CORRECTED: West Orange HS boys soccer team captures sectional tournament championship

The West Orange High School boys soccer team is jubilant after winning the North 1, Group 4 sectional title.

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange High School boys soccer team defeated perennial state powerhouses Kearny and Clifton to capture the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 state tournament championship.

The second-seeded Mountaineers defeated third-seeded Kearny, 1-0, in the semifinals on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 2, at Lincoln Field on the campus of WOHS. Jack Dvorin, a junior, scored the goal on assists by seniors Mason Bashkoff and Jared Charles. Senior goalie Justin Scavalla made nine saves for the shutout.

The Mountaineers ended Kearny’s 36-game unbeaten streak. They also avenged last season’s 2-1 overtime loss to Kearny in the North 1, Group 4 championship game.

Kearny, ranked No. 2 in the state by the Star-Ledger, ended with a 17-1-1 record. 

WOHS defeated top-seeded Clifton, 2-1, in the championship game at Clifton on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, Nov. 5. 

Bashkoff scored on a header off an assist from Dvorin in the first half to give West Orange a 1-0 lead. Clifton tied it just one minute into the second half. Dvorin scored the game-winning goal off an assist from Lucas Andrada just 10 minutes later. Scavalla finished with eight saves.

Clifton suffered just its second loss and finished with a 16-2-1 record. West Orange, which improved to 17-3 this season, was scheduled to visit North 2, Group 4 champion Westfield, which is 18-1-1, in the Group 4 state semifinals on Wednesday, Nov. 9, after press time. The other semifinal pitted Central champion Freehold Township, which has a 14-6 record this season, against South Jersey champion Cherokee, which 15-2-2. The Group 4 state championship will be held on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 3 p.m. at Franklin High School in Somerset.

The Mountaineers have won five straight games. After beating Memorial, 4-0, in the regular season finale on Monday, Oct. 24, West Orange defeated No. 15 seed Bloomfield, 1-0, in the first round on Thursday, Oct. 27; No. 10 seed Columbia, 2-0, in the quarterfinals on Monday, Oct. 31; and Kearny and Clifton in the semifinals and final.

Doug Nevins has been the WOHS head coach for 23 seasons. He became the head coach in 2000.

The Mountaineers have won two Group 4 state championships, in 2006 and 2013. They also were Group 4 state runner-up in 2015. 

The Mountaineers have reached 12 sectional finals in Nevins’ 23 years at the helm. They have won seven sectional titles, in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2022, and were runner-up in 2004, 2007, 2012, 2016 and 2021.

Nevins acknowledged the difficulty of competing in North 1, Group 4, which features several strong programs.

“Yes, this section is brutal. At different points in the season five different teams were ranked in the Top 20 in NJ,” said Nevins in an email to the West Orange Chronicle. “This was our 12th trip to the North 1, Group 4 finals in the last 20 years; and it was our seventh championship win!

“Beating Kearny and Clifton back-to-back is incredibly hard, but this was different than most years. In fact, we have never beaten both teams in a state tournament run (or ever actually). Kearny was defending Group 4 state champs, ranked No. 2 in NJ, ranked nationally, and had not lost in 37 games. It was also the first time they were shut out since 2019. The boys were so disciplined against Kearny and took advantage of chances when they materialized.

“The goal started with a great switching ball from Mason Bashkoff to Jared Charles. Jared took a perfect first touch and delivered a cross to just where it needed to be. Jack Dvorin made a really intelligent run to get open and headed down just like we practice every day.”

Nevins also talked about the win over Clifton.

“Clifton is also one of the best programs in NJ,” he said. “They were ranked No. 9 in NJ and we had to beat them on their field, where we have never won before. Again, the boys were so organized and disciplined defensively. Mason scored a great goal off a corner served up by Jack Dvorin. Clifton answered right after halftime, but the kids kept their composure. Then Lucas Andrada made a historic run from our half all the way to their goal. Along the way he beat two guys and drew the GK before he calmly passed the ball to Jack Dvorin. Jack controlled the ball and poked it past the defender into the open net for the winner.

“Justin Scavalla was brilliant in goal! Arthur Rosu, Cameron Morgan and Richard Capochichi were amazing in defense in both games as well. Our midfielders worked tirelessly: Andrew Hinfey, Noah Wadih, Lucas Andrada, Jared Charles, Evan Kops, Jacob Castillo, Jack Dvorin, and Jordan Turnbull. Mason Bashkoff is always dangerous and keeps the other teams honest.

Helping him up top were Marcus Jackson, Carl Hall, Atticus LaFargue, and Jorge Salmeron.”

Editor note: This article incorrectly stated the site of the game against Westfield. The game will be played at Westfield, not West Orange.

Photo Courtesy of Cynthia Cumming