It was an aura of domination on Monday for the South River High School boys soccer team in the NJSIAA Central Group I sectional finals against New Egypt.
The third-seeded Rams set the tone from the get-go to continue their winning ways in the state tournament, as they struck for goals in the ninth and 17th minutes on their way to a 2-0 win over the top-seeded Warriors to claim their second sectional title in three seasons.
“I think our confidence has been growing the last two weeks,” said South River coach Eric Clays, who has now led the Rams to four sectional titles in his 11 seasons. “We’ve moved the ball and played gorgeous soccer.”
South River (19-3-2) has been dominant during its state tournament run, outscoring its opposition 18-3 in those four games, and will take on South Group I champion Haddon Heights in the Group I semifinals on Nov. 27 at a site and time to be determined.
Junior back Adrian Pietrzyk gave the Rams an early 1-0 lead as he was able to head the ball and jar it loose out of the hands of New Egypt’s goalie after playing the ball off an assist from Paul Ponce.
The goal came off a set piece corner kick after Ponce played the ball short.
“I was just trying to fight on the corner,” Pietrzyk said. “Paul sent me a nice ball right in front of the goalie, I tried to get in front of him, and it slipped in. I turned around and it was there.”
Senior forward Feli Csombok added to South River’s lead eight minutes later when he struck a ball into the net from about 20 yards out off an assist from Pietrzyk for his GMC-leading 31st goal.
“I turned on the defender and the only thing I saw was me and the keeper,” Csombok said. “I just shot it, and luckily it went in.”
South River kept up its strong play the rest of the way, controlling the ball with its midfield play and out shooting New Egypt 13-5 for the game.
“Scoring the two goals gives you confidence throughout the whole game,” Csombok said. “Even though you have two goals, you still have to defend, and that’s what we did. We just piled up our defense and countered the rest of the game.”
Rams keeper Getsemani Lopez also made a clutch save in the 68th minute on Travis Ward’s penalty kick to keep the lead 2-0 after South River was called for a foul inside the box.
Lope finished with three saves for the shutout while Connor Ingenbrandt and Ryan Grasso combined on seven saves for New Egypt.