St. Joe’s to play for the GMCT title

Falcons to take on red-hot South Brunswick team on Sunday

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

COLONIA — The St. Joseph’s High School boys soccer team won its third consecutive Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament game by a margin of one goal and now find themselves in the conference finals.

Despite being outshot 10-5 by second-seeded Colonia High School, the No. 3 Falcons were able to hold on to a 1-0 lead behind the flawless goalkeeping of senior Dan Roth.

Roth recorded his ninth shutout of the season to send the Falcons into this weekend’s showdown for the crown against the South Brunswick Vikings.

The two teams will meet at J.P. Stevens High School at 3 p.m. Nov. 9.

"Colonia really applied the pressure in the second half," Roth said.

"They were looking to get the equalizer, but we played a great game for the full 80 minutes."

The Falcons took an early lead when Junior Tico Garzon found the net in the third minute of play. For Garzon, it was his 11th goal of the season and his fourth of the tournament.

More importantly for the Falcons, Garzon’s netter was his third winning goal in as many games in the tournament.

"I was in the right place at the right time," Garzon said. "Farris sent in a blast that rebounded off the keeper. The goalie had his fingertips on the ball, but I was able to get a foot on it."

Playing their best soccer of the season, the Falcons owe some of their recent success to the return of senior midfielder Farris Fakhoury, sidelined for several weeks with a sprained ankle.

The field general for the Falcons’ attack, Fakhoury kept the pressure on Colonia all afternoon.

"You can’t survive a season with a guy like Farris on the sideline," coach Michael O’Boyle said.

"We are playing much better ball with Farris on the field. We are more controlled and disciplined."

Garzon and Roth believe O’Boyle’s decision to change the team’s formation from a 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2 has helped the team make it this far in the tournament."In the new formation, we are much more of an attacking team as opposed to a defensive team," Roth said.

Added Garzon, "with Scott Horvath or Paul Racz up front with me, it has added a new dimension that has been successful," Garzon said.

The Falcons will look to take their new formation and their momentum into their third meeting with South Brunswick. In their previous contests, the Falcons topped the Vikings each time by identical 3-0 shutouts.

Seeded ninth, the Vikings are on a roll after defeating three higher seeded teams in the tournament. In the quarterfinals, South Brunswick handed top-seeded and heavily favored East Brunswick its only loss of the season and also topped Old Bridge, 2-1.

No strangers to tight games, both fi­nalists have won each of their tourna­ment games by one goal. It has been their ability to maintain a one goal lead that will make for a competitive tournament final.

"We have suffered four one-goal losses this season," O’Boyle said. "It has helped the team in the long run. They know how to lose and learn, and that has made them a tournament team."