SUMMIT, NJ — The Summit High School Boys Varsity Soccer team's nine-match unbeaten streak — ticking along since Sept. 13 — came to a halt Tuesday at Gary Kehler Stadium in Westfield, as the Blue Devils scored two second-half goals to see off the Hilltoppers, 2-0.
Along with the end of the unbeaten run came the conclusion of senior striker Jafeth Reyes' 10-match goal-scoring jaunt, which actually began three days prior to the team streak, and yielded a whopping 20 goals.
Against Westfield, Summit found themselves up against a strong opponent, with Blue Devils coming off a 1-nil victory over previously unbeaten Scotch Plains-Fanwood, the State's top-ranked team.
Westfield — especially in the early stages — was first to the ball and winning most of the "second balls" as well. While not creating many clear-cut chances, the the home side shaded the run of play in a scoreless opening 40 minutes, although Summit did perk up in the latter stages of the half.
The second half was not dissimilar to the first, a lot of the play ping-ponging about in the middle of the park, and Summit struggling to string together more than a couple of successful passes, making their forays into the final third few and far between.
Seven minutes in, the Blue Devils broke through, literally. A minute after starting goalkeeper James Ford was clattered into on cross into the penalty area — yielding a Westfield yellow card but also temporarily forcing Ford from the match. Substitute goalkeeper Preston Coke-Corkern suffered a near identical fate.
As Westfield broke in on the right side of the area, Coke-Corkern came out bravely, made himself big and came up with the stop, only to bowled over post-save. The loose ball fell to the Blue Devils' Owen Ripperger who, having a vacant goal to shoot at, didn't miss.
No foul was called and Summit Head Coach Ashley Sularz alternated between attending to his second fallen goalkeeper in two minutes and protesting the play. Coke-Corkern left the match, replaced by Ford, and it was 1-0 Westfield.
Nine minutes later, Ripperger doubled his and the Blue Devils' totals when he knifed in from the right side and glided a shot over Ford as the junior rushed off his line.
Summit's best chance came with 15 minutes remaining on a free kick from 23 yards out on the right hand side of the pitch. Reyes stood over the ball and bent a low shot past the right side of the wall, but the ball struck the outside of the right post where it meets the turf, caroming over the end line for a goal kick.