SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- An offensive outburst was the key to the Raiders' advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2016 NJSIAA North, Group 3 state tournament Wednesday afternoon. The victory against Hanover Park now gives Scotch Plains-Fanwood its 13th win of the season, more than doubling last year’s win total of six.
The Raiders’ sticks came out blazing from the opening whistle. Within the first four minutes SPF scored four times.The goals came from senior Scott Nizolak, junior Robert Gordon, and sophomore Jack Brady, who scored two of the four goals.
“A lot of different guys got involved,” said SPF head coach Nick Miceli, “We got off to a hot start early.”
As quick as a start the Raiders had, they began to sputter later in the quarter, eventually leading to three goals for the Hornets, two of them finished by senior Kevin Goettlich, who started the game second in the state with 80 goals.
The second quarter on the other hand was dominated by SPF.
“That second quarter was huge for us,” said Miceli, “It set the tone for the rest of the game.”
In that second quarter, the Raiders scored seven unanswered goals. SPF continued to not rely on one player, as five different players scored during that period. The offense was also aided by the defense for the Raiders, as they gave up no goals the entire quarter.
The Raiders continued to thump their opponent in blowout fashion, eventually finishing off their Hanover Park 16-6. Five players scored multiple goals: senior Joe Griffith (2), juniors Jason Calabria (2), David Walker (2) and Tyler Malaussena (2) and Brady (3).
Hoping to continue the early success in the state tournament, Miceli finds one critical detail in advancing further into the tournament.
“It’s about paying attention to the little things,” said Miceli. “You’re not going to reinvent the wheel by changing up your whole team, defense, or putting in crazy plays. It’s about doing the little things we’ve done all year and perfecting them.”
The No.4 seed Raiders will next matchup against No.5 Princeton at home Saturday for a chance at the sectional semifinal, while Hanover Park will wrap up their season Friday against Newark East Side.