WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Seton Hall Prep varsity boys soccer team extended its undefeated start to five straight games with a 2-1 victory over West Orange High School on Monday at Lincoln Field.
Junior Mike Hall led Seton Hall Prep, scoring both of its goals in the first half, and the rest of the team held West Orange to one goal.
Mike Hall scored his first goal in the 24th minute off a rebound on West Orange's goalie Joshua Feinblatt, who had seven saves. The second was crossed by Xander Saling to Hall as he knocked it into the net, giving Seton Hall the 2-0 lead. Pat Thees and Anthony Carracino had two assists each for Seton Hall Prep.
"There are no surprises here," Coach Marty Berman of Seton Hall Prep remarked. "He knows (Coach Doug Nevins) we possess real well, I know he has an unbelievable transition game and they have got great set pieces up top with between the throw-ins and long serves. So our game plan was to attack second balls especially and I told our kids when they pressure you, you've got to be really strong on the ball in order to defeat it. Sometimes they did it, but sometimes their athleticism overwhelmed us."
Berman was glad with the 2-0 lead going into the half and planted the message into the player's brains to not be on their heels and keep the pressure on West Orange.
For the majority of the first half, Seton Hall Prep was dominating with ball possession and launching an onslaught of shots towards West Orange's goalie, Junior Joshua Feinblatt, firing from all cylinders.
However, late in the first half, the momentum shifted from Seton Hall controlling the majority of the possessions when Senior Ian Faloye took the ball from West Orange's 18 yard line up to Seton Hall Prep territory, drawing a penalty that would lead to a balance of possession between both teams. The half would end with Seton Hall Prep leading 2-0 and getting the majority of the chances against West Orange.
Going into the second half, both teams lined up into their standard formations, West Orange's a 4-4-2 and Seton Hall Prep's 4-3-3. West Orange and Seton Hall were playing a back and forth game with both teams having equal opportunity to score.
In the eighth minute of the second half Ian Faloye received a cross from forward Michael Vargas and volleyed it from within the box into the net to break Seton Hall's lead into half, scoring West Orange's only goal.
"When they (Seton Hall Prep) are able to posses the ball and keep the ball, they are more dangerous," Coach Nevins said, "In the second half we were able to pressure them into mistakes, then we were more dangerous. The thing that was bad when you give up one goal, you could overcome it, but two goals is tough. But the team responded in the second half and we played really well."
Last ditch efforts by West Orange High school with back to back corners and throw-ins were unsuccessful, and the desperation to find the equalizing goal was felt throughout the West Orange bleachers.
There was great intensity through the duration of the game which usually occurs in a top-notch rivalry between two soccer teams that reside in the same town
"It was a great learning experience for us, I think the second half showed what we can to do and the way we have to play. So we will move forward and we will be ready," West Orange coach Doug Nevins said.
West Orange plays Millburn Wednesday at 4 p.m. in an away game at Millburn High School.