JERSEY CITY, NJ – A double overtime goal by Daniel Caraballo broke the 1-1 tie with 11th-seeded Ferris Friday afternoon, sending the 14th-seeded Nutley Raiders boys soccer team to the NJSIAA Semifinals.
After scoring the game-winning goal in the 2-1 victory, Caraballo explained that he needed to redeem himself after missing the opportunity to score on an earlier penalty kick.
“I just got back in the game, waited for the ball to come to me and headed straight towards the goal,” the senior said in an interview with TAPinto Nutley.
Ilya Udalov scored the first goal of the day in the second half, giving Nutley a 1-0 advantage. About a minute later, Ferris’ Hugo Herrera followed up with another goal to tie the game.
In Nutley’s victory over third-seeded Somerville last week, the opponent also followed up with a goal shortly after their first.
“The same thing happened in our last game, so we were ready for it,” Udalov said after scoring his seventh goal of the season. “We never took it easy on them and played to our full potential.”
Junior goalie Brandon Syto recorded five saves for Nutley on Friday and has prevented 115 goals since September.
Nutley Head Coach Tom Tolve said that although the team made a lot of mistakes early in the game, they put in 100 percent effort.
“We didn’t play our best game today, but what we did do was give 100 percent effort, which really put us over the edge,” the coach told TAPinto Nutley.
One of the biggest challenges for Tolve’s team on Friday was playing on a grass field, since they are so used to playing on turf.
“I don’t think we were lacking on offense and I don’t think we were lacking on defense,” he said. “I thought we were playing well. We just had to change our game plan because of the grass and all the bumps.”
After a scoreless first half for both teams, Tolve talked to his players and told them to make some necessary changes.
“We started to find our range a little more, we started going up top a little more and we started throwing,” he said.
Standing at 9-10-2, Nutley will travel to Pittstown on Monday to take on the second-seeded (18-4-1) Hopewell Valley Bulldogs.
Tolve believes that if his team was able to achieve a victory over Somerville in the first round of the tournament, they can beat anyone.
“We beat the third seed, so we’re not intimidated anybody,” the coach said. “We just have to go out there and give it our all and if we do that, we’re going to win.”