NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Despite the fact that his boys soccer team trailed by a goal in the final minutes of the second half, New Providence head coach Craig Barclay never lost faith in his players.
"We've been in that spot before and were able to rally," said Barclay, in his first year at the helm. "This team never gives up and always seems to find a way."
And that was the case once again early Thursday evening as Sebastian Everton scored the equalizer goal with three minutes remaining in regulation and James Miller connected on the game-winner four minutes into overtime to lift third-seeded New Providence to a dramatic 2-1 victory over fourth-seeded Glen Ridge in the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 championship game at Lieder Field in New Providence.
The sectional title is the first since 2007 for New Providence, which now advances to the Group 1 semifinal round where it will play Waldwick on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at Indian Hills High at 5 p.m. Waldwick defeated Park Ridge, 2-0, to capture the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 1 title on Thursday.
If New Providence prevails, it will advance to the overall Group 1 state final on Saturday, Nov. 17 at Kean University in Union at 12:30 p.m. The Pioneers have won three overall group titles with the most recent coming when it earned the Group 1 crown in 1999.
"Take nothing away from Glen Ridge," began Barclay. "They are a very good side and played a very good game. We started to get a lot of scoring opportunities in the second half and were finally able to get one in. Once we got that one I had a feeling we would pull it out."
Glen Ridge (12-4-1), which was seeking its first sectional title since 2011, took a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute on a goal by Aidan Cusumano.
Everton, a senior forward, scored his 11th goal of the season when he connected off a scramble in front of the net. Miller, also a senior forward, now has 11 goals and 12 assists on the season after he blasted the game-winning goal off a feed from senior midfielder Ben Peng in the extra session.
Barclay pointed to a game against Oratory back on Oct. 18 where the Pioneers trailed, 3-1, before striking for three goals in the final eight minutes to earn a 4-3 victory.
"I brought that example up in practice the other day to them," said Barclay. "They're very good at always creating chances for themselves to score."
Defensively, junior Miguel Garcia made 10 saves to hold Glen Ridge to just one goal.
"It was just a great effort and a great game," said Barclay. "You could see the emotion spill out onto the pitch when the game was over. It's a moment that the seniors will never forget."