Senior David Gill broke up the shutout for Chatham in the state Group 3 semifinals Credits: Mike Romano
Chatham fans turned out in Millburn for the Group 3 semifinal match Credits: Mike Romano
Brian Graham sparked Chatham's tournament run and finished the season with 17 goals
Chatham's Graham Delaney battles for the ball against Northern Highlands Credits: Mike Romano
Chatham supporters at Group 3 semifinals Credits: Mike Romano
Gill Scores, but Chatham Loses in Group 3 Semifinals to Northern Highlands, 4-1
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 • 10:45pm
MILLBURN, NJ - Chatham High School lost a hard-fought game, 4-1, to Northern Highlands in the NJSIAA Group 3 state tournament semifinals on Tuesday night.
The Highlanders received goals from four different players. The Cougars' lone goal came in the final two minutes of play by senior David Gill to spoil the shutout.
“We fought the whole game and that’s all you can ask for,” junior striker Brian Graham said. “The seniors really
did a great job this whole year and every one of them fought to the last second. They’re a great group of guys and they’ll be missed.”
Northern Highlands got on the board early in the game after Kyle Bissell launched a throw-in into the box where it rattled around until it found the foot of Rudy Mamary to set the tone.
“Playing from behind was tough, but I really think our guys played well,” Cougars head coach Mark Maka said. “I don’t think that the score line is anywhere near indicative of how well we played.”
The rest of the first half did not see any scoring action, but both teams continued to move up and down the field to force opportunities.
In the 47th minute, Danny Aversano, the Highlanders' leading goal-scorer, beat the defender up the side and penetrated the penalty box and skidded a low ball under Chatham’s goalkeeper Henry Stusnick.
“They had better play in the first half, but when we got that second one early in the second half it really let us calm down,” Highlanders head coach Sean Devore said. “When you push forward on us you give us a chance to counterattack and that's when we're at our best, so it kind of broke open from there.”
Northern Highlands started to run away with the game in the 56th minute, when J.P. Julian got behind the defense and booted the ball into the back of the net without even giving Stusnick a chance to react.
Senior-captain Cal Portnoy added the fourth goal on a defensive miscommunication in the 68th minute.
“I think the hard work and training the seniors put in will certainly trickle down to the younger guys next
year,” Maka said.
Chatham finished its season at 13-7-2, with an impressive state tournament run on their resume.