There are a lot of reasons that the Mainland Regional boys soccer team is one of the top squads in the Cape-Atlantic League and has a legitimate shot at winning the upcoming South Jersey Coaches Tournament. The Mustangs have an elite keeper in Matt Stellitano, some solid defenders in front of him, and an experienced midfield that is returning this year after winning the South Jersey Group 3 championship in 2016.
Oh, and they also have Jack Sarkos.
As good as the Mustangs are on defense, they still need somebody to put the ball into the back of the net to win games, and Sarkos has not disappointed all season long. The Bunting Family Pharmacy Athlete of the Week for the week ending Oct. 14 has been on a tear in October, scoring eight goals and adding two assists in seven games — all Mainland wins.
Early in the month, Sarkos scored a key goal to help lead Mainland to a 3-0 win over St. Augustine Prep, and he followed that up with three goals combined in wins over Vineland and Millville. Then, perhaps his biggest tally of the year so far came in double overtime, as Mainland nipped previously unbeaten Atlantic City 1-0 to force a tie for first place in the CAL American Conference standings.
In the next game, Sarkos added a goal and an assist in a 3-0 win over Bridgeton, then kept his scoring streak going by finding the back of the net in a 2-0 win over ACIT. Mainland heads into the opening round of the coaches tournament with a 13-1-1 record, including 11-1-1 in the CAL American, tied with Atlantic City (15-1-1, 11-1-1).
Sarkos has notched at least a goal or an assist in 11 straight games, and Mainland is 11-0 in those contests. Of the Mustangs’ 15 games, Sarkos has scored a point in 12 of them and the team is 12-0 when he scores a goal or has an assist. In games in which Sarkos hasn’t registered a point, the Mustangs are 1-1-1.
— Dave O’Sullivan, Staff Writer