September 30, 2013 at 11:21 PM
LIVINGSTON, NJ – Livingston boys’ soccer head coach Roger Rubinetti told his team before Monday’s match with Millburn that it was a “statement.” After 80 minutes of play, the Lancers showed the Millers and the rest of the Super Essex County soccer league that they are for real, defeating Millburn, 1-0.
Sophomore Robbie April scored in the 38th minute, leading Livingston to their third win in four games.
“These are the games that you want to be in when you have a team that can compete,” Rubinetti said. “It’s the challenge of the game. When you get out on the field, whoever the better team is, it doesn’t matter; all the records go off the table.”
Rubinetti and April both said this was an important game for Livingston to prove they are a “real” team and not a group “succeeding on a weak schedule.”
The Lancers took 15 match-minutes to get settled in, according to Rubinetti. Based off the stat sheet, they never had a chance to really “settle.”
From the opening kick, the Millers dominated time of possession and total shots. Livingston’s backline held strong, keeping Millburn off the scoreboard.
Late in the first half, in one of Livingston’s only scoring threat of the match, April found the upper right corner to notch the game’s only goal. The Lancers drew a foul about 20 yards out, from which junior Alex Sugarman launched a free-kick that led to April’s team-leading third tally of the year.
Despite playing with a lead the whole second half, Livingston found themselves on their heals for much of the 40 minutes. Millburn pounded the Lancer backline with rush-after-rush, but each time came up empty.
Livingston’s sophomore goalie Garrett Meinhardt made nine saves in the game. As a team, the Lancers have not allowed a goal in their last three victories.
“The defense did a great job,” April said. “[Meinhardt] really made a lot of saves, helped us out a lot. The defense was fantastic. Without them, this would not have been possible.”
The Millers best chance came with five minutes to play when a shot hit off the crossbar and ended up in the goal after a scrum on the end line. However, the referee stopped the play, claiming the goalie had possession of the ball before it was knocked in.
Millburn was never able to refocus after the play, seeing their record fall to 4-3.
“This is a huge win for us,” April said. “We’ve been close the last couple of years, last year we lost twice after being up. Winning this game is huge for us. It’s a step in the right direction.”
Livingston looks to continue their recent success on Wednesday when they visit Montclair-Kimberley, while Millburn hosts Montclair High School.