SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – In round one of the NJSIAA North 2, Group 4 State Tournament, the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Raiders defeated the North Hunterdon Lions by a score of 1-0 Monday at Wexler Field.
The Raiders and Lions were scoreless for 73 minutes, until John Murphy’s free-kick goal in the 33rd minute of the second half severed the tie. The junior celebrated his goal with a set of summersaults.
“I had three other free-kicks in the game and all of them came close, so I figured I had to finish on one near the end of the game,” Murphy said.
The Raiders – despite scoring just one goal – fired off 26 shots on goal, compared to North Hunterdon’s three.
“When you get that many  opportunities in a game, [the offense] is fine. We were just unlucky and should’ve had more goals,” Head Coach Tom Breznitsky said after the game.
Chippy play during the game warranted seven combined yellow-cards. In the first half, the Raiders’ Murphy and Lions’ Jordan Sawaged received ones on the same play, and in the second half, SP-F’s Ryan Peterson and Tommy DeVizio were carded, while North Hunterdon’s Dylan Ottinger, Cole Marra and Jack Carroll received yellows.
“A chippy game obviously affects the outcome. It takes us out of our rhythm, slows the game down,” Breznitsky said.
The Raiders nearly jumped out to a lead in the 22nd minute of the first half, when Jonathon Schwab’s shot from the left side of the goal hit the crossbar and went over. SP-F’s Rob Viglione also had a good-look shot late in the first half, but North Hunterdon goalie Tyler Peragallo deflected it while diving.
SP-F goalie Sean Murray, recently named to an All-American game in December, recorded two saves, while the Lions' Tyler Peragallo notched 12.
With the win, the Raiders (seeded #3) advance to round two of the North 2, Group 4 tournament, and will take on Ridge (seeded #11), who defeated Bayonne Monday, 2-1, Thursday afternoon at Wexler Field at 2 p.m.