|VIDEO: Varela leads Ramapo past Pascack Valley in sectional semi|
Just like in the Bergen County tournament final, it was Sebastian Varela who delivered in the key moment for the Ramapo boys' soccer team. Varela scored both goals, including the game-winner early in the second half, as the Green Raiders defeated Pascack Valley 2-1 in a sectional semifinal contest.
It was a rematch of the county final, won by Ramapo by the same score. That time Varela scored a golden goal in overtime, but in this North 1, Group III semifinal game the junior midfielder didn't wait quite so long.
Pascack Valley jumped out ahead as Michael Lin scored on a header off a long throw-in from Connor Weis in the first 10 minutes. But after a Ramapo player was taken down at the edge of the box, the Raiders were awarded a penalty kick and Varela converted to tie the game.
Ramapo had a clear edge in possession and created a number of chances. But the game-winning goal actually came from a restart.
A long throw-in by the Raiders early in the second half was headed away from the goal, but only to the top of the box, where Varela was waiting. His shot into the lower corner of the net broke the tie. Andrew Furman drew an assist on the play.
Pascack Valley did have a few chances to level the game again, but could not get anything more past Conor Young. The Ramapo goalie ended up with six saves.
Josh Ulin also made a number of saves for third-seeded Pascack Valley, but the Indians saw their season come to an end with only their second loss. Both of those defeats in their 16-2-1 season came against Ramapo.
As for the #2 seed Raiders, they are now 19-0 and will host the North 1, Group III final against surprising Northern Highlands, the ninth seed.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey state tournament boys' soccer game, click play in the box at left.