MONTCLAIR, NJ- In the opening round of the North 1 Group 4 state tournament, top-seeded Montclair bested No. 16 seed Morristown, 2-0. The win for Montclair keeps them undefeated and advances them to face Passaic Tech in the next round.
For the Colonials, their season comes to an end. After starting off 0-6, chances of making states were slim but they never stopped fighting. The Colonials won 2 of their last 3 matches to better their odds of making it. The Colonials earned the final seed and the opportunity to face one of the best teams in NJ was the reward.
“It’s a big deal for us to make states,” said coach Diego Salas. “Last year the kids on varsity didn’t get a chance to play in states, so that was our goal in the beginning of the season.”
Both teams eased into the game with Montclair controlling possession throughout the first half. Despite all the time with the ball, Morristown’s defense wasn’t allowing any opportunities on goal. In the last 10 minutes of the 1st half, Montclair had their first and arguably best chance of the game denied by Jonathan Nicholson, who was a standout for the Colonials all match. Nicholson finished with 10 saves.
Montclair struck early in the 2nd half when Tollis Soren buried a left-footed shot passed the diving Nicholson for a 1-0 lead. They provided the dagger just 2 minutes later going up 2-0 while not allowing a shot all game. The Colonials didn’t quit and gave the top seed a scare late on by creating a few chances and playing their best attacking soccer of the match.
“The last 15 minutes of the game impressed me the most because we just never gave up,” said coach Salas. “Holding them down shows that we have talent here and we have a young team with a bright future.”
Morristown has a bright future ahead of them and showed it down the stretch of the season. After the slow start, the Colonials were 5-5-1 down the stretch, losing in close games to good teams. They will look to continue their growth into next season.
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