SUMMIT, NJ - Michael Prosuk converted a penalty kick early in the second half, the solitary goal enough to give Westfield a 1-0 victory over the Summit Boys Varsity Soccer Team in the Union County Tournament Semifinals.
The tone of the match always lent itself to the mindset that the first goal would be massive, and go a long way toward determining the match winner. Westfield owned the high majority of possession in the contest, moving the ball quickly and accurately. Chances also shaded the Blue Devils, but thanks to some solid work from goalkeeper Alex Dadourian -- who had nine saves on the day -- Summit was always only one well-taken chance away from, at first, grabbing the lead and, later, equalizing.
Westfield began the match on the front foot, and Dadourian was forced into two saves in the first five minutes. The big stops seemed to steady the Hilltoppers, and the match -- for the next ten minutes -- settled in to a pattern of Westfield possession, Summit resistance, and few chances.
In the 16th minute, a Summit build-up resulted in the Hilltoppers being awarded a free kick when forward Darryl Martin was fouled just outside the area, straight out from goal. Eric Reyes took the free kick, which flew over the wall and straight at Westfield goalkeeper Koryn Kraemer.
Kraemer could only parry the drive, and the rebound feel to an on-rushing Martin, whose right-footed stab blazed over the crossbar by less than a foot. The goal would have come against the run of play, but it was Summit's best chance of the match, and a big let-off for the Blue Devils.
Once again assuming the role of the aggressor, Westfield stormed the Summit goal. In the 31st minutes the Blue Devils saw a shot steered just inches wide of the right post and, three minutes later, a similar opportunity was missed in a similar fashion, by a similar margin, on the left post.
In the 35th minute, Martin broke in through the ride side of the Westfield box only have his point-blank effort snuffed by Kraemer.
Two minutes later, Dadourian got a finger tip to a 20-yard blast, enough to deflect the ball onto the crossbar and out of play. The half ended 0-0.
Just three minutes into the final 40, the deadlock was broken. Prosuk was judged to have been fouled in the penalty area. He stepped to the spot and slotted home, low to Dadourian's left.
Down 1-0, Summit had time to come back, but seemed to lack the key to open the lock. Effort and energy were abundant, but the final pass was lacking, and even though there were a handful of chances in final ten minutes, the referee's final whistle meant the Blue Devils were advancing to the Final, where they will face top-seeded Scotch Plains-Fanwood.