On a sunny fall day at Centennial Field, Verona boys soccer team opened the NJSIAA playoffs with a 3-0 shutout of Sussex Tech as senior Shaun Degnan scored twice in the first half to give the Hillbillies (8-10-1) the insurmountable advantage.
Verona, seeded No. 6 in Section 1, Group 1, will take on the winner of the Pompton Lakes-Emerson game in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs. (No time, date or location was available as of Tuesday morning.) The Hillbillies hadn’t played in more than a week — because of Hurricane Sandy — and now have won three of their past four games since an October 22 victory over Irvington.
Degnan scored his first goal about midway into the first half on a corner-kick play. Sophomore Ellis Martin deflected the corner kick by Jonathan Tosh, and Degnan was able to play the ball into the net. He scored again with about five minutes remaining in the half, heading another Tosh corner kick into the goal.
Senior co-captain Aaron Seubert put the game away with an early second-half goal, making a beautiful run into open space from the back line and taking a nifty pass from junior midfielder Matt Braschi.
Goalie Mike King made nine saves to secure the shutout victory over Sussex Tech (12-7 on the season, and the No. 11 seed in the bracket). The victory avenges a first-round NJSIAA playoff loss suffered by the Hillbillies at Sussex Tech in 2009.
Photos copyright Mitch Martin. Used by permission.