MILLBURN, NJ – Jared Goldstern scored the game winning goal off a direct kick with just under 12 minutes left in the second half for the Livingston Lancers who overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit and came back to defeat conference and Essex County rivals the Millburn Millers by a score of 2-1 on Monday night at Millburn High School.
Goldstern, who also had an assist on teammate’s Taylor Genovese’s tying goal, scored on an unlikely play from about 30 yards away from the Millburn goal.
With Livingston threatening to advance the ball into the Millburn zone, forward Kevin Sun was fouled just outside the opposition’s box to earn Livingston a free kick. Goldstern took it and blasted a shot on net as Millburn goaltender Todd Cohn froze on the play when Sun appeared to screen him before the ball tricked into the goal.
“We made the most of a chance," Livingston Head Coach Roger Rubinetti said after the game. "Kevin Sun did a good job. First he drew the foul and then he got himself in position (in front of the Millburn net). He just dummied it basically. You freeze the goalie. It was good for him (Sun)."
The beginning of the first half went in the home team’s favor as Millburn thoroughly dominated the flow and tempo of the game coming out of the gate. They had a number of chances to score and were able to break through with the first score of the contest just seven minutes in.
On a nice give and go play, senior captain Nick Deguines returned a pass for teammate Jeremy Plump who was breaking down the left side toward the Livingston net. Goaltender Brady O’Connor came out of his net in an attempt to make a play on the ball, but Plump lightly kicked it past him and into the open cage.
Millburn arguably had the better of play throughout the rest of the first half, but was unable to come away with any more goals. That would prove to be costly as Livingston came out looking like a different team after halftime.
Just a minute or so into the second half, Zachary Gokhman of Livingston almost scored the first goal for his team, but his shot attempt from a tough angle bounced off the crossbar before going out of bounds. However, Livingston kept the pressure on and was able to knot the game at one a piece off Genovese’s score.
Goldstern gathered a ball outside the Millburn box before he fired a shot on goal that was thwarted by Cohn. However, he left a juicy rebound for Genovese who hustled for the loose biscuit and blasted a shot into the back of the cage.
“I saw Jared (Goldstern) dribbling up and he took the shot," Genovese said. "I just went toward the goal and just hoped for a deflection."
“I think we played with more flow," he continued. "We passed the ball around more and we understood each other more. I guess they (Millburn) didn’t see that coming."
Adam Altmark had a great chance to bump the Millburn lead back up to a goal a few minutes later, but his shot after a corner kick was stopped on O’Connor’s quick diving save.
Then, with Millburn trailing by a goal with under ten minutes to play, the team was given a golden opportunity when Kirk Willens was taken down in the Livingston box to set up a penalty kick try. Rohan Sood took the free shot and tried to put the ball just inside the post, but O’Connor came up huge with another diving stop.
“I was just trying not to overthink it and I just tried to read him (Sood),” O’Connor said. “When I saw his stance I decided he was going to go left."
Livingston was able to withhold another Millburn push with under two minutes in the game. This time, Sood headed a ball off the crossbar before it eventually wound up out of bounds. Soon after, the final whistle blew.
After a disappointing loss to Seton Hall in the Essex County Finals on Saturday afternoon, Livingston will play the West Orange prep school team for the third time this season tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. at Livingston High School. They improved to 8-8-2 after Monday night’s win.
Millburn still holds one of the best records in Essex County. They are now 10-4-2 and will look to rebound when they play at Columbia High School in Maplewood tomorrow at 4 p.m.