HomeAtl HubAtl Hub SportsHogg's goal in overtime lifts Bulldogs past Metuchen in state soccer action

Hogg’s goal in overtime lifts Bulldogs past Metuchen in state soccer action

A run at a second consecutive state sectional tournament championship is still very much in the cards for the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School boys soccer team and the Bulldogs have sophomore Ronan Hogg to thank for that.

Hogg, a sophomore forward, scored the game-winning goal two minutes into overtime to send the No. 7 seed Bulldogs to a 2-1 victory over No. 10 seed Metuchen High School in the first round of the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II state sectional tournament on Oct. 27 in Rumson.

“It feels awesome,” Hogg said. “When you get to overtime, you really have to put your whole heart out (on the field), especially for the seniors, because it might be their last game. We put in a shift early to knock (Metuchen) out and I loved it.”

Rumson-Fair Haven (11-3-2) will play No. 2 seed Holmdel High School in the sectional quarterfinals on Oct. 31 in Holmdel. The winner of that match will advance to the sectional semifinals.

The last time the two Shore Conference A Central Division rivals met in the state tournament was in the 2021 sectional tournament championship match. The Bulldogs defeated the Hornets, 2-1 in double overtime, to claim the program’s first state sectional crown.

On Sept. 22, Rumson-Fair Haven defeated Holmdel, 2-1.

Coach Jeff Soares knows it will be a battle on Oct. 31 when the Bulldogs face a 15-win Holmdel squad, but he believes his players will be up for the challenge as they try to check off the second goal on their list this season.

The team’s first goal was to win a share of the A Central Division and the Bulldogs are now on the hunt for their second goal, which is to win a second straight state sectional title.

“I truly believe (the sectional championship) is ours to win,” said Soares. “This is something we can win and should win. Hopefully, we can get past whoever comes in front of us.”

In the match against Metuchen, Rumson-Fair Haven took a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute when senior Antonio Santos scored his 12th goal of the season. Santos leads the team in goals scored.

“I had a pretty good feeling that (I scored) when I struck it well with my left foot,” Santos said. “It’s been a pretty crazy senior season. I expected to be one of the top performers and a team leader. I am happy we survived and advanced (today).”

Junior goalkeeper Cole Herman recorded his fifth save of the match when he stopped a free kick in the final seconds of the first half.

Herman finished with nine saves in the contest.

In the second half, Metuchen’s Jack Cunningham tied the match at 1-1 when he scored in the 55th minute. The teams remained tied through the final 25 minutes of regulation.

In the state tournament, two 10-minute overtime periods will be played until one team scores a “golden goal” (game-winner). If neither team scores in the two overtime periods, the game is decided by penalty kicks.

In the second minute of overtime, senior Alec Pentikis sent a perfect cross into the box that found the feet of Hogg, who smashed his 11th goal of the season into the Metuchen net to lift Rumson-Fair Haven to a 2-1 victory.

Hogg said it was “the most important goal” he has scored in his high school career. He said he hopes the goal will be the start of his team’s journey to winning a sectional championship.

“We really showed what we are capable of (in overtime). It’s always nice to score a goal in overtime. Everyone played a part in it,” he said.

Pentikis now has 10 goals and six assists in 2022. The Bulldogs are 6-0-1 in their last seven matches.

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