CINNAMINSON – In the Coaches Tournament quarterfinal matchup between Cinnaminson and visiting Moorestown, it was a late goal from Cinnaminson’s Pat McCarthy that gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead, advancing them to Sunday's semifinals.
In the first round of the Coaches Tournament (7) Cinnaminson knocked off (10) Shawnee, 2-0, while (15) Moorestown pulled an upset at (2) Rancocas Valley advancing on penalty kicks; leading up to Friday's quarterfinal game.
The first half proved to be a stalemate, with both teams only able to generate low percentage opportunities. It was a game fought in the middle third of the field and a lot of balls over the top stretching the defense. Cinnaminson coach Jason Meile knew the game was going to be a battle but he believed in his team.
"This is the third time we played Moorestown," Meile said. "Beyond that we just had to weather the storm. Sometimes our back line was pressing too much. They did a nice job and held off a couple of those runs… with this group of guys I'm pretty much going to take them in every game this year."
As the second half began both teams came out firing and it became a complete reversal of the play in the first half. Chances piled on for both teams with scrums in the box off of long throw ins. But the best chance of the game came when Cinnaminson’s Matt Ochman pulled down Moorestown’s Harry Inglis in the box. Moorestown was granted a penalty kick.
Thomas Davell stepped up to the spot and drove the ball low towards to the bottom left corner. Cinnaminson’s goalie Mike Deal guessed the right way and held his wrists strong as he stopped the shot. A friendly reminder from his teammate told Deal which way Davell had gone is games past.
"On their Senior Night, they had a PK," Deal explained. "He went right and my teammate remembered. He said, 'remember what side he's going.' And I had the feeling and I made the save, came up big, and my boys helped me in the end. We win together and we lose together. We stepped up big there though."
Two minutes after the penalty kick, Cinnaminson’s Pat McCarthy struck the crossbar on a header. The header, that was driven straight into the ground, bounced over Moorestown goalie Brian Sever's head but never crossed the goal line.
Winding down in the second half, Cinnaminson finally struck with 9 seconds left in regulation. On a long throw in from Matt Ochman, McCarthy towered over the Mooretown defenders and flicked the ball into the net giving Cinnaminson a trip to the Coaches Tournament semifinal.
The Pirates will play Cherokee at 2 p.m. Sunday at Paul VI in the second of the two boys' semifinals. The first semifinal will feature Olympic Conference rivals Washington Township and Eastern at noon. The girls' semifinal games will follow at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
McCarthy said that he tries to be the target of Ochman's tosses.
"We had throw-ins all game," McCarthy said. "I'm basically the target. It's a battle in there. I'm trying to win them every time, it's just a battle. I knew how much time there was. I did my best and put it in the goal."
More Coaches Tournament action
Cherokee vs. Haddon Heights
In the matchup between Cherokee and Haddon Heights, Cherokee scored two second-half goals to beat Haddon Heights, 3-2. Cherokee goal scorers included Joe Dikmak, Robert Gillin, and Danny Hampton. Scoring for Haddon Heights were Eric Cathcart and Jesse Weick.
Cherokee takes on Cinnaminson Sunday at 2 p.m.
Washington Township vs Ocean City
Washington Township pulled off a 2-1 victory over Ocean City. Burak Ozedemir scored midway through the first half off an assist from Lou Vilotti and the Minutemen held a 1-0 lead into the half. The Minutemen struck again with 13 minutes remaining when Derek Mackinnon scored a header off a Lou Vilotti corner. Donnie Vanmeter scored for Ocean City on a 20-yard shot with one minute remaining but the Red Raiders couldn't rally all the way back.
Washington Township faces off against Eastern Sunday at noon at Paul VI.
Eastern vs Haddon Township
In a back and forth battle, it was a Haddon Township own goal off a long throw-in that earned Eastern the 1-0 win and a trip to the Coaches Tournament semifinals Sunday. Eastern takes on Washington Township at noon.
In Tuesday’s 5-0 victory over Gateway, Jesse Weick made Haddon Heights High School history by scoring his 60th goal to set a school record for career goals.
The goal was his third of the game and occurred at the 23:32 mark in the first half. Weick maneuvered his way around one defender before cutting in from the left side. Dribbling his way across the top of the 18, he fought off two defenders before pulling the trigger and hitting the upper 90.
It was a big day for the entire Haddon Heights community and Weick appreciates all the support he’s gotten throughout the year.
“I appreciate the [community] support. It gives me motivation. It really makes me feel good to know that I have the community behind me. I'm just speechless.”
For a school that’s had the likes of many great forwards, coach Jeff Eppright is happy to see Weick take over the record.
“We’ve had a lot of great forwards come through our program. With great forwards you have to have great teammates. He’s got great guys around him. He really showed leadership his junior year. This year he’s really matured as a forward. He’s relentless up there and he works to create himself a lot of opportunities. He continues to work hard and the harder he works the more chances he gets to finish. He’s a dynamic player. He’s strong, he’s big, he’s fast, he’s determined, and aggressive. He reads the game well…it’s a great accomplishment.”
With the accomplishment of breaking the record both Weick and Eppright are looking forward into doing something special this year.
Weick being a senior is trying to get a state championship under his belt.
“My goal as a senior is to be a leader on the team, set an example, work hard and get my team to where we want to be a state championship again,” Weick said.
And Eppright is looking to have his squad make noise in the Coaches’ Cup and the State Tournament.
"Our goal was to win the division. We will try to make some noise in the Coaches’ Tournament if we make that. And we will move on and hopefully win a South Jersey title, and we want to win a state title," Eppright said.
Haddon Heights fell 3-2 to Glassboro on Thursday (Oct. 9), but with their senior leader up top they should make some noise in the state playoffs.
Haddon Township stays undefeated
Haddon Township is the lone undefeated team left in South Jersey. The Hawks improved their record to 12-0 this week beating Paulsboro 8-0 and West Deptford 1-0.
With both the games being shutouts, the Hawks’ goalkeeper Keiran Burns retains his 11th shutout in a row. He has only allowed 1 goal this season dating back to the first game of the season.
The Hawks take on conference rivals Woodbury and Gateway next week.
Games to watch for
Shawnee is taking on Cherry Hill West today (Oct. 10) at 3:45. The Renegades come in at 5-3-3 and the Lions are 6-5 so both teams will be looking for a decisive win in the Olympic Conference.
Vineland takes on Cape-Atlantic League rival Mainland Friday at 3:45. Vineland, 7-3-2, came into the week ranked 4th in the Cape Atlantic, while Mainland, 5-4, lost two games this week. The Mustangs will be looking to get back on track against Vineland.
Cherokee visits Lenape Saturday in what will be the match of the weekend. Despite Lenape’s record of 4-4-2 this game is always a battle between bitter rivals. The kickoff starts at 2 p.m.
Kyle Miller covers boys' soccer for South Jersey Sports Digest. Reach him via email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @kyle_miller101.