Montclair Kimberley boys soccer: Cougars down Rutgers Prep, Non-Public North B semis
The Montclair Kimberley boys soccer team took care of one hurdle last week in its hope of winning a state title.
The second-seeded Cougars scored with a little less than five minutes in the match to take a Non-Public North B semifinals match at home with a 2-1 victory over third-seeded Rutgers Prep on Saturday, Nov. 5.
MKA head coach Robert Leather was especially proud of his young team’s accomplishments this season as it heads into the Non-Public B North finals on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at top-seeded Gill St. Bernard's, 2 p.m..
With the victory over Rutgers Prep, MKA raised its record to 12-7-1.
"Getting to the North final, the Prep B final and winning our conference, we've had a very good season," Leather said, referring to the Super Essex Conference Liberty Division title.
It was senior Julian Coviello who scored the game-winning goal with a header off a corner from sophomore Joey Nigro.
"I'm trying to read the flight of the ball," Coviello said. "Joey put in a great cross. … To score the winning goal that put us in the final is phenomenal."
It seemed only fair that the Cougars would win after a similar play off a corner from Nigro, with senior Jack Roselund heading the ball into the net, that gave MKA a 2-1 lead with 26 minutes remaining in the half.
But the head referee disallowed the goal, catching the ire of the Montclair Kimberley players and Leather so much that the coach was given a yellow card. After the game, Leather apologized to his players for getting the yellow.
Coviello gave Roselund props for his play.
Despite the disallowed goal, the Cougars were confident that they would put in the winning goal.
"I knew that we would score because we were putting the pressure on their goalie," Coviello said.
Leather gave his team credit for continuing to attack after the disallowed goal.
"They could have just folded after that disallowed goal," he said.
Montclair Kimberley opened up the scoring on a strange play early in the first half.
Cougars senior Nick Baum smacked a free kick from 40 yards that was intended to be a cross to Nigro. But Rutgers Prep keeper Ryan Parisi was distracted by Nigro flying toward him as Baum's kick took a bounce that flew over Parisi to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead with 13 minutes off the clock in the first half.
Despite dominating possession and being in the Rutgers Prep side of the field, Montclair Kimberley continued to be stymied by the Argonauts and Parisi.
And the Cougars defense got crossed up early in the second half as the Argonauts would get the equalizer to tie it at one.
Rutgers Prep’s Demi Osinubi was left open in front of a wide-open right side next to Montclair Kimberley sophomore keeper Alex Provost and headed in a perfect pass from Dylan Munn to tie the game at one in the first three minutes of the second half.
After that score Montclair Kimberley continued to put pressure on Parisi.
The Cougars had lost 3-0 at Gill St. Bernard's in the Prep B tournament final on Oct. 26.
In addition, MKA has recently been hit with the injury bug and the flu bug that has ravaged the high school.
"We have dealt with adversity, and I've never seen injuries like this before," said Leather, who has some players, like top scorer senior Omar Martinez, dealing with an injury but still playing.