BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Governor Livingston Highlander boys’ soccer team fell to the Bernards Mountaineers, 5-1, on Saturday. The loss was Governor Livingston’s second in a row as the Highlanders have been outscored by a combined 12-2 in those two losses.
The Highlanders fell to 2-6 with the loss while Bernards improved to 3-1-1 with the win.
Thomas Abusado scored Governor Livingston’s lone goal while Bernards received goals from Nick Neptune (two), Nico Arza, Dan Paez, and Daniel Schindler. All five of Bernards goals were assisted.
Governor Livingston actually got off to an impressive start on Saturday. The Highlanders held Bernards scoreless for much of the first half and struck first on Abusado’s goal 19 minutes into the first half.
Governor Livingston displayed much intensity on both ends of the field, especially defensively. Governor Livingston goalie Jake Topor was an eraser defensively. Topor had several nice diving saves in the game’s early portions and his effort rubbed off on his teammates. Even though the Mountaineers were able to muster up a few fastbreak opportunities early, the Highlander defenders showed good recovery in getting back on defense to prevent goals.
Everything changed for the Highlanders 25 minutes into the first half when Bernards’ Neptune tied the game at one apiece. The Mountaineers would strike again five minutes later when Paez converted on a penalty kick to put give his team a 2-1 advantage.
Paez’ goal may have been the most impressive of the day. After a teammate faked a kick from one direction Paez came from the opposite direction to kick a laser past Topor.
Bernards struck again just one minute later on a Dan Schindler goal off Paez’ assist. Schindler’s goal came on a fastbreak that pitted Schindler and Paez against Topor.
Schindler’s goal capped a seven-minute span in which the Mountaineers scored three goals. The scoring spree gave the Mountaineers all the momentum and undoubtedly shocked the Highlanders.
The Highlanders had their fair chances to score in the first half but were unable to. The most costly miscue came just one minute before halftime. The Highlanders had several cracks at a goal after being awarded an inbounds kick but missed on all of them.
Neptune’s second goal 14 minutes into the second half all but put the game away for good while Arza’s goal 24 minutes into the half was the capper.
The Highlanders were never able to recover mentally from Bernards’ onslaught at the end of the first half.
The Highlanders will return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Plainfield for a showdown with the Cardinals. The team will return home next Friday for a matchup with Morristown.