Moments before the Non-Public A soccer final kicked off, 8-year-old Ryan Donovan had a premonition.
Donovan, a Delbarton ball boy and son of head coach David Donovan, told midfielder Andrew Ford he was going to score on a header, senior midfielder Jared Stroud was also going to score, and the Green Wave would defeat Pingry, 2-0 in the final.
Almost everything the younger Donovan said came true on Monday night. Ford had the first goal in Delbarton’s 2-0 victory in the championship match. Senior Michael Moshier had the other as the Green Wave earned their second consecutive Non-Public A title.
“I’m speechless,” Ford said. “To be back here again, playing Pingry again, it’s pretty amazing. It’s a little different, but still the same excitement, still the same joy. It’s pretty awesome.”
This was Delbarton’s third straight trip to the Non-Public A final. Though both titles involved shutouts of the Big Blue, this season the Green Wave capped the triple crown — and its school-record 22nd clean sheet of the season — at The College of New Jersey.
Delbarton had set a preseason goal of 20 shutouts, which sophomore defender Brian Finn admitted “seemed pretty crazy” at the time. Finn’s goal-saving clearance early in the second half seemed to swing the momentum toward the Green Wave. After Delbarton goalkeeper Scott Forbes was pulled off the line, Finn backed up and slid in to clear a shot by Pingry senior Max Helfman.
The Green Wave ends the season with 18 straight shutouts and has only allowed three goals this fall.
“To do it a second time is that much better,” said Forbes, who was in net for both championships. “It wasn’t as hard-fought and dramatic as the last one. … The dramatic was fun last year, but I liked this one. It was more relaxing. I don’t need the dramatics every time.”
Delbarton had trouble settling into the game in the first half, according to the elder Donovan. Early corner kicks, usually a Green Wave staple, went for naught. But it was a short corner which led to the first goal, when Stroud’s cross from the left wing found Ford for a header. Stroud and junior midfielder Tyler Bell almost worked the same play two minutes later, but Big Blue goalkeeper Max Lurie was able to punch it away.
Moshier found the back of the net on a left-footed shot off a chip by senior Stephen Kowalsky with 21:52 to play. The Delbarton players ran toward the sideline, and their fans serenaded Moshier with a chorus of “Happy Birthday.”
Moshier sheepishly said he hadn’t gotten to open any gifts yet, but he had already received a new pair of cleats “for next season” — and the Non-Public A trophy.
“When I hit it, I knew it was going in,” said Moshier, who turned 18 on Monday. “It feels great, just awesome.”
GOALS: (D) Andrew Ford, Michael Moshier. ASSISTS: (D) Jared Stroud, Stephen Kowalsky. SAVES: Scott Forbes (D) 2; Max Lurie (P) 7. SHOTS: Delbarton 14-6.