|VIDEO: South Plainfield reaches state final by topping Tenafly|
In an unlikely matchup in the boys' soccer state semifinals, some excellent goalkeeping and a couple of bursts of individual brilliance lifted South Plainfield into its first-ever state final. Jose Guardado scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Tenafly.
Played in frigid conditions at Millburn High School, this Group III semifinal saw Tenafly carry the play for much of the contest. The Tigers from Bergen County put numerous shots on goal, but could not beat South Plainfield goalie Kyle Dennis. Dennis made 12 saves, including two huge stops to keep his team ahead when it held just a one-goal lead.
South Plainfield, also known as the Tigers, took that lead in the second half when Guardado received a ball on the right wing from Kevin Casteblanco and split two defenders before slotting the shot inside the post. Guardado doubled the lead with about 14 minutes left on another individual effort.
Tenafly keeper Noah Rosenberg had two saves. Coming into the state tournament as a clear underdog despite a solid record, Tenafly nevertheless won its first sectional title in program history, knocking out Northern Highlands along the way. The Tigers finish the season at 16-4-1.
South Plainfield is now 19-2-3, and will seek its first state championship in boys' soccer when it takes on Princeton in the Group III state finals on Sunday.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey high school boys' soccer state tournament match, click play in the box at left.