RANDOLPH, NJ — Defeated by fourth-seeded Randolph in penalty kicks in the first round of the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 tournament on Monday, 13th-seeded Livingston boys soccer ended its season with an overall record of 9-6-2.
Following a second-half penalty kick that put Randolph on the board, Livingston senior Tommy Falus, the Lancers’ top scorer, evened the regulation score with a header off senior Jason Neyer’s assist. Randolph ultimately defeated Livingston in penalty kicks by a 5-4 margin.
“I think anybody that played us this year knew they were in for a difficult game against us and that’s because of the strong defense we played all year,” said coach Roger Rubinetti, who had nothing but positive things to say about the season. “We have 15 seniors and they were the glue to our team this year. This is a really good group of kids who for four years worked very hard and really helped us to be somewhat of a power in the SEC over the last three years, where prior to that we weren’t always looked upon that way.”
Each of Livingston’s losses this year was played against one of the state’s Top 20 teams, including Randolph at No. 18. With the exception of Falus, who accumulated 11 goals this season, the team lacks big scorers, but makes up for it with a solid defense.
Without the seniors, Rubinetti said the Lancers would not have played every game that they did this year.
“We struggled on the offensive side, but our defense was sound all year—especially our goalie Josh Sampson; Matthew Santola, who did a phenomenal job; and Jason Neyer, who was sensational all year and was a rock back there for us,” said Rubinetti, also naming seniors Austin Siegel, Josh Liebowitz and Eric Silvertein as key players this season.
Nearly every game the Lancers played this season, including losses, was decided by only one goal, which Rubinetti said the team owes to its defense.
“We’ve been known over the past three years to be a very strong team defensively,” he said. “Most teams that played us the last three years have been worried about being able to score a goal on us because we’ve been one of the most physical teams in the area and the state to score upon—and that held true all this year.”
The injuries of two seniors—Ben Neyer, who could have been one of the top five players in the county, and Philippe Halaban, who injured his ACL against Seton Hall Prep early in the season—also affected the team this season. However, Rubinetti said this allowed other players to grow.
Seniors this year also included Daniel Berger, Jay Bhanushali, Jesse Ma, Patrick Miller, Ryan Muench, Jake Oshins, Aaron Sandler and Zachary Schwartz.