NEWTON, NJ—The Newton High School boys soccer team shut out Harrison 2-0 at Livingston High School when they played them under the lights on Tuesday, November 15 in the first round of the 2016 NJSIAA Group 2 Championship.
Senior captain Cameron Saks scored both goals for the Braves. The first one was scored off a pass from Patrick Bresney just 4:40 into the first half.
“I still get butterflies before the game, even though I’ve played so many games,” said Saks. “Coming together as brothers and getting the first goal to push us ahead is always good, but getting the second goal in the second half was even better.”
Saks scored again in the second half, when junior Omar Ba shot a 20-yard free kick that was passed to him from Bresney and Saks got a head on it and got it pass Harrison’s goalie.
“This win is huge,” said senior and captain Bresney. “We knew the team was going to come out and be great and they were. They had possession, we just outworked them and put a few in when they didn’t and that was great.”
This game, unlike most, saw several cards for both teams. Multiple Newton and Harrison players got yellow cards for coming from behind when they were trying to head the ball. Two of Harrison’s coaches also ended up getting yellow cards for disagreeing with the ref about a call and voicing their opinions.
The most notable card of the entire game, however, was given to Harrison junior Ney Moreno. Moreno was given a red card just three minutes into the second half, forcing Harrison to play a man down for the remainder of the game.
Despite being a man down, Harrison continued to maintain possession of the ball. Harrison out shot Newton 14-6 and were the aggressors throughout the entire game.
“We give credit to them, they possessed the ball,” said Newton Head Coach Brian Martin. “We knew that was going to happen, but we said if we wanted it a little bit more, we were going to get it and Cameron Saks, our center back, stepped up and scored two goals.”
The Braves’ goalkeeper Sam Miller shut out Harrison, saving seven of the shots that Harrison took on him. This was the first time Harrison had been shut out in an NJSIAA tournament game since 2012. Newton was able to blank its fifth straight tournament opponent and added its 14 shutout of the season to the books.
Three years after a heartbreaking loss in the state finals at the College of New Jersey, captains Bresney and Saks are both looking forward to the final game against Bernards.
“We’re just going to try our hardest, win the ball, keep pushing as a team, get off some nice corners and long throw ins and just keep doing what we do,” said Saks.
Bresney had similar thoughts about his expectations going into the final championship round.
“We’re going to have to work just as hard, if not harder and I know we can do it. We’re going to come out with the same intensity same work ethic and we’ll bring it to them,” he said.
Newton will take on Bernards, who beat top-ranked Delran 3-0 in their game against them on Tuesday, November 15. The game will take place on Sunday, November 20 at 12:30 p.m. and will be at Kean University located in Union.
“We have played each other in past years but this is the first year we play each other in the state finals,” said Martin about Bernards. “We know a lot of their players, we know what they do, so it should be a good match-up. There is nothing unfamiliar about either squad.”
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