Boys Soccer Back In Championship Land

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soccerchamps2016-15The Verona High School boys soccer team won its first state title since 1981 on Sunday after the Group 1 championship game against Haddon Township ended in a 1-1 tie.

Playing at Kean University, the two teams tested each other throughout the first half, which ended in a 0-0 draw. It took until the 43rd minute of the game for the first score, by Haddon, and another 20 minutes would go by before Verona evened things up on a penalty kick by Jack Farrell. With just five seconds to go in regulation play, the senior tried again, and almost clinched the game for Verona. (History footnote: Farrell’s father played on the 1976 VHS state championship team.) Play continued through the gray drizzle of two overtime periods, but neither side could shake out the title entirely for itself.

Verona’s offense pressed hard against Haddon, testing goalie Kieran Burns six times. Verona’s defense and goalie Billy Czupak kept Haddon’s drives in slow motion, putting three more saves on his already substantial career tally.

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The championship was the last Verona game for the 16 seniors on Verona’s roster: Jack Brandt, Billy Czupak, Gianluca DelBarba, Rob Farley, Jack Farrell, Bobby Hofmann, Devon Jacobsen, Wade Kistner, Derek Martin, Thiago Queiroz, Doug Spardel, John Tracy, Joe Trupia, Giancarlo Visentin, Jack Waldron and Nick Zamloot. Their win brings Verona to eight state titles since the 1950s.

Photos copyright Andy Yeates. Used by permission.

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