WEST ORANGE, NJ- The West Orange boys soccer team advanced to the semifinals of the NJSIAA tournament Friday afternoon at home with a hard fought, 1-0, win over Fairlawn.
Both teams were extremely competitive, leading to a scoreless first half, although the Mountaineers did control the ball for the most part, outshooting Fairlawn, 12-4, during the contest.
West Orange finally broke the deadlock when Zack Ames found junior defender Andrei Rosu, who was able to find the back of the net, giving the Mountaineers all they would need to win and advance.
"It was a very intense elimination game,” said Rosu. “We had a few dangerous chances and it only took one goal to send us through the next round.”
He added, “Fairlawn is a very good team, and our squad displayed mental and physical toughness that is very hard to match."
David Vaknin was busy in net for Fairlawn, making 11 saves. Diego Pedrido handled all four of his save chances for West Orange.
“We knew coming into the game that Fairlawn was going to work hard and give us a run for our money, but we defended very well as a team and created a lot of scoring chances offensively,” said defender Jonathan Banks. “It all comes down to our will and hunger to win, and our commitment to wanting to be successful.”
The win sets up a rematch with Livingston who shocked the top-seeded Mountaineers in the Essex County tournament. The rematch will take place Nov. 10 in West Orange, with both teams looking to advance to the NJSIAA final.
“It's going to be a tough game (against Livingston), but I am 100 percent confident that our coaching staff will prepare us in every single way possible to fight hard and move on in the state tournament,” said junior Banks. “We are all ready to defend our home turf on Tuesday with a big win.”