SOUTH RIVER — For the South River High School boys soccer team, the 2012 season ended on a sour note, as the Rams’ magical campaign came to an end in a penalty kick shootout loss to Haddon Heights in the NJSIAA Group I semifinals.
But if there were any lingering doubts about whether or not the Rams could rebound and start their 2013 season with a bang, they were quickly erased Friday afternoon as South River dominated Woodbridge 9-2 in both schools’ season opener.
Senior striker Glauber Ferreira scored four first-half goals, including a beautiful header from the top of the box, as the Rams built a 6-0 halftime advantage. Miguel Joao and Rolando Martinez also connected in the opening 40 minutes for South River.
“The way we’ve practiced, we are able to read each other well and it’s just a lot of skill on the ball. My focus is to score as a striker and that’s what I came to do today,” Ferreira said.
The first of Ferreira’s goals came after Adrian Pietrzyk stole the ball around midfield from a Woodbridge player, dribbled up the sideline, and lofted a perfect feed into the box.
About 20 minutes later, Ian Sawicki cleared the ball halfway down the field, finding Ferreira beyond his man for an easy goal.
“When the guys are playing with a certain rhythm, we get a lot of scoring chances,” South River head coach Eric Clays said. “We were very unselfish today and we communicated well in the attacking third. That was probably a key to us putting in as many goals as we did.”
Ferreira noted that he and his teammates worked hard this summer to move on from last season’s bitter end and on this day, the effort was clearly evident.
“We always come out here focused and we have each other’s back. We let the soccer do the talking,” Ferreira said.
Eugene Frimpong scored both of Woodbridge’s goals in the second half, one on a header off a corner kick and the other on a blast from beyond the 18-yard box late in the contest. It was the first of Frimpong’s goals that concerned Clays.
“Corners, for us on defense, became a little bit of a circus in our box,” he said. “We need to get back to practice and work on defensive marking. But, I thought the back line did a good job of holding a good Woodbridge team to only two goals; I would have thought that holding them to under three goals would have been a victory in itself.”
Pietrzyk also converted a header off of a South River corner in the second half and Kevin Mendez knocked home a late goal. But the defensive effort, with a big lead, in the first game of the season, was the thing that Clays took away from this one.
“I was very happy with the defensive effort from start to finish for the whole 80 minutes. It’s common for athletes to lose a little bit of focus when the game is in hand and let up, but I liked our mental toughness today,” he said.