UNION, NJ—Despite the snow falling and windy weather, the Newton High School boys soccer team met on the field at Kean University to go up against Bernards for the State Championship Title on Sunday.
The Newton Braves defense, anchored by Omar Ba, Cameron Saks, Liam Kerrick and Kevin Ayoso, played hard and strong against Bernards, but was unable to stop them as they made a goal off a corner kick in the second half, to take the state championship title 1-0.
“They [Bernards] are a top-caliper team and I think we came out and matched them,” said Newton’s head coach Brian Martin. “I think we played just as well as them.”
Senior captains Saks and Patrick Bresney made a decision before the game in regards to the wind and how it would affect their play.
“We chose to defend the side where the wind was going in our direction, in hopes of scoring an early goal,” said Saks. “But that unfortunately did not happen.”
The wind at Kean University blew between 15 and 17 miles per hour, as both teams fought hard against it and tried to use it to their advantage. Being unpredictable, it was a factor in the game.
“It [the wind] was rough,” said Bresney. “One of the things we do well is getting the ball in, but we couldn’t get the ball where we wanted it to go on some of the throw-ins.”
Three years ago, in the sectional championship against Delran, Newton played in similar conditions as they did against Bernards.
“Back when we took Delran for the state title, it was the windiest day of the year and today was the same,” said Martin. “But I will never, ever, as a coach, blame the results on those external factors, it’s just not who I am. It made it hard for both teams, they had to play with the same wind that we did.”
Saks and Brensey, who were freshmen when the Braves battled to the Group 2 final and fell to Delran, 3-2, in the 2013 state championship, took it upon themselves to lead Newton to the state championships this year.
“The only thing I could ask for that would be better, would have been to win the state title,” said Bresney. “We had a great season, a great year and of course it is disappointing but I’m happy with my team, they played great, and I love them like family.”
Although today’s game ended their season, the Newton High School Braves won the sectional title again this year and look forward to another new season next year, despite losing a few key players.
“You know we have to hold our heads high,” said Martin. “I couldn’t be more proud of them. They are a great group of kids and I love going to practice and I’m going to miss seeing them every day. It is just an amazing environment we have up at the high school and I just couldn’t be happier with them.”
For the full album of pictures from the championship game, visit the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TAPintoNewton