BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer The Middletown High School South boys soccer team is off to a 4-0 start that coach Sean Reid is hoping will propel the Eagles through the campaign. The coach, however, is wary. Last season the Eagles got out of the game with a 6-0-1 mark, but slumped at mid-season and finished 13-7-1. Reid believes it won’t happen again, primarily because of Middletown South’s improved defense. Thus far, junior goalkeeper Brian Hessinger has not allowed a goal, and the players in front of him, particularly senior David Kumm, have excelled. “We emphasized defense during the preseason and the kids have taken the challenge,” Reid said. “Kumm has been phenomenal. I always saw him as a midfielder, and that’s my fault. David is 6-3, he’s great in the air and he doesn’t make mental mistakes. He’s really solidified the defense.” Stopper Anthony Testa and Christian Caldaro, both juniors, have been strong as well. And it’s been contagious. Knowing that they won’t be in shootouts, the Eagles’ midfielders have rarely been caught out of position. Billy Snyder, a solid two-way player, has been the key in the middle. Senior Steve Vullo and juniors Pete Ferrari, Tyler Kimble and Michael Sica all contribute valuable minutes in the middle. Meanwhile, the offense has churned along. Midfielder Tom Gray already has six goals and five assists, after leading the team in scoring a year ago with 21 goals and 19 assists. Gray’s accuracy also makes him Reid’s choice for penalty kicks. Junior Thomas Campbell has five goals and six assists, after posting 20 and 20 last fall. Sweeper Ryan Leahey has contributed a pair of goals, both on corner kicks, and junior forward Chris Trimboli can also put the ball in the net. Reid noted that his team, like others in the area, will face a real test in the coming weeks and when it will be playing three or four games a week. “Actually, I think the state should limit teams to two games a week and extend the season,” Reid said. “It’s tough for kids to play that many games, have practices, and most important, get their school work finished. I also think the games would be better. The players would have more practice time to work on things and they’d be better prepared. “That’s not the case, so we’re just going to take them one at a time and continue focusing on defense,” he said. “We can score, we’ll be in good shape if we continue taking care of the other end.” Notes… The Eagles are one of just three local boys teams ranked in the top 10 in the Shore Conference in the early going. While South held the No. 6 spot coming into this week’s action, their crosstown rivals at Middletown North were the third-ranked team. The Lions return a host of players from last year’s 10-6-4 team, and are anxious to defend their Class A North title. Monday night’s showdown with the Eagles promised to be a good early test for both teams. Meanwhile, the CBA Colts, ranked second in the Shore, suffered a surprising 2-1 loss against unranked Manalapan on Saturday to fall to 2-1 on the young season. However, the Colts return a slew of talented players from last year’s Parochial A championship squad (its third in five years), including junior goalie Mike Giallombardo, one of the top netminders in the state, and should rebound to be a force the rest of the way. Their next test comes tomorrow when a solid Freehold Township team comes to Lincroft to try to knock off the Colts.