RANDOLPH, NJ- In the words of head coach George Mousis, “This was amazing… this is history for the Randolph boys soccer program.” Mousis’s Rams took down mighty Delbarton in the Morris County Finals with a 3-2 penalty kick win on Saturday Oct. 22.
Using their trademark stingy defense, the Rams stymied Delbarton, ranked #5 in the state, holding them scoreless through 80 minutes or regulation and 20 minutes of overtime soccer.
Although the Green Wave seemed to get the better of play during regulation play, when it came time for the penalty kick shootout, it was advantage Rams who had goalie Evan Miele between the pipes.
“We happen to have a great goal keeper, someone who can step up and make those great saves, said Rams head coach George Mousis. “Having Evan in net gives us great confidence, and we felt really good about our chances when it got to the penalty kicks.”
Miele, who won the tournament MVP and made 15 saves on the evening, credited his teammates for getting the Rams to that final point where he was able to help secure the win.
“We played well as a team, everyone played hard tonight,” said Miele “We know Delbarton is an excellent team, but with an all-around team effort, we came away with the win and I couldn’t be happier.”
After Delbarton scored on their first kick, Mike Galipo started the Rams off drilling Randolph’s first shot to tie it up at one.
“I had to put it away, I knew we needed to start strong,” said senior captain Mike Galipo. “I put it up in the top corner and it worked.”
Then it was time for Miele to make his presence felt, and he stepped up big time stopping the next two kicks from Delbarton. Randolph’s ensuing kicks saw Owen Aribiata barely miss when he rang a shot off the post, but Nick Panvini followed with a score for the Rams, who then had a 2-1 lead after three shots.
Delbarton answered with a kick that barely squeezed by Miele, who almost made what would have been an unheard of third save in a row. When Jaren Roener ripped another shot past the Delbarton goalie, the Rams led 3-2 and it was sudden death for the Green Wave after 4 shots apiece.
Miele clearly was in the Green Wave’s shooters heads at this point, and as their fifth and final shot sailed high and wide, the Rams erupted in celebration, rushing their fans on the sidelines.
“I was dreaming of this moment all season, this is the game I have most been looking forward to,” said Kyle Maietta “Three years in a row they won counties, and they were supposed to beat us again, so the pressure was on them. The longer it went on with no score, I felt like we would win.”
“Coach was preaching to us all game, high tempo, keep going strong, and don’t give up,” said Galipo. “We didn’t give up, we played through it all, and look what happened, we earned the win.”
The win for Randolph is the first Morris County title in over 20 years. It also breaks the Green Wave’s streak of three straight titles, two of which came against the Rams.
“After losing to them two of the last three years in the finals, this feels awesome to beat them finally,” said Miele. “The third time is a charm.”
“The penalty kick is something we've been working on for a long time now,” said Mousis. “But when you get to this point in the game it can go either way. It feels amazing finally getting to beat Delbarton in the finals, I think we represented Randolph well.”