New Jersey soccer notebook: Week 9
Mother Nature’s mischievous snowstorm on Halloween weekend was enough to force the postponement of four county championship games, while the lasting effects of downed trees and power lines played havoc with the start of the NJSIAA tournament.
So while “Mom” takes a breather by delivering plenty of sunshine the next few days, teams are playing catch up in first round state action, while the county finalists need to squeeze in a title game.
BOYS SOCCER NOTEBOOK
RAMAPO AIMS TO RECLAIM BERGEN COUNTY THRONE
At 15-0, the Ramapo boys varsity soccer team has proven to be a patient bunch. While disposing of all opponents thus far, this is a team that has owned a specific mindset since last year – and that is to take back the Bergen County Tournament crown, which it lost to Northern Highlands by a count of 2-1 in 2010.
The Green Raiders will finally get their chance this weekend, when they face Old Tappan (13-4-1) for the trophy. Ryan Walsh has 17 goals and 7 assists for Old Tappan.
Game time is set for 3 p.m. at Indian Hills.
Meanwhile, in Middlesex County, the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament pits highly regarded East Brunswick against upstart Edison on Sunday at 11 a.m. at Woodbridge.
The Bears remain unbeaten at 16-0-1. Edison enters with a mark of 10-5-2.
And Scotch Plains-Fanwood will aim for its first Union County title since 2007 when it face Union on Sunday at 6 p.m. at Kean University in Union.
Union defeated SP-F for the crown in 1999, and lost to Scotch Plains in 2006.
A REMATCH WORTH WAITING FOR
Bridgewater-Raritan has the date circled on the calendar – September 15. That’s the day of its last loss, which came at the hands of Pingry by a count of 2-1.
Now, after 15 consecutive wins, Bridgewater has a chance to turn the tables on the Somerset County rival with the final set for Sunday at 1 p.m. at Ridge high school.
Sal Vitello leads the squad with 27 goals and 6 assists, which puts him tied for 14th in points in the entire Garden State. Senior goalie Alex Kaminetzsky owns eight shutouts on the year.
But before that championship tilt, BR-W will be tested in the states, when it hosts the aforementioned Union Farmers on Friday in Group 4 quarterfinal action at 2 p.m.
By the way, Bridgewater and Pingry have played for the last three Somerset crowns, tying two years ago before Pingry’s 3-1 victory in 2010.
It’s a game that can go either way, and is worth watching.
ROXBURY’S MOVIN’ ON
With an impressive county run in the rearview mirror, the Gaels of Roxbury are once again in the hunt in state tournament, and although they fell short for the Morris glory, coach Gary Irwin’s squad is already off to a good start in the states.
Roxbury improved to 14-6-1 thanks to a pair of goals by Brian McMyne in a 4-2 triumph over Hackensack in Group 4 first round action.
THE BOMBERS CRUISE TO THEIR 16TH WIN
Sayreville continues to impress on the Jersey soccer scene, posting its 16th win of the year with a 3-1 victory over Franklin in the first round of state action. Olisa Eze scored again, giving him an impressive 34 goals on the season.
GIRLS SOCCER NOTEBOOK
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP EARNS GIRLS SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP
For the first time in program history, the Freehold Township girls varsity soccer team captured the Shore Conference Tournament Championship with a 1-0 win over Wall, led by Gabby Galanti’s game-winning goal with just nine minutes left in regulation.
Freehold came in as the No. 3 seed, Goalie Hayley Pascoal earned her 11th shutout of the season and fourth of the tournament, as her team improved to 12-1-3 overall.
BISHOP AHR WINS DIVISION CROWN
All season long, Kerriann Callihane has been the proverbial thorn in the side of her opponents.
And when the money was on the line, Callihane delivered in splendid fashion, finishing with a two-goal performance in Bishop Ahr’s 3-0 win over Metuchen.
To put it mildly, the pressure was on, considering the GMC Blue division title was on the line. If Metuchen won, it would win the crown outright, but Bishop Ahr’s victory clinched a tie for the title, and handed Metuchen its first loss of the season.
Both teams finished 11-1 in division play.
Callihane owns 26 goals and 12 assists on the season.
PISCATAWAY TO PLAY IN GMC FINAL SUNDAY
The Chiefs of Piscataway are going into Sunday’s showdown with South Brunswick with a ton of confidence, but if they’re going to come away with the trophy, they’ll have to stop 17-goal scorer Jessica Puchalski, who has been key cog in the wheel of a team coming in on a five-game win streak.
The Chiefs are 14-3-2 and come in off a 1-0 shutout victory over Union in the Group 4 state tournament., where Vedika Bandhi had the eventual game-winner.
NORTHERN HIGHLANDS CONTINUES BANNER SEASON
It’s hard to argue when a team is 16-0.
Northern Highlands continues to rack up the wins and look primed for a big run at the state sectional championship after shutting down Montville 8-0 in first round action, thanks in big part to the hat trick from Madison Halloran.
LEADING THE PACK
The fight continues for the “Queen of the Goals” title, with Dwight-Englewood’s Rachel Cole leading the pack with 41, while Taylor Lewis of Willingboro and Alexis McTamney of Bordentown sit right behind with 38 tallies each.
Just as important are the assist leaders, with Kearny’s Catherine O’Neill delivering 24 and Chatham’s Lina Proska assisting with 23.
Talk about serving up some teamwork!
And we’ll serve up some more soccer notes in next week’s edition.
Mike Curci covers boys and girls soccer for MSG Varsity.