Columbia HS boys’ soccer team to visit Millburn in state tournament

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Photos by Rich Morris/courtesy of Seton Hall Prep. Columbia (dark uniforms) vs. Seton Hall Prep, in Essex County Tournament quarterfinals, Oct. 21. Seton Hall Prep won, 6-3.

MAPLEWOOD, NJ – The Columbia High School varsity boys’ soccer team will visit fourth-seeded and Millburn in the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 state tournament on Friday, Nov. 3 at 2 p.m.

The Cougars defeated Millburn, 2-1, in overtime on Oct. 11 at Ritzer Field in a Super Essex Conference game.

Senior forward Joe Dente and senior midfielder Finn Bascio each scored in the second half to lead the fifth-seeded Cougars to a 2-0 win over 12th-seeded Piscataway in the first round on Oct. 31 at Underhill Sports Complex.

Senior midfielder Cameron Donald had an assist and junior goalkeeper Sam Maidenberg made 10 saves for the Cougars, who improved to 10-6-1.

Despite a few good Columbia chances, the game was scoreless at halftime 0-0.

Dente turned a Piscataway defender in the box, and struck a right-footed shot into the lower left corner about 10 minutes into the second half, for his team leading 11th goal on the season.

Midway through the second half, senior midfielder Donald sent a 30-yard driven ball to the back post that was finished by a Bascio diving header.

“The second goal gave us a little breathing room and our goalkeeper and backs preserved a clean sheet,” said CHS head coach Josh Russotto. “Sam Maidenberg, along with backs Frederik Hoffman, Alistair Sim, Connor Thompson, Devon Rocha and Ethan Pidgeon, played well.”

The Cougars are looking forward to the game against Millburn.

“Millburn is a very good high school soccer team,” said Russotto. “They are playing well, and we have a lot of respect for them. We always look forward to playing them and we are going to attack. They knocked us out of the state tournament last season and we’d like to return the favor. We were fortunate to beat them earlier in the season, but this is going to be a different motivated squad that we face on Friday.  I expect a game of high emotional energy and 80-plus minutes of relentless effort. Should be a good one.”

Millburn defeated No. 13 seed Woodbridge, 3-0, in the first round to improve to 11-5-1.

Millburn lost to Seton Hall Prep, 2-1, in double overtime in the Essex County Tournament championship game in Caldwell on Saturday night, Oct. 28.