Montclair Kimberley boys soccer got a Halloween treat with a win in the state playoff game.
The second-seeded Cougars jumped out to two quick goals against seventh-seeded Hawthorne Christian in the Non-Public North B state quarterfinals and never looked back on their home field.
Montclair Kimberley sophomore Braedan Keegan scored a pair of goals to lead the onslaught in the 8-1 victory over the Defenders. The Cougars (11-6-2) host third-seeded Timothy Christian on Friday (2 p.m.) in the semifinals with a berth in the finals on the line.
Along with Keegan six other Cougars scored in the contest including junior co-captain Joey Nigro and junior Lucas Furlonge.
Montclair Kimberley might be hitting their stride especially offensively. With the offensive explosion against Hawthorne Christian, the Cougars have scored 25 goals in the last four games, all victories.
Nigro said the team is starting to jell recently with the tournaments.
“We have switched formations, and it has worked really well,” said Nigro about the offensive surge in the last part of this season. “At the end of the season we have built up the connections and we’re like a family. We joke around and say it’s a Brazilian form of play.”
Going up against Timothy Christian, Montclair Kimberley will try not to look ahead to a possible rematch with top-seeded Gil St. Bernards. The Cougars fell to Gill St. Bernards, 2-1, on Oct. 20 in the Prep Tournament quarterfinals.
In addition, Montclair Kimberley lost at Gil St. Bernard’s in both the Prep B Tournament and the Non-Public B North title matches in 2022.
“We’re just focused on game by game whether it is in class, in school and practice, we just have to focus on the next game,” said Nigro.
For Furlonge it was his first goal of the season after he returned a couple weeks ago after suffering an injury in the first game against Glen Ridge.
“I like assists a lot more, but it is great to get the first one,” said Furlonge who added about his work with junior Mikey Rallatos who assisted on the goal. “It’s a great combination play with Mikey and a quick one two and a finish.”
Against Hawthorne Christian Montclair Kimberley received a goal each from sophomore Nick Carrascosa and freshman CJ Dike in the first 15 minutes of the match.
Keegan scored the first of his two goals with 13 minutes remaining in the first half to hand the Cougars a 3-0 halftime lead.
And then in the first six minutes of the second half, Furlonge collected his first goal of the season while Keegan added his second of the game respectively for a 5-0 Cougars lead.
After Hawthorne Christian’s Peter How scored the lone Defenders goal 11 minutes into the second half, the Cougars did not sit on their laurels.
Ninety seconds later Nigro smacked a shot by Hawthorne Christian goalkeeper Gamaliel Perde to push the score to 6-1.
Montclair Kimberley senior Sebastian Gonzalez and freshman Dhruv Nair would finish off the scoring with a goal each. Gonzalez notched his score on a penalty kick.