GLEN RIDGE, NJ-- Seven games into the 2020 season, the Glen Ridge High boys' soccer team is making quite an impression.
Head coach Brian Ianni's team was 5-2 following a pair of victories last week, as the Ridgers rallied past Caldwell, 5-3, and Newark Academy, 3-2. The Ridgers will play at Caldwell, on Oct. 27 and will be home to West Orange, on Oct. 30. Both games kick off at 4 p.m.
Ianni was pleased with his team's performance last week. The Ridgers have been a tough opponent, with its two defeats coming to state ranked teams in Millburn and Westfield, with both setbacks by a goal each.
"We learned a lot about our team's heart and no-quit attitude," the coach said. "We were down 3-0 to Caldwell, and were not sharp in our ball movement. Caldwell out-worked us, in the first half, and credit to them. They worked very hard and capitalized on all of their scoring chances."
The second half was a different story.
"We rallied back in the second half to find our groove," said Ianni. "Drew Hiner scored two minutes into the start of the half. We were then energized by our second goal from freshman Aidan Arnett. This was his first game up, and he cleaned up a rebound to make it 3-2.
"With this momentum, we moved the ball much better and rallied to score three more goals to win."
Lucas Costa added a goal, Hiner scored his second goal and Keith Juros registered the tying goal on an excellent pass from Costa. Glen Ridge goalie Segun Wallace had six saves.
Versus Newark Academy, the Ridgers trailed 1-0, at halftime, before bouncing back.
"Newark Academy was very solid defensively throughout the game, and made things difficult for us to find the back of the net," said Ianni. "We then lost two players with about 25 minutes to go in regulation, and were forced to play with two men down. Most teams in this situation would have folded. Our guys battled to tie the game at one. We then went down quickly after that, 2-1. Again, most teams down two players at that point would have folded. We tied the game at two, to force overtime."
The Ridgers received goals from Travis Burnett and Drew Hiner that tied the game, then won it when Ty Rank passed to Burnett, who found the back of the net in the extra session.
"While we had two slow starts to our games this week, we never showed any quit when we faced adversity," said Ianni. "I am very proud of how the young men responded and rebounded in both games. We will continue to build on this, moving forward in our season."