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Montclair head coach Toure' Weaver (right) takes in action during his team's narrow 2-1 win over crosstown rival MKA on Wednesday just hours after the Mounties were accorded the No. 1 seed for the 45th Essex County Boys Soccer Tournament Tuesday night. (Photos by Gene Nann-genenann.smugmug.com)

Montclair-Millburn 1-2 In ECT
As 45th Annual Event Is Seeded

By Steve Tober
for sidelinechatter.com

Two public school teams with respective rich histories of success as far as reaching their fair share of Essex County Tournament finals, and winning championships as well, are the top two seeds as the 45th annual event gets underway as the 31-team was seeded on Tuesday night at Montclair Kimberley Academy.

Montclair, fresh off Wednesday's 2-1 win over crosstown rival MKA, owns a perfect 11-0 record (including 6-0 in the Super Essex Conference-American Division) and a No. 3 ranking in the state, according to nj.com, was awarded the No. 1 seed just as everyone expected. The Mounties, who are second behind Columbia’s record 13 ECT titles with eight county tourney soccer crowns, last won the ECT in 2013 when it defeated Millburn, 1-0.

Ironically, the Millers (8-3, 5-2 in the SEC-American), who are fresh off this past Monday’s 1-0 win over Seton Hall Prep (12-2-2, 5-2), are the No. 2 seed in this year’s tourney.

Millburn is third in terms of ECT titles with seven and has appeared in nine finals as compared to Montclair’s 14 trips to the championship game and Columbia’s record 22 appearances, although the Cougars have not reached an ECT final since 2008 when they lost to a Millers squad that was in the process of winning its second of three straight titles. Millburn last won the ECT championship in 2012.

SHP, which edged Millburn, 2-1, in two overtimes, in last year’s ECT final, has the best recent history of any school in the county tournament, having appeared in seven of the last nine finals while winning all of its five championships since 2009 when it finished as co-champions with the Millers.

A Pirates-Millers ECT semifinal is certainly a strong possibility since the former has been accorded the No. 3 seed. The fourth seed is a talented West Orange side (7-3-1, 3-3-1), while the 5-8 seeds are Newark East Side (5-5, 4-3), Livingston (5-5-1, 1-5-1), MKA (6-5-1, 5-1-1 in the SEC-Liberty Division) and Glen Ridge (6-2, 4-1 in SEC-Liberty).

The 2018 ECT gets underway with two preliminary rounds on Saturday (Oct. 13) and Tuesday (Oct. 16), followed by the first round on or by Thursday, Oct. 18, and the quarterfinals on Saturday, Oct. 20, all the higher-seeded team’s home field.

The semifinals are slated for 5 and 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 25, at Livingston, and the final is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27, at Millburn, or following the 3:30 p.m. ECT girls championship match.

Top-seeded Montclair, which is guided by second-year head coach Toure’ Weaver, is deep and balanced squad that could be better than last year’s 14-2-2 squad that lost to eventual Group 4 champion Kearny in a shootout after a 1-1 tie through two overtimes in the North 1, Group 4 final.

Midfielders Phillip Cubeddu, Chris Masur, Mason Davisson and Evan O’Brien are among the key players for the Mounties, who have also received a splendid season in goal from Ben Middlemiss, whose best performance may have been when he stood on his head while helping to lead the Mounties to a 2-1 win at SHP on Sept. 7.

Montclair has also defeated SEC-American top rivals West Orange (3-0) and Millburn (1-0) to fully assert itself as the top team in the county entering this season’s ECT and the Mounties have also clinched the SEC-American Division title.

ECT Preliminary Round 1 Matchups:
25-Barringer at 24-East Orange Campus; winner at 9-Columbia
28-North Star Academy at 21-Technology, winner at 12-West Essex
29-Weequahic at 20-Orange, winner at 13-Verona
31-West Caldwell Tech at 18-Newark Academy, winner at 15-Central
26- West Side at 23-Cedar Grove, winner at 10-Bloomfield
22-Payne Tech at 27-Golda Och, winner at 11-Caldwell
30- Newark Collegiate at 19-Belleville, winner at 14-Science Park

Prelim Round 2:
17-Nutley at 16-Irvington

First Round: Thursday, Oct. 18; Quarters: Saturday, Oct. 20, also at higher seed

Semifinals: 5 and 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 25, at Livingston; Final: 3:30 p.m., Saturday (Oct. 27) at Millburn  

Essex County Boys Soccer Tournament Championship Games:
2017: Seton Hall Prep 2 Millburn 1 (in 2 OTs)
2016: East Side 4 Seton Hall Prep 0
2015: Seton Hall Prep 1 Livingston 0
2014: Livingston 1 Seton Hall Prep 0
2013: Montclair 1 Millburn 0
2012: Millburn 2 West Orange 0
2011: Seton Hall Prep 3 Livingston 0
2010: Seton Hall Prep 2 West Orange 1
2009: Seton Hall Prep 0 Millburn 0 (co-champions)
2008: Millburn 6 Columbia 1
2007: Millburn 3 Columbia 1
2006: West Orange 4 Seton Hall Prep 1
2005: St. Benedict’s Prep 7 Columbia 0
2004: Montclair 3 West Orange 1
2003: Montclair 1 West Orange 1 (co-champions)
2002: Montclair 3 West Orange 2 (in 2 OTs)
2001: St. Benedict’s Prep 3 Seton Hall Prep 1
2000: West Essex 2 Montclair 0
1999: Montclair 2 MKA 2 (co-champions)
1998: Columbia 1 Montclair 1 (co-champions)
1997: Columbia 1 Montclair 1 (co-champions)
1996: Montclair 2 Columbia 0
1995: Livingston 2 Montclair 1
1994: Millburn 3 West Essex 3 (co-champions)
1993: Columbia 3 Montclair 1
1992: St. Benedict’s Prep 1 Columbia 0
1991: Columbia 3 Montclair 0
1990: St. Benedict’s Prep 3 Columbia 2 (in 2 OTs)
1989: St. Benedict’s Prep 1 Columbia 0
1988: Columbia 2 St. Benedict’s Prep 0
1987: St. Benedict’s Prep 2 Montclair 0
1986: Millburn 1 Columbia 0
1985: Columbia 2 Montclair 1 (in 2 OTs)
1984: Columbia 1 Livingston 1 (co-champions)
1983: Columbia 3 Bloomfield 1
1982: Millburn 2 Columbia 0
1981: Columbia 1 Verona 1 (co-champions)
1980: Columbia 0 Bloomfield 0 (co-champions)
1979: Columbia 1 Bloomfield 0
1978: East Side 0 Vailsburg 0 (ES wins on PK’s)
1977: Columbia 3 Livingston 0
1976: Verona 4 Bloomfield 0
1975: Columbia 1 Livingston 0
1974: Bloomfield 2 Caldwell 0

Most Titles:
Columbia 13
Montclair 8
Millburn 7

Consecutive Titles:
Montclair 4 (1996-99)

Most Final Appearances:
Columbia 22
Montclair 14

Most Consecutive Finals:
Columbia 8 (1979-86)     

*ECT historical information provided by Jeff Goldberg    

Follow Steve Tober on Twitter @Chattermeister

Montclair's Soren Tollis (26) looks to control ball in front of MKA player in Wednesday's action at Fortunato Field where Mounties won, 2-1.

Montclair's Phillip Cubeddu (10, right) controls ball as he looks upfield as MKA's Sean Cadigdan (21) cloxes in during Wednesday's SEC action.

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