Ryan Bornemann may have finally earned his varsity jersey.
A Morris Knolls junior striker, Bornemann scored both goals in his team’s 2-1 NJAC-American victory over Mount Olive on Thursday afternoon. Not bad for a guy who didn’t play soccer last fall, and spent most of the first month of the season on junior varsity.
This was the third meeting between these teams, the second in just five days. The Marauders had defeated Morris Knolls, 3-1, in the second round of the Morris County Tournament on Sunday — and they’d also played to a scoreless draw on Sept. 18.
But after giving up two early goals to Mount Olive senior Anthony Cerda on Sunday, head coach Mike Mugavero changed the Golden Eagles’ formation. Seniors Devin Lee and Gabe Haila were assigned to mark Cerda and senior Ryan Peterson, the Marauders’ main offensive threats.
They reprised those roles again on Thursday, “definitely a tough job,” according to the 5-foot-5, 120-pound Lee, who is normally an offensive midfielder. Even though the Marauders (10-2-1) were still able to move the ball through the midfield — and had 10 shots on goal to four for the Golden Eagles — their ability to finish was clearly cut back.
On Sunday, Cerda had a hat trick with a trio of assists from Peterson. Junior Chris Grillo, a center back, scored Mount Olive’s goal on Thursday off a deflected chip three minutes after halftime.
“He never scores pretty,” Mount Olive coach Dan Gryzwacz said of Grillo, “Every goal he scores is the ugliest goal in the world. But a goal’s a goal. … We didn’t alter much. We had more opportunities than them. We just couldn’t put it in the net. They executed on their opportunities.”
Bornemann had tallied off the near post midway through the first half, a ball which looked like it was going wide. His game-winner was an open look after Morris Knolls midfielder William Pauls had broken away with the ball with 17 minutes to play.
This is Mount Olive’s first loss since the season opener against West Morris on Sept. 6, a streak of eight shutouts in 11 matches.
Bornemann had been called up after senior striker Rob Principe tore his ACL shortly before the Golden Eagles’ match with Pope John on Sept. 26. Bornemann promptly scored against the Lions. This is his third goal in as many matches this week.
“It feels great. It feels fantastic,” Bornemann said. “We needed that one bad.”