by Andrew Garda

Last year, Ridgewood High School’s soccer team Montclair High School’s NJSIAA Tournament, North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 tournament run in the semifinal round when they beat the Mounties in penalty kicks.

Montclair got some measure of revenge and then some on Tuesday, Nov. 17, as they shellacked the No. 8 seeded Maroons, 5-1.

Head coach Toure Weaver was very pleased with how his guys played.

“We were pinging the ball around,” he said after the game. “We looked really good, being unselfish with a ball, making good runs, being dangerous.”

They’ll need to continue to be dangerous on Thursday, as they welcome No. 4 seeded Kearny, after the Cardinals beat No. 12 seeded memorial 2-0 to advance.

The game will kick off at 2pm and can be streamed here.

The Mounties got to work early as James Modiano showed great touch putting a soft looping ball over the Ridgewood goalie’s head and into the net off a very nice pass by Luca Campbell.

The goal put Montclair up 1-0 with 31 minutes left in the first half but that was only the beginning as MHS kept the pressure up, resulting in a Patrick O’Toole goal off a header just two minutes later.

Felipe Gutierrez got the assist on that goal.

At 25:16 in the same half, Campbell got a piece of the action, scoring on a beautiful header off a corner kick to make it 3-0.

Ridgewood’s defense was completely overmatched by Montclair’s barrage of shots, and only some outstanding play by keeper Kyle Conenello — and a pair of shots hitting the post — kept the game from becoming a complete debacle for RHS.

It was all Ridgewood could do to limp into the half down just 3-0.

Montclair made it 4-0 with 29:15 left in regulation as Jameson Thatcher put a fantastic, curving ball from the right side of the penalty area and past the keeper on the short side of the goal.

MHS' Jameson Thatcher sends a ball past a reaching Ridgewood goalie in the second half of Montclair's 5-1 NJSIAA North East G, Group 4, Quarterfinal win.
MHS' Jameson Thatcher sends a ball past a reaching Ridgewood goalie in the second half of Montclair's 5-1 NJSIAA North East G, Group 4, Quarterfinal win.

Montclair continued to press Ridgewood’s defense, nearly scoring several more times even though Weaver pulled several of his starters. However, Ridgewood was finally able to score with 20:33 left in the game to make it 4-1.

Less than a minute later, Montclair got their goal back as Julian Shorter drew a penalty below the 18-yard line and was awarded a penalty kick, which he buried to make it 5-1.

Ever the perfectionist, Weaver felt his team could still tune things up as they prepare for Kearny, particularly on defense

“As you go on teams get better and there was some stuff that, we didn't do right,” Weaver said. “It's nitpicking, but you know, we're always preparing for that next game and better competition.”

Weaver is also keeping an eye on the other half of the bracket, where No. 2 seeded West Orange will face No. 3 seed Livingston while MHs is battling Kearny.

Montclair and Livingston ended in a 1-1 tie earlier this year, and the Mounties beat West Orange 1-0, so either way the Mounties know if they get past Kearny, they are in for a battle in the final.

MKA loses to Seton Hall Prep in overtime

After the last two seasons, Montclair Kimberley Academy and Seton Hall Prep might have built up quite a rivalry.

Last season, MKA lost to SHP in the Essex County Tournament semifinals amid some rather dubious penalties, including a red card which robbed the Cougars of a player in the last stretch.

Earlier this season, the two teams fought to a 0-0 tie in overtime.

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, it was more of the same, but MKA came out on the short side of the equation as the Pirates found a goal late in overtime to steal the game 1-0 and advance in the NJSIAA North East H, Non-Public tournament.

The Cougars finish with an 8-4-1 (7-2-1 SEC) record, and are ranked at No. 17 in the state.