JERSEY CITY, – The Nutley High School varsity boys’ soccer team, under first-year head coach Tom Tolve, enjoyed an inspiring run in the postseason.
As the 14th seed in the 16-team field, the Raiders reached the semifinals of the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 state tournament, losing at No. 2 seed Hopewell Valley, 2-1, Nov. 7.
Junior Garrett Groeling scored off an assist from sophomore J.P. Maruri for the Raiders in the first half. Hopewell Valley broke the 1-1 halftime score with a goal in the 55th minute.
Junior goalkeeper Brandon Syto made seven saves for Nutley.
The Raiders finished the season with a 9-11-2 record. Prior to the semifnal game, they had gone 5-1-2 in the previous eight games, with the lone loss to West Orange in the Essex County Tournament round of 16.
The Raiders defeated 11th-seeded Ferris, 2-1, in overtime in the quarterfinal round Nov. 3, in Jersey City.
After a scoreless first half, the Raiders scored first during the second half on an indirect kick by senior captain Ilya Udalov. Maruri was able to provide the assist. The lead didn’t last long though, as Ferris was awarded a penalty shot minutes later. With the game tied up, it headed to overtime. After almost two scoreless overtimes, senior Danny Caraballo was able to score his second goal of the season off an assist from Udalov.
In the first round, Nutley eliminated No. 3 seed Somerville in a penalty kick shootout after the game was tied 1-1 following regulation and overtime.