|VIDEO: Gill St. Bernard's foils Montclair Kimberley's bid for three-peat|
For Gill St. Bernard's, it was a huge breakthrough and a championship coronation. For Montclair Kimberley, the Non-Public B state final was an ill-timed reminder of just how maddening and vexing soccer can be.
In a second half that saw MKA have many great scoring chances, it was Gill that found the net twice for a 2-0 victory. It's the second state title for the Knights, who lost to MKA in the Non-Public B boys' final each of the last two years.
Gill came in with the confidence of having beaten the Cougars 4-1 just two weeks ago in the Prep B state final, and the first half looked a lot like a continuation of that game. The Knights controlled much of the play, but could not score, and it was 0-0 at the half.
Montclair Kimberley came out strong after halftime, appearing as though it would break the deadlock. Instead, Justin Durcan got behind the MKA defense and scored to put the Knights ahead.
Over the next 25 minutes, the Cougars had a number of excellent scoring chances, but were denied by goalie Jordan Schreer, and in one case, the crossbar. Schreer ended up with six saves. Then, off a Durcan free kick, James Reiner took advantage of a fortuitous bounce and put the game away for Gill St. Bernard's.
Juniors Malcolm Dixon and Wesley Wade, who both recently announced plans to play at the University of Virginia, created numerous chances for the Cougars but could not find the net. Senior goalie David Kauffman made nine saves to help keep MKA in the game in the first half.
MKA ends a roller-coaster season at 12-8-1. The Cougars had some bad losses but also upset Seton Hall Prep twice and won another sectional title.
Gill, which won its previous state title in 2009, finishes the year 19-3-1.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey state final boys' soccer game, click play in the box at left.