Pioneers Squander Late Lead, Fall to Oratory Prep in Overtime

Pioneer senior Neil Vinaixa was the victim of a hard foul out of bounds which led to a red card issued to an Oratory player. Despite having a man advantage for most of the second half, New Providence could not capitalize, losing 3-2 in overtime. Credits: Alli Lamhing
New Providence senior Sean Regan tallied a goal and an assist before leaving the game in the second half with a facial injury. Credits: Alli Lamhing

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Jack Bizub scored the game winning goal several minutes into overtime to give Oratory Prep an improbable come from behind victory over New Providence, 3-2, on Thursday afternoon at Lieder Field.

The Pioneers were clinging onto a 2-1 lead they had for a majority of the game, but were unable to hold on for the last few minutes as Bizub scored the equilizer with a few minutes to go, followed by the game-winner in sudden death overtime several moments later.

Things got off to an auspicious start for New Providence in the 5th minute as star midfielder Sean Regan blasted a free kick from 35 yards out over the Oratory goalkeeper Sebastien Ramirez's head to give the Pioneers the early advantage.

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Regan and the home side weren't done there, as another free kick taken by the junior a few minutes later, ricocheted off Ramirez and dropped perfectly to the right foot of Jimmy Evangelos who was able to tap it in to double the Pioneers advantage.

“We got off to a great start just like we did the first game of the year (against Brearley),” New Providence head coach Jon Panella said.  “We came out flying and we were able to jump on them quick.”

The offense that was firing on all cylinders for the Pioneers was thwarted after the second goal, right when Oratory went on the offensive.

A free kick from right outside the box was sent in by an Oratory midfielder, and a poor clearing effort from the New Providence defense led to a Ram goal by Jack McKenna in the 17th minute which cut the Pioneer lead in half.

Things got chippy in the second half as senior co-captain Neil Vinaixa was taken down by an Oratory player out of bounds, warranting a red card and putting the Rams down a man for the rest of the game.

Unfortunately for the Pioneers, they were unable to capitalize on their advantage, and deep into the last 40, Bizub was able to even up the score.

With the game tied at two heading into overtime, despite being a man up, the Pioneers were considered at a disadvantage because Regan had to leave the game due to a facial injury, and other players such as Nathan Dounel and Vinaixa were in and out of the game due to minor injuries.

“Sean’s a huge loss and Nate’s a big loss too,” said Panella.  “It was a matter of a couple of minutes where they both had to come out due to injury and that changed things. But we have to do a better job dealing with adversity, just like any other team would have too.  But I’m still very proud the way this team battled.”

The rest was history as Bizub scored on a breakaway in the first period of overtime, giving the Rams the decisive victory.

The Pioneers look to rebound after this tough loss when they take on Arthur L. Johnson High School on Saturday at Lieder Field in a 10 a.m. tilt.

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