for the private/parochial school east region. Keane was also tabbed Shore Sports Network's Coach of the Year, ending his career with 545 wins and 14 championship banners.
While Keane rides off after a memorable year, CBA looks to repeat as Shore Conference Champions next year with those returning juniors, and perhaps knock Delbarton off as state champions for the first time in four years.