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Jon Miller (11) has been a clutch goal scorer for the Madison boys soccer team this season and he came through again in Sunday's 2-0 win over Kinnelon in the Morris County Boys Soccer Tournament semifinals, scoring the first goal of the match with 21:54 remaining. (Photos by Bill Allen-NJSportAction.NET)
There have been some joyous times for the seventh-seeded Madison Dodgers in this season's Morris County Tourament as team has reached MCT finals. Here, from left, Mark Jackson, Tim Azzolini (19) and Sean Harley show their happiness following a goal. Madison meets Delbarton in Saturday night's final.
Eric Studnicky (left), seen here with his Madison senior captain Cole Crescas, became the first rookie head coach since back in 2001 to guide his team into the Morris County Tournament final with a 2-0 win over Kinnelon on Sunday in the MCT semifinals at Randolph. (Photo by Bill Allen-NJSportAction.NET)
Madison's Alan Aguirre (left) battles Kinnelon's Chris Caso for possession of the ball during Sunday's MCT boys soccer semifinals. (Photos by Sean Reilly)
Coach Eric Studnicky's Madison Dodgers have risen from a seventh seed to earn a berth opposite perennial title contender Delbarton in Oct. 25th final.
Miller’s Goal Ignites Madison
By Sean Reilly
RANDOLPH -- Jon Miller has developed a reputation as a clutch goal scorer this season for Madison.
There was reason to believe, however, that the senior forward may have missed out after a couple of quality chances failed to find the net during his team's Morris County Tournament semifinal against Kinnelon on Sunday afternoon.
Miller got another opportunity, however, and this time he capitalized. His goal off an assist from JP Schuenke with 21:54 remaining broke a scoreless tie and carried seventh-seeded Madison to a 2-0 triumph over third-seeded Kinnelon in the first game of a doubleheader at DaSilva Field at Randolph High.
"The chance had been coming," said Miller, who also supplied the game-winner in the final minutes when the Dodgers beat second-seeded Mount Olive, 2-1, on Oct. 12 in the quarterfinals. "And when that one came, I knew I had to finish it."
Matt Jackson added an insurance goal with nearly 10 minutes left for the Dodgers.
In the nightcap, Tyler Bell scored his second goal of the day on a 30-yard rocket with 3:26 left in the first overtime as top-seeded and defending champion Delbarton ousted fifth-seeded Morristown, 2-1.
Delbarton (13-1-1) and Madison (11-3) will play for the championship on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Roxbury High.
Madison had a slight edge in play over Kinnelon (11-2-2), which suffered a huge blow when forward David DeVries, the leading scorer in the county with 26 goals, exited the game for precautionary reasons after absorbing a hit to his head midway through the first half.
Madison, though, had to make an adjustment of its own after midfielder Yorman Cosme couldn't play in the second half because of an injury.
Madison, which dealt Kinnelon its only other loss when it won, 4-0, on the road on Oct. 3, broke the tie when a ball was played ahead to Schuenke, who was near the left side of the penalty area. He slide a pass toward the right post, where Miller was there to drive in his ninth goal of the year.
The victory vaulted Madison into the final for the first time since 2009, when it played Montville to a scoreless draw.
"I'm elated," said Miller. "I'm so happy that we get a chance to go to the final."
Delbarton, meanwhile, will be in the title game for the fourth straight year. It was also able to beat Morristown (11-5) for third time this fall.
It was the Green Wave's first game since a 2-1 overtime loss on Friday night at Chatham, a result that ended its 33-0-2 unbeaten streak that dated back to first week of the 2013 season.
Delbarton took a 1-0 lead when Bell converted a penalty kick after he was taken down inside the penalty area 12 minutes in. It was his 10th goal of the season.
The score held until just beyond the midpoint of the second half, when Morristown executed a corner kick in perfect fashion. Ivan Maldonado took the kick from the left side and sent it toward the far post, where Oscar Garcia snapped a header into the net.
Both sides were dealing with losses to key defenders as the game wore on. Morristown had to play without Eric Wyss (ankle) and Delbarton lost Kian Zapata (loosened teeth), followed by Rory Madigan (ankle).
Both teams had chances early in the overtime before Bell ended it for Delbarton. The senior had the ball 12 yards beyond the penalty area in an area of the field were kicks were particularly altered by gusty winds through both of the games.
Rather than pass the ball closer toward the goal, Bell unloaded a blast that nestled into the upper right corner.
"After our first loss of the season, I thought we had to make a statement," Bell said. "Chatham played a great game on Friday, and hopefully it will make us stronger as a teams and help us going forward."
Notes: Madison and Delbarton, former rivals in the defunct Northern Hills Conference, last met when the Green Wave beat Madison, 2-0, in the first round of the 2011 MCT. ... Madison coach Erik Studnicky, in his first season with the Dodgers, is the first coach to take his team to the Morris final in his initial season since Bohdan Shashkewych took Chatham to the final in 2001, where it lost to Morris Catholic. ... Kinnelon was in the semifinals for first time since 2007 and was seeking to reach the title game for the first time. Morristown last reached the final in 1994, when it won the title under former coach and current MCT director Mike Bruchac.
Folllow Sean Reilly on Twitter @SeanReillyHS
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