RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph boys soccer team kept their super successful season alive with a 3-0 win over Passaic in the NJSIAA state sectional semifinals on Thursday Nov 19 at DaSilva field in Randolph. The win moved the Rams record to an impressive 11-1 on the season, and saw goalkeeper Nick Alvarado earn his seventh shutout of the season. (Additional Photos in Link at end of story)
"The team played great today, we all knew what we had to do to get this win,” said captain and defensive leader Joe Reed. “We all came out here and played our hardest. We know that when we do that, we are hard to beat, especially on DaSilva
Randolph did get the better of the play early, threatening the Passaic net often with rushes up field and well-placed through balls from the defense and midfield. Akay Utku converted on one of those about 20 minutes in, as he beat a defender to the ball and fired a shot from just inside the 18, back across the net to the far post for a 1-0 Rams lead.
Then with twelve minutes left in the half the Rams drew a penalty and had a free kick from about 30 yards out on the right side of the net. Senior Alex Marks drove to the net and redirected the ball with a perfectly timed header that beat the goalkeeper for a 2-0 Randolph lead.
After half, the Rams made sure to protect their lead before picking up some insurance when senior captain Chris Keaney knocked in the third goal to put the game out of reach.
“It’s been a different year for us, but that has faded a bit now that we are playing more regularly with this tournament,” said Reed, when asked about the adversity and uncertainty that Covid-19 brought to all high school sports. “But it’s been a lot of fun, this is a great group, and we have had a great time together this season.”
As for their next game, Randolph caught a bit of a break when No. 1 Seed Clifton lost their semifinal match to No. 4 Seed Patterson Kennedy. Clifton was undefeated at 12-0 on the season but fell in a shootout after a 0-0 regulation and double OT. That means the Rams, who are the No. 2 Seed get to host the finals match at home on Saturday Nov. 21.
“It’s going to be great to play my final game of Randolph soccer on our home field for the championship,” said Reed. “Hopefully that gives us a little of an advantage playing on our home field.”
The time for the game has not yet been announced. For extra game photos CLICK HERE