CHATHAM, NJ - Good things happen when the Chatham boys soccer team plays on Cougar Weekend.
A year ago, it was a stunning overtime victory over Delbarton. On Friday night it was a much-needed goal explosion, ignited by Jason Quiceno-Sierra that sent the Cougars to a 4-1 victory over West Morris at Cougar Field.
"We scored more goals in the first half than we scored in the first nine games of the season," Chatham coach Mark Maka said. "We wanted to have fun playing out there and we did."
The fun began when Quiceno-Sierra scored in the 23rd minute for goal-starved Chatham. Michael Graham sent the ball to Quiceno-Sierra, who finished with a left-footed shot past the charging keeper for a 1-0 lead.
About six minutes later, Tristan LeMon made a long throw-in that the West Morris keeper couldn't grab. The ball dropped and Quiceno-Sierra raced in to place the ball into an open net. It was his second goal of his varsity career.
"He was playing loose out there," Maka said of Quiceno-Sierra. "You could tell he was enjoying himself."
Up to this point, it has been a frustrating season for Chatham (3-6-1), which came into Cougar Weekend with just two goals scored. The Cougars had been shut out seven times through its first nine games.
"I feel we brought the passion and the energy tonight," Quiceno-Sierra said. "The passing was just there. Everyone connected, communication, everything was great. This is what we want to do every single game."
A hand ball in the box led to a penalty kick that Jackson Meyer converted for West Morris (5-7-1), cutting the Chatham lead to 2-1.
But with a little over a minute to play in the first half, Evan Zeliff sent a ball forward and Ollie Monaghan beat the defense and the West Morris goalie to the ball, knocking it into open net as he leapt over the sliding goalie for a 3-1 advantage.
"I've had three years on varsity and I haven't lost on Cougar Weekend," Chatham goalie Henry Stusnick said. "It was so nice (to get some goals). I knew that they were capable of it, they're all really talented. We were due for some. It can only last so long before the goals start going in. I think it can be a turning point. We have to bring the same intensity every game."
James Lind then sealed it when he raced down the right wing and finished off a cross from Steven Florez with 14 minutes left in the game. The goal was the first of his varsity career for Lind, a junior.
"The key for us is that we played well defensively and limited their chances," Stusnick said. "I think that was the standout. Most games I've had to make five or six legit saves, but this game I didn't make any. Now we're playing so much better defensively, its helping our offense."
Jason Quiceno-Sierra scores the first goal of the game for Chatham in the 23rd minute
Jason Quiceno-Sierra scores his second goal off a throw-in by Tristan LeMon in the first half
James Lind finishes for his first varsity goal after receiving a cross from Steven Florez