The Delbarton soccer team had highlighted three dates on its schedule when the season started: the Morris County Tournament and NJSIAA Non-Public A finals — and Tuesday afternoon, a NJAC-National regular-season home game against Randolph.
The first two choices seem obvious, but the reasoning behind the third is a bit more obscure. Senior Mike Moshier explained the Green Wave had picked Randolph as a key Morris County opponent, a major step on the way to the team’s goal of a Triple Crown. The match loomed even larger after they played a scoreless draw on Sept. 16.
Both teams came in Tuesday with a lot at stake.
Delbarton extended its shutout streak with a 2-0 victory, ending the Rams’ undefeated season. Junior Scott Forbes made just one save for his sixth straight shutout, the Green Wave’s 10th of the year.
Senior midfielder Jared Stroud scored for Delbarton (10-1-1) and had an assist on Moshier’s second-half insurance goal. Even Stroud credited a little luck with his strike, just the second time a Randolph opponent had found the back of the net this fall.
“It’s massive,” said Stroud, a Chester resident, bringing up a September loss to Randolph two years ago. “They’re probably our biggest contenders in the county. This is a very important win.”
Stroud started things with a corner kick to senior defender Tommy Griffin, and was in the middle of a crowd of players in front of the Rams’ goal when the ball found its way there — and deflected in off his knee with eight minutes to go before halftime. Stroud also sent in the pass from the left wing which Moshier put home with 10 minutes to play.
Randolph (5-1-4) has allowed just three goals in 10 matches, eight of them shutouts for senior Greg Moserowitz. But the Rams’ offensive struggles continued on Tuesday, as sophomore Mateo Panizza spent most of the match as a lone striker.
Despite maintaining possession and moving the ball through the midfield against Delbarton, Randolph’s best scoring chance was off a corner with less than four minutes to play.
The Rams’ loss leaves Mountain Lakes — their MCT quarterfinal opponent on Sunday — as the only undefeated team in Morris County. Delbarton lost, 2-0, to St. Anthony’s of Melville, N.Y., in its season-opening invitational, but has yet to fall to an in-state team.
“They played hard, and we take our hats off to a worthy opponent,” Rams coach George Mousis said. “The boys gave it their all, but a loss is a loss. Hopefully we’ll grow from this and get better. That’s the nature of competition.”