SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD, NJ – After a disheartening Saturday loss to crosstown rivals Westfield, the Scotch Plains-Fanwood boys soccer team certainly had something to prove against Elizabeth on Monday.
For the first time since the season opener on Sept. 4, the Raiders scored the first goal of the game. The man who set the tone was none other than Ari Rosenzweig, who struck a lateral ball towards the keeper and took a generous bounce off an Elizabeth defender into the net.
The Minutemen were quick to answer, as Daniel Guillen slipped by defenders to beat Sean Murray, tying the game 1-1.
The Raiders found themselves in an all-too familiar situation just a few minutes later when Maximiliano Acosta found the back of the net once more for Elizabeth, taking a 2-1 lead before halftime.
“They have a deadly striker up front in number nine,” Scotch Plains-Fanwood coach Tom Breznitsky said. “He capitalized and we made a mistake on the one by not getting out quick enough to get it.”
In the second half, the Raiders were able to shift momentum in their favor, as Ari Rosenzweig scored an equalizing goal in the 58th minute. The senior has recorded seven goals in six games.
The Raiders would maintain control of the game throughout the second half, drawing a yellow card and tiring the Minutemen by moving the ball north and south.
“I say that they are a blue collar team,” Coach Breznitsky said. “They just don’t stop working and working. Last year’s team was overall more skillful, but these guys have a little bit more grit to them, they just don’t give up.”
The hard work paid off for the Raiders when Jonathan Schwab delivered a cross into the six yard box where James Tenzer met the ball to put away the game-winning goal in the 66th minute.
“I had just came in from being subbed off and I was disappointed with my play and I knew I had to come and make a difference because I wasn’t doing anything all game,” Tenzer said. “I was able to find the opening and get the goal.”
Elizabeth coach Joseph Cortico was proud of his team’s performance despite the loss, saying, “My whole team was here to play today. Even the two or three substitutes we used, they did their job. After the third goal I think some of them went into a state of panic and they cannot allow that to happen. They have to stay in control.”
“When you have two excellent teams on the field it can go either way,” Cortico added.
Scotch Plains-Fanwood coach Tom Breznitsky praised Elizabeth’s team, saying the Union County Tournament Final will “without a doubt” be played between the two schools.
Breznitsky also had high commendation for Jonathan Schwab, the 5’3” sophomore midfielder who was a key player in the Raiders’ comeback win.
“Kudos to Jonathan Schwab, the little guy, we put him in the midfield and he turned the game around himself.”
The win puts Scotch Plains-Fanwood at 5-1 and Elizabeth at 3-1 on the season, while Plainfield remains the only undefeated team in North Jersey Section II - Group IV.
“So far this season we have been a second half team. We haven’t been able to find what we want to play for inside of us yet, and it has been taking goals against to get us going. We have to turn that around,” admitted Raiders’ midfielder James Tenzer, whose expectations for the remainder of the season include, “not losing another game.”