The Verona boys soccer team put up a spirited fight but dropped a 1-0 decision to Livingston High School on Thursday night in the semifinal round of the Essex County Tournament.
The Hillbillies (now 13-1 after their first loss of the season) fell behind about 10 minutes into the game, which was played at Millburn High School, after the Lancers converted a penalty kick, which proved to be the difference in the contest. Livingston, a North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 school, now plays Seton Hall Prep on Saturday for the ECT championship. Livingston was awarded the penalty shot after a foul in the box on a corner kick.
Verona played aggressively, but came up just short on several opportunities. Goalie Brady O’Connor of Livingston made six saves, including stopping two attempts by Verona senior midfielder Dwight Tucci.
Mike King stopped six Livingston shots in the contest, and just missed making a diving save on the penalty kick that decided the game. The Verona defense, once again, put in a masterful effort to hold Livingston to just a handful of shots.
O’Connor of Livingston stopped a hard line drive shot from Tucci in the first half, and also came up with a save on his header attempt in the second half.
Verona still stands atop the rankings for North Jersey Section 1, Group 1, which means the boys still have the state playoffs in their future.