UNION, NJ - A sensational season by the New Providence High boys soccer team ended in disappointment as the Pioneers fell just short of winning its first state championship in 19 years, bowing to Glassboro in penalty kicks after 100 minutes of scoreless soccer in the NJSIAA Group 1 final Saturday afternoon at Kean University in Union.
After 80 scoreless minutes of regulation play, the two schools remained without a goal through the two subsequent 10 minute overtime periods. Penalty kicks were then held with Glassboro (20-2-3) emerging with a 4-2 decision.
Ironically, this is the first season that penalty kicks are being contested to determine a winner in a tied state final. If this match-up and result was held last year, New Providence would've been deemed a co-champion.
Despite that fact, Pioneers' first-year head coach Craig Barclay agreed with the new rule to determine the champion.
"I think its right to have (penalty kicks)," said Barclay. "At the end of the day though it didn't go our way. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose and unfortunately, that was us.
"We're devastated by it but I'm very proud of this team and the way they performed all season. No one gave us a chance at the beginning of the season and here they were playing in the championship game."
The title was the first for Glassboro, which was appearing in its second straight final while New Providence was seeking its fourth overall crown and first since winning Group 1 in 1999.
New Providence's best chances to score against Glassboro came in the 38th minute when Sebastian Everton's shot went just wide and in the 78th minute as James Miler's strike also was wide.
Glassboro's Griffin Rogers, who did not allow a goal in the post-season, finished with 12 saves in regulation and overtime to post his 17th shutout of the season.
Pioneers' junior keeper Miguel Garcia was also exceptional, halting 13 shots in posting his eighth shutout of the fall.
New Providence, which finished 15-8-1, captured their first sectional title in 11 seasons this year when it defeated Glen Ridge, 2-1, in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 final in overtime on Nov. 8.
New Providence will graduate 18 seniors from this year's team, including Devin Mulligan, who led the team in scoring with 13 goals and five assists, Everton (11 goals, seven assists), Miller (11 goals, 12 assists), Ben Peng (10 goals, five assists) and Brendan Regan (one goal, 12 assists).
The other seniors included Yazan Awad, Matthew Gonzalez, Thomas Harris, Jose Jimenez, Brian Kelly, Noah Lewing, Andres Marin Gallo, Matt Martin, Matt Misiukiewiscz, Andrew Nau, Ryan Sherman and Adam Venturella.
"They were all a huge part of the success of this team and will be missed," said Barclay. "The experience of this season will benefit the younger players greatly but next year will be a transition season for sure.
"All the players played for and cared for each other and were a pleasure to be around. This whole season was a great experience for them - and for myself as well."