Who: No. 1 seed Pingry (14-1-2) vs. No. 3 seed Hillsborough (13-3-2)
When/Where: 3 p.m. today/Manville High School
How they got here: No. 1 Pingry defeated No. 9 Franklin 4-0; and No. 4 Bridgewater-Raritan 3-2 (4-3 PKs). No. 3 Hillsborough defeated No. 6 Bernards 2-0; and No. 2 Watchung Hills 1-0.
Pingry Report: After having a seven-year run as at least having SCT co-champions next to their name halted in last year’s final by Bridgewater-Raritan in a 3-1 defeat, the Big Blue overcame a huge hurdle in the semifinals by rallying from a two-goal deficit with under 15 minutes to play and eventually beating the defending SCT champs in penalty kicks. As expected, the Martinsville school is no stranger to a game of this magnitude and will probably look to come out and set the tone early. They’re offensively balanced, but a couple of names to keep an eye on include Cameron Kirdzik (9g, 3a), Christian Fechter (6g, 9a), Matt Mangini (6g, 3a) and Henry Flugstad-Clarke (6g, 1a). They average 2.1 and yield .63 goals per game and have recorded seven shutouts.
Hillsborough Report: The Raiders are making their first appearance in the SCT final since 2006 when they were declared co-champions with Pingry. They’re a balanced, battle-tested and veteran club that shouldn’t shy away from the bright lights of the big stage. If anything, they have depth all over the field which could play a factor in a game with so much at stake. They played Pingry for the first time all season on Thursday with the game ending 2-1 in favor of Pingry, which clinched a division title with the victory. They’re led offensively by Sean Nemec (6g, 1 a) and Benji Seitz (3g, 5a), but balance in the key word here with seven players having scored multiple goals this season. They average 1.6 and yield .59 goals per game and have recorded 10 shutouts.
Prediction: Pingry 1-0
Staff Writer Joe Martino