High School Soccer:
Tuesday, November 17, 1998
By Forrest Robleto
The Cherry Hill East team only let in ten goals the entire season. Unfortunately they let in five of them in the last two games. The Bridgewater-Raritan boys undaunted by a 1-0 Cherry Hill lead, tied the game in regulation and put in the final goal of the game in with only minutes remaining in the final overtime. It was a sad finish on a fine season for the Cougars and sent the Panthers to the State finals.
The teams played fairly even through the first half, with the shots even at five. It was a very physical game and Bridgewater got two of their eventual six yellow cards in the first half. Before it was over, they would also get a red. The first half ended with no score.
The second half opened with considerably more offense for Cherry Hill East, and at 25:57 Marc Lewis got close enough to take a hard shot that Bridgewater's keeper Dan Lampert never had a chance to save. East, who had only lost one game all year that they led one to zero, started to play a more defensive game. With 14:12 left in the second half, the Panthers' Justin Pollack Williams brought the ball down and passed it of to Julio Oliva. Dan DiBruno, who has been absolutely brilliant of late, hesitated while coming out and found the ball and Oliva behind him. The score was one to one.
With 2:55 left in the second overtime, Bridgewater's Anthony Soriano put a hard cross in front of DiBruno. The keeper got his hands on the ball but it trickled past on the foot of the Panthers' top scorer Justin Pollack Williams, who was left alone in front of the goal with the ball. He made no mistake. With less than 2 minutes Julio Oliva got a red card in some unnecessary and unsportsmanlike conduct.
When asked about coming from behind in both State playoff games, Panthers' coach Rick Szeles said, "We lost two games earlier in the season because we didn't come back. I think at the end of those games we were a little upset with ourselves. We didn't give up, we just didn't know what to do. I think we learned from that." On Cherry Hill's keeper Dan DiBruno, "The goalie was excellent, he was getting everything we could come near him. He was over Stanko's head, Brian's a big kid... to come out and take the ball from Brian on those directs."
Cherry Hill finishes the season 18-2-2 and the Panthers go on to the finals. They're tough games and the end of the season. Good teams have to lose... they're the only ones still playing.
Photos by Forrest Robleto
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