|VIDEO: Newton edged by Bernards in state soccer semifinal|
In a battle of strong defensive soccer teams, one goal is often enough. Unfortunately for Newton in the Group II state semifinals, Bernards got that goal off a long throw-in and ended the Braves' season.
Newton was trying to become the first Sussex County boys' soccer team to reach a state final. But the Braves' history of tough luck in state semifinals continued: Newton has won five sectional titles but fell all five times in this round.
After a scoreless first half with few scoring chances, the game's only goal came midway through the second half at Millburn High School. Johannes Oster converted a header off the long throw from Erick Villagra. Newton had a couple of good opportunities in the waning minutes but could not convert.
Bernards goalie Sam Polito earned his fifth straight state tournament shutout and 17th of the season.
Despite the loss, it was a great season for the Braves, who finish at 18-4-2. Newton won the NJAC Freedom Division title, reached the finals of the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex tournament and won that sectional crown, their first in six seasons.
For video highlights from this game, click play in the box at left.