GLEN RIDGE, NJ – For the Glen Ridge High School boys’ varsity soccer program, the numbers are staggering in terms of personnel.
The program has a total of 77 players, with good numbers across all three levels: freshman, JV and varsity.
Indeed, with quality depth and talent, the varsity team is set up to make another strong run this season. The Ridgers, under longtime head coach Steve Reitberger, were runner-up in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 1 state tournament last season, falling to Dayton, 2-1, in overtime in the championship game to finish with a 14-6-1 record.
GRHS, now playing up one division in the Super Essex Conference, has enjoyed a good start to the season.
In the season opener, the Ridgers defeated Cedar Grove, 2-0, Sept. 5 in Cedar Grove, in a SEC non-divisional game that they dominated for most of play.
After a scoreless first half, junior Emmett Martin gave the Ridgers their first goal of the season. Senior midfielder/tri-captain Arran Robertson had a dead ball and crossed it to Martin, who one-timed it into the net.
Robertson had another dead ball and drilled through a pack of players. The ball bounced off around four players. Sophomore left forward Gavin Robertson, Aron’s brother, got to the loose ball and scored.
The Ridgers then dropped a 1-0 decision to Verona on Sept. 8 in Verona in a SEC-Liberty Division game. A Verona player beat a Glen Ridge defender one-one-one before drilling a shot from about 18 yards for the lone goal of the game.
Despite the tough loss, Reitberger was proud of his team’s effort.
“It was a good, hard-fought game,” he said. “We had the better of the possession, but they had the better of the hustle.”
The Ridgers bounced back with a 3-1 win over Nutley in a SEC-Liberty Division game on Sept. 11 at Carteret Park to move to a 2-1 record.
Along with Aron Robertson, the other captains are senior midfielder Lucas Burke and senior center-back Christian Samuels.
The Ridgers also have three goalies. Julian Reeda, a senior, is the varsity starter, while junior Alex Chang and sophomore Logan Kotronos will interchange as the JV goalie and backup varsity goalie. But Reitberger plans to use Chang and Kotronos in varsity games.
The SEC-Liberty is the second highest in the conference. The Ridgers will face such Group 4 schools as East Orange, Columbia and Bloomfield in the division. Caldwell, Nutley, and Newark Academy are the other teams in the division.
The challenging regular season competition will do wonders for the Ridgers in the postseason.
“We know that every game is going to be a battle,” said Reitberger. “We need to play well and play together, and hopefully that will bring us some victories. We realize that we’re not going to get a win in every game. But, in saying that, every game will prepare us for the postseason. In the postseason, it’s all Group 1 schools. Now, we’re playing Group 4s. So I think we will be battle-tested by the time November comes around. We’ll have a lot of hard-fought contests that should get us ready for a postseason run.”
Photos by Steve Ellmore: Glen Ridge vs. Nutley, Sept. 11, at Carterest Park. Glen Ridge won, 3-1.