LIVINGSTON, NJ – Eric Sugarman scored the game winning goal at the 34:16 mark of the second half and Julian Craitar added an insurance tally on Monday night as the Livingston Lancers defeated Newark East Side 2-0 on Senior Night in Livingston.
Based on the two teams' records thus far this year, one would have assumed that the Lancers would have a clear advantage in Monday night's match up, as Newark East Side held a 3-9-2 record coming in to the contest. However, the two teams battled hard for 80 minutes and the Lancers had a strong second half to ensure that they came out on top.
Sugarman provided a goal for the Lancers after a back and forth first half. Just over five minutes into the second half Jason Fertig dribbled the ball into the Newark East Side box and looked to make a pass. He found Sugarman breaking towards the goal and the sophomore forward buried a shot into the back of the net.
“I just felt that if I kept composed I could just touch it in and finish it. I just made sure I was behind the last defender so I was onside,” Sugarman said of his game winning goal.
After a few more quality chances in the second half the Lancers were able to capitalize and score another goal to effectively put the game away. After a Newark East Side penalty the Lancers were awarded a free kick near midfield. A ball was sent into the box where there seemed to be miscommunication between goaltender Jonathon Lopes and his defenders.
Lopes was knocked down on the play and Craitar took advantage by booting the loose ball into the open net.
“I guess it was luck. Fertig did all the work really. He pressured the defender and the goalie,” Craitar said. “There was lack of communication on the defenders' part and I was there. I had to put the ball in the net.”
The first half did not go how the Lancers envisioned it. It appeared as if the team came out a little bit flat, maybe feeling the emotions of senior night coming out of the gate.
Newark East Side controlled the majority of the play in the first half and, if not for some quality goaltending by Jacob Karpen, the Lancers would have been in trouble after 40 minutes of play.
Jason Goncalves had four shots on goal for Newark East Side, but all were saved by Karpen.
Owusu Guimberly had the best chance of the game for his team. He shot the ball, but Karpen made the save. He gathered up the rebound and then shot it off the right post. Pedro Jose Barahona then had a chance to score, but Karpen again made a good save as the game remained scoreless at that point.
“I think they were a little preoccupied before the game with the festivities. In the first half we gave them too much room,” Lancers' Head Roger Rubinetti said. “We were arriving to the ball too late. We talked about tightening up the gaps, so if a ball is played we can step up and win it.”
That tactic worked well for the Lancers in the second half as they earned more quality scoring opportunities and only allowed two shots on goal from their opponents.
With Monday night's win the Lancers improved their record to 13-2-2 on the season and will next play a conference game against Bloomfield High School on Wednesday afternoon in Livingston.