Delbarton advances past MKA; faces Summit next

By Mark Kitchin


BRIDGEWATER –Sometimes teams can have a let down the game after an emotional victory. On Saturday, Delbarton proved that perhaps a gut wrenching and dramatic triumph can lead to bigger things, too.

Matt Killian, Sean Donnelly and Connor Bilby scored two goals apiece to help Delbarton advance past Montclair Kimberley Academy 9-2 in quarterfinal round Tournament of Champions action at Basilone Field in Bridgewater on Saturday.

Four second-quarter goals helped the Green Wave build a 5-2 advantage by halftime. John Shaffer, Cole Riccardi and Kevin Lewis also connected for the Non Public A champs. Third-seeded Delbarton will face second seeded Summit in the semifinal round of the tournament on Wednesday at Kean University in Union.

Patrick Karole and Michael Walsh each scored goals for the sixth-seeded Cougars, the Non Public B champions

Connor Bilby (9) and Cole Riccardi (11) teamed up on the opening goal for Delbarton on Saturday.

Delbarton’s triumph over Don Bosco Prep, in which they rallied to tie the game with four consecutive goals inside of two minutes and won the game in overtime, was a monumental victory. The Green Wave put their triumph in perspective and prepared for their T of C foe.

“I think the Don Bosco game gave us a lot of momentum,’’ Delbarton’s Killian said. “It had the opposite affect and we really brought that into practice this week.

“This whole season we’ve had a lot of one goal games. I think that helped us in the long run. We were prepared to get back into it after a close game like that.’’

The contest was tied 1-1 after the first quarter but the Green Wave didn’t want the underdog Cougars to make it a close encounter. Delbarton scored four consecutive goals including two by Killian to make it a 5-1 contest late in the second quarter.

Austin Williams (29) keep his eye on the ball while winning this faceoff for Delbarton in T of C quarterfinal action.

“I always am (offensive minded),’’ Killian said. “It just happened to bounce my way I guess. I got lucky today and hopefully I can get some luck the next couple of games, too.’’

Along with Killian’s scores, a man up goal by Donnelly and a Kevin Lewis score helped the Green Wave get into a rhythm.

“We needed to settle it down and realize where we were,’’ Killian said. “We figured out what we needed to do —  slow down the offense — maybe not push tempo as much and slow it down and get some good shots off.’’

Austin Williams had another good day at faceoff. He won enough draws to allow the Green Wave to establish lengthy possessions and the get offense going.

Delbarton midfielder John Shaffer (23) makes a move to the cage during first quarter action on Saturday.

On defense, Delbarton paid particular attention to MKA attackman Matt Lane. The Cougar standout was limited in his scoring opportunities.

“We knew he was a great player, great feeder, great shooter,’’ Killian said. “Our main focus was to shut him down. Will Reynolds did a great job of that. Their offense has been potent all year and we shut them down.’’

Eventually, the Green Wave also finally solved the Cougars’ skillful goalie Chris Schweitzer.

“He played a great game,’’ Killian said. “Our scouting report said that he likes to go down low. We tried to bring some high heat and it worked for us a little bit in the beginning. He figured it out and kept saving all over the place.’’

Delbarton’s Cole Riccardi (11) winds up to take a shot as MKA defenseman Cam Brazil (15) gets in his way.

Walsh’s goal off a Lane feed with 38 seconds left in the second quarter gave the Cougars a lift and made it 5-2 at the break. However, the momentum did not carry into the second half. Delbarton shut out Montclair Kimberley for the rest of the contest and scored four consecutive goals to secure the victory.

Next up is Summit, which will provide quite a treat for a number of the Delbarton players who are very familiar with the Hilltoppers.

“It’s what we dream about,’’ Killian said. “I’ve been going to Delbarton since seventh grade and I’ve always loved playing Summit. I’m from Summit – We have other kids from Summit playing for us, too —  John Shaffer, Jamie White, Kohl Geibel, Dylan Confalone — I can go on for awhile.’’



About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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