Boys soccer defeats Millburn in thriller to advance to sectional finals


Peter Warren

photos by Peter Warren
Senior co-captian Patrick Ellman scored the game-winning goal in overtime to lift the third-seeded SPFHS boys soccer team over second-seeded Millburn 1-0 on Nov. 7 in the NJSIAA Group IV, North II sectional semifinal.
Ellman put the Raiders on top after a final push by the Raider offense.
“We were just coming off of a close attempt by Parker [Dvorin],” Ellman said. “And Tommy [DiVizio] made a great run down the left side and got the ball back across. It deflected and popped up into the air, and I tried volleying it but I barely made contact and it went towards Parker. He was able to give me a great layoff and I was able to get the finish.”
Despite the close scoreline, the Raiders dominated the game. The Raiders had over 20 shots and held possession for most of the game while the Millers only managed a few chances and two shots on goal.
“We were certainly a much, much better team,” head coach Tom Breznitsky said. “We had a tenaciousness and desire to get to the sectional final. They did not want today to be their last game.”
In particular, the Raiders performance in the first half garnered the praise of the team as they put in some of their best work all season.
“I think the best part of the game today was the first half in a whole,” Ellman said. “The first half saw us play some of the best soccer we have played all season, and it was incredible to see how well we were working as a unit.”
The biggest chance of the first half was an Andrew Murray header off of a Tommy DiVizio corner kick that rang of the crossbar 18 minutes into the game.
DiVizio, Dvorin, and senior Max More also had good chances to put the Raiders ahead but either had their shots saves saved by Millburn keeper Perry Schwartz.
Senior goalkeeper and captain Sean Murray earned his 14th cleansheet of the year for SPFHS.
With the win, the Raiders advance to the NJSIAA Group IV, North II sectional final against fourth-seeded Bridgewater-Raritan, who SPFHS defeated 2-1 on Sep. 24.
The sectional final will be held at Wexler Field in Scotch Plains on Nov. 10 at 2:00.