(MILLBURN, NEW JERSEY) In an area of the state where there is minimal power and heat, the No. 4 Millburn High School boys' varsity soccer team returned to the pitch for their NJSIAA North Jersey 2 Group 4 against No. 13 Perth Amboy on Tuesday.
On the back of a hat trick from Nick Politan, the Millers advanced to the tournament's second round with a 7-1 victory over the Panthers.
Despite not playing competitively for almost two weeks, the Millers controlled the tempo of the game from the kickoff, playing much of the game on offense.
"I think we were just ready to play," Millburn head coach Jason Robinson said. "We have a big field, and everyone has been running. We haven't played, aside from two practices, we haven't seen an opponent in two weeks. I didn't let them scrimmage too much so that they would stay angry at another team."
Politan scored the games' first goal on a header in the opening minutes, when a corner kick caromed off the head of Michael Sorin towards Politan. He continued the head volley and put the ball over the Perth Amboy keeper.
In the 14th minute, Sorin found Kirk Willens in a one-on-one with the Panther keeper. Willens ripped the ball to the keeper's right side and into the net for a 2-0 lead.
Later, with less than 10 minutes to play, the Millers increased their lead to 3-0 when Politan scored off a pass from Rohan Sood.
Sood put a tally on the board in the final minute of the first half when he streaked down the right side of the pitch, passed the Perth Amboy defense and a hit a ground ball in the back of the net, giving Millburn a 4-0 lead going into halftime.
After Millburn scored a quick goal to start the second half, Politan converted on a off-angled shot from the left side to complete his hat trick and give the Millers a 6-0 lead.
"We just want him to keep it simple, Robinson said. "Control the ball and to turn and go at people and take his shots when he has his chances."
Spenser Heller added a goal from the right side to expand the Millers' lead to 7-0 before Perth Amboy's Kelvyn Leon broke the shutout with a goal off the crossbar.
Millburn will host the winner of No. 5 Edison and No. 12 Columbia at Millburn High School in the next round of the state tournament on a yet to be determined date.