GLASSBORO – The goal remained the same for the Glassboro High School boys’ soccer team this season.
Just how the Bulldogs would replace nine departed seniors wasn’t the question. What they would do in pressure situations remained to be seen, but, in the end, the objective didn’t change after the most successful season in the program's history.
“We wanted to come back and win (a South Jersey Group 1 title again),” Glassboro head coach Mark Bridges said. “We knew we had to rebuild our defense and we knew we had to replace a lot of goals from last year. Did we expect to have the record we did this year, no. But we believed we had a core group of kids that could get us back.”
On Thursday, the Bulldogs, seeded second in the section, needed overtime to beat No.7 Audubon 1-0. A goal by Colin Bridges handed the win to the Bulldogs, who reached the state final a season ago, and will now advance to the South Jersey semifinals and play host to Haddon Township, a 2-1 winner over Woodbury.
“We learned a lot from last season,” said junior keeper Griffin Rogers, who has been a key component to the Bulldogs 17-2-2 record this year. “I think we are maybe a little surprised by our record, we had nine seniors to replace, but we had 14 straight wins at one point and we know what is expected from us.”
Against Audubon (10-11-1) the Bulldogs came out strong and had the better of play throughout the first half. But as happens so often, the longer the Green Wave kept Glassboro off the board the more confident they became. Despite a 7-1 disadvantage in shots on net in the first half, the score remained tied at the outset of the second half.
Audubon came out strong and had momentum over the first ten minutes of the second half. And when a shot appeared headed for the far post, it appeared as if the Green Wave had taken the lead. That is until Rogers got his hand on the ball. That’s an overstatement as he pointed out after the game.
“I saw the cross coming in and I knew I just had to do my job,” Rogers said. “Luckily I got my fingers tips to it and it hit the post. Then my defense cleared it out.”
In a game that got a little chippy, overtime didn’t last long as senior Aaron Harrison lost a pair of defenders with a nifty move and crossed it to Colin Bridges. The coach’s son hit a one timer on net that the junior admitted it felt like it took forever to cross the line.
“I was really nervous,” said Bridges, who tied Santino Mancini for the team lead in goals with 10 on the play. “It just seemed to take forever. We needed that goal because (Audubon) wasn’t going away.”
“He’s got a pretty good head for the game,” the older Bridges said. “He’s always been in the right place. He’s not fancy and today, we didn’t need fancy.”
Bulldogs 1, Green Wave 0
Colin Bridges. Saves: Ryan Coyle, A, 10; Griffin Rogers, G, 4.