BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Governor Livingston Highlanders boys’ soccer team suffered a rough 7-1 loss to the Summit Hilltoppers on Thursday night at Snyder Field in Berkeley Heights.
With the loss, Governor Livingston fell to 2-5 while Summit (3-3) reached .500.
Summit scored a season-high seven goals with four of those goals coming in the first half. Daryll Martin and Jafeth Reyes scored two goals apiece for Summit. Steven Solozar, Andres Chacon, and Thomas Gilbert also scored goals.
Nikos Mouchtaris scored Governor Livingston’s lone goal.
For Summit head coach Ashley Sularz, his team’s performance on Thursday was a relief considering the Hilltoppers’ recent struggles on offense.
“I’m glad we got the win,” Sularz, who’s in his first season at the helm, said. “The boys played very well tonight. We’ve been struggling lately to score goals and we were able to put a couple in tonight. The boys were really fired up to play this game.”
The Hilltoppers didn’t waste much time getting on the board. Martin’s goal less than three minutes into the contest was a sign of things to come offensively for Summit.
Reyes followed Martin’s goal with two goals of his own within a five-minute span. Reyes was able to get behind the Highlanders’ defense on both goals. The first came in a two-on-one opportunity that left Governor Livingston goalie Jake Topor in a tough spot. Topor was unable to slow Reyes’ momentum and Reyes took full advantage.
Reyes’ second goal just under 20 minutes into the opening period was the more impressive of the two. Reyes once again broke past the Governor Livingston defense and this time used his craftiness to put a crossover move on Topor.
Topor was unable to recover in time to stop Reyes’ goal that gave Summit a 3-0 lead.
Reyes’ performance left his coach impressed.
“Jafeth is a special player,” Sularz said. “He really enjoys the game and when he’s on his game, he’s on.”
Reyes also left a solid impression on the coach on the other side of the field.
“Jafeth Reyes is a very good and outstanding all-around player,” Governor Livingston head coach Bruno Somma said. “He has a knack for turning guys around and is very tough to defend in the open field.”
The Highlanders got on the board just under 26 minutes into the first half when Mouchtaris scored off an inbounds kick. Mouchtaris’ goal gave the Highlanders a much-needed spark.
Trailing by just two goals, the Highlanders were clearly more aggressive on defense and looked poise to go into halftime with the momentum. Those hopes were dashed when Summit’s Chacon scored just minutes later to give his team a 4-1 lead going into the half.
The Hilltoppers put the Highlanders away for good with three second half goals.
Somma expected a better performance from his team but at the same time gave Summit credit.
“Summit’s a good and well-coached team,” Somma said. “We were never really in it. We simply got outclassed by a faster and better all-around team. We knew Summit was good but I didn’t expect to lose this bad.”
Like Somma, Sularz was also a bit surprised by the game’s outcome.
“Yeah I was a little surprised at how the game turned out,” Sularz said. “But I’m happy that we were able to play up to our potential tonight and improve upon the things we needed to improve on.”