by Andrew Garda
The Montclair High School boys soccer team keeps rolling along, with a 4-0 win at home over Verona on Wednesday, Nov. 4, followed by a 3-0 defeat of Glen Ridge on the road last Saturday. They then faced Bloomfield at Montclair State on Monday for senior night, winning a nail-biter, 1-0.
The wins put Montclair’s record at 10-0-1, and that, plus their No. 5 ranking in the state, has led to their landing as the top seed for the 2020 NJSIAA Boys Soccer – Northeast G, Group 4 tournament. They will get a bye in the first round, and then face either eighth-seeded Ridgewood or ninth-seeded Bloomfield in a repeat of Monday’s game.
The Mountie girls also landed as the top seed in the NJSIAA Northeast E bracket, and after a bye in the first round, see either No. 9 seed Bloomfield or eighth-seeded Union City.
The Mountie boys’ combination of lock-down defense and opportunistic offense has served them well this season, as they have outscored their opponents 32 to 3 and have kept goaltender Tyler Krongard from having to make a massive number of saves, with only 29 on the season.
“One of the things we always talk about is getting the shutout, and so to come out with the shutout is big,” head coach Toure Weaver said after the win over Verona. He also pointed out that the Mounties finished on their attempts on Wednesday, scoring when they had the opportunity.
“[That] makes a huge difference, you know?” he said. “A couple of times during the season we’d get good services in the box and it’s hitting the keeper or going over the goal. For someone to step up, like [James] Modiano [did today], and just put it away in the back of the net makes a huge difference.”
Modiano, who would find the back of the net twice against Verona, scored his first goal very early in that game, as there were 37 minutes left in the first half. Montclair would put two more away before the half, and add one more to finish off the game in the second half.
Aside from Modiano’s pair of goals against Verona, Luca Campbell and Soren Tollis each added a score. Campbell also had an assist, with Julian Shorter, Aiden McGrath and Felipe Gutierrez all having assists as well.
Against Glen Ridge, MHS was led by goals from Campbell, Gutierrez and Modiano. Xavier Harris had an assist, while Modiano and Campbell also added assists.
Montclair’s wins are always very much a team effort, but every year the Mounties find one guy to step up into the center-midfielder position. This year, Weaver said it’s Gutierrez.
“Felipe controls that middle of the park for us,” Weaver said. “He’s this kind of that engine, you know? And then we just have like pieces all around that, [which] just fit in really nicely.”