Andrew Zeledon tracks down the ball for possession. Credits: Jose Ortiz
Nick Abbott runs the sidelines with the Rahway defender, trying to fend him off. Credits: Jose Ortiz
Erick Reyes gets control of the ball and tries to settle it. Credits: Jose Ortiz
Alejandro Ramirez fights through traffic. Credits: Jose Ortiz
Steven Salazaar of Summit waits for the ball to land. Credits: Jose Ortiz
Summit's Andrew Gutierez rounds the corner against the defense. Credits: Jose Ortiz
Summit Boys Soccer Crushes Rahway, 7-2
Thursday, October 18, 2012 • 8:35pm
SUMMIT, NJ - If there were any doubts about how much the Summit boys soccer team has improved, despite being mired in a mini-two game losing streak for the first time this season entering Thursday's game, the Hilltoppers emphatically answered them.
On Thursday afternoon at Upper Tatlock Field, Summit jumped all over the Rahway visitors, early and often. The Hilltoppers got a hat trick from sophomore Erick Reyes, and three assists from senior Alejandro Ramirez, powering them to a convincing 7-2 victory.
"It was good," said Summit head coach Chris Yager. "We got a lot of playing time for a lot of players. We are going through a lot of injuries right now, especially with our upperclassmen. We moved the ball well, we shared it, we were confident and that's what we ask, especially next week with Scotch Plains."
Less than two minutes into the game, Summit seized immediate control behind Reyes's first goal, taking a thru pass from Ramirez, and beating the Rahway keeper one-on-one with a chip shot to the left corner. Rahway kept the score there nearly 20 minutes until Ramirez fought through traffic and found an open Reyes, who again beat the keeper, one-on-one.
"Alejandro Ramirez made it easy for me," Reyes said of his first career varsity hat trick. "It was a good game overall, I'm very happy to get my hat trick and go home happy."
With 15:11 left in the opening half, John Burns played the ball to Ramirez, who sprinted toward the goal-line. Just before reaching the line, Ramirez played a low cross to the right side of the field, finding James Holzer, who did not waste the opportunity, and put Summit up 3-0.
"It gives us a lot of confidence, especially in the midfield, because it shows us that we can move the ball, we can win, we can score a lot of goals," Reyes said. "Our next game is against Scotch Plains, we have to bring it."
Second half goals by Andre Zeledon on a breakaway, and Holzer on a penalty kick, put Summit up 5-0, and put the locals in cruise control, with 27:42 left in the game. Rahway got garbage time goals from Giovanni Aguirre and Joseph Pierre (both on balls misplayed by the defense and keeper, leading to easy scores), to make the score a bit more respectable, but it really was not that close.
"I thought we were very solid. The goal was obviously to get a shutout," Yager said. "It was two mental lapses and I think it was some of the younger guys coming down to not understanding."
Reyes finished off his hat trick with 10:48 left in the game, on an impressive no look, backwards shot, while Ashley Healey scored the final goal of the game for Summit.
"He needed it," Yager said of Reyes's hat trick. "He has been one of those players over the last three weeks, he has really been a massive contributor, at least in the attacking third, but also with those young guys trying to build. ...He's really starting to come into his own and at a good time of year."
Defensively, while they were hoping for the shutout, it was still a strong performance for the Hilltoppers. With less than 30 minutes to play and some starters already on the bench, Summit was up 5-0, and the rest of the game was just a formality. Rahway's two late goals look worse on paper than they actually were.
Thursday's win was Summit's second against Rahway, with the first coming in a 2-0 road win on Sept. 24. Yager, who said the team was focused on scoring goals entering Thursday's game, was very happy with what he saw.
"We have a lot of depth, we have a lot of young talent that's kind of coming into their own right now," Yager said. "We've played some pretty competitive games, we made it pretty far in the county tournament, so seeing that level has been a good push for the kids."
Rahway dropped to 4-10-1, while Summit improved to 10-4-1. The Hilltoppers are in action again on Tuesday in Roselle and then back at home on Thursday for Scotch Plains.