BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Tim Terezza and Scott Ferraro scored two goals in the first half for the New Providence Pioneers and it proved to be the only scores they needed to defeat their rivals, the Governor Livingston Highlanders, 4-1 on Thursday afternoon in Berkeley Heights.
The Pioneers came out strong against the Highlanders as the team looked to pick up their play with the Union County tournament just around the corner. Terezza got things started within the first five minutes of the game when he blasted a ball in that bounced around the Governor Livingston box after a direct kick.
"I was standing outside waiting for the ball. I saw one of their (Highlander) kids trying to clear it so I stopped him from clearing it," Terezza said. "Then I just turned my hips and struck the ball." Bobby Libera was credited with the assist on the play.
After a few more quality scoring chances the Pioneers struck for their second goal of the game just before halftime. Conor Pellas took a corner kick that found its way all the way towards the left side of the Highlanders' net and Steven Acevedo got a foot on the ball to put it in the back of the net. That score was 2-0 in the Pioneers favor at halftime.
The Pioneers did not let go of the gas pedal at the start of the second half, as they appeared to want to make a statement against their rivals after a 2-1 overtime loss against them a few weeks ago.
"We knew no matter what that we could not lose this game, especially after the overtime loss. We knew that we were going to win," Terezza said.
Bobby Libera scored the third goal of the game for the Pioneers just about two minutes into the second half. His goal looked much like Terezza's in the first half as a direct kick was sent into the Highlanders' box and bounced around before Libera booted it in, beating Highlander goaltender John Robbins. That score gave them a safe 3-0 lead.
For the Highlanders, they had some chances to draw closer in the second half. Jeremy Robbins made a pass to Julian Light in the center of their opponents' box. However, his shot was saved on a diving attempt by Pioneers' goaltender Mike Zimora.
Jeremy Robbins had perhaps the best chance of the game for the Highlanders when he blasted a shot from in front of the Pioneers' net. It appeared as if the ball was going to go in the goal, but Zimora made another diving save, this time preventing a score by stopping the ball with his foot.
After the Highlanders failed to convert on their opportunities the Pioneers struck for their fourth goal of the game. It was the most that they have scored this far all season. Justin Singer scored the goal after he received a centering pass from Lev Litichevsky in front of the Highlanders' goal.
"I think we're just getting healthier at the right time. It's good to see us finish off a game," Pioneers' Head Coach Teddy Niedzielski said. "It was probably one of the better games that we played."
Jeremy Robbins scored for the Highlanders with about five minutes left in the game off a breakaway opportunity that was set up by forward Julian Light. The goal prevented Zimora from earning a shutout victory.
The Pioneers will look to build on their momentum from Thursday's win when they face off against Plainfield High School in the Union County Tournament on Saturday morning at 9 a.m.
The Highlanders will also participate in the Union County Tournament when they play Scotch Plains on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.