Varsity Soccer Comes From Behind to Win Against Conference Rival!


Senior Captain Nicholas Jardim (#7) beats the goalkeeper with a powerful header off a beautiful free kick from Junior Marcelo Friere to tie the game at 1-1 vs. GL on Monday.)

Steven Fudenna, Staff Writer

After a statement victory as a #12 seed taking down #5 seed Union in penalty kicks in the Union County Tournament, the OP Varsity soccer team looked to continue its run of success against conference rival Governor Livingston on Monday. The team suffered a crushing defeat in their last matchup at Governor Livingston, losing 4-1 in arguably the worst game of the season for the squad. In a completely new environment at home with the support of the Rowdies present, the Rams looked to avenge their defeat, supplement their 3 game win streak, and continue their solid play leading into Senior Day and the Quarterfinals of the County Tournament.


The Rams started the game off a bit slow, unable to create the same kind of pressure offensively as they had in the past, and lacked their typical urgency and aggression. This slow play led Oratory into a 1-0 deficit 15 minutes into the match. As the first half progressed, the team’s play improved with the defense preventing any further opportunities from Governor Livingston, and the offense creating several threatening scoring chances. With just a few minutes remaining in the first half, the Rams got the chance they needed in a free kick from just outside the corner of the box. Junior Marcelo Freire was the selected kick taker and rightfully so as he delivered a sublime cross to his dynamic duo Senior Nicholas Jardim who directed a clinical header into the far side netting from the back post, tying the game at one goal apiece. Jardim, Freire, and the rest of the field players celebrated with the Rowdies by the fence afterward, giving an extra boost of momentum and energy to the team going into halftime.


At halftime, Coach Barresi highlighted the team’s sluggish start, a factor that has unfortunately been present in several of the team’s games this year, and reminded them of the importance of playing the full 80 minutes of a game with high intensity. He discussed their aggression, and how they have been way more physical against much bigger teams in the past. He pointed out that the game was now on a level playing field again, though. If the boys fixed a few tactical errors, played stronger, yet composed, they could be on their way to victory.


As the Rowdies took their positions back on the bleachers, the second half began and the Rams came out with much more passion than before. Their offense began flowing methodically as the central midfield trio of Liam Henderson, Marcelo Freire, and Nicholas Jardim controlled possession of the ball for the Rams, creating dangerous scoring opportunities. However, they couldn’t seem to find the back of the net. Governor Livingston did not back off in the second half though, continuing to play stifling defense and putting pressure on Oratory’s defense. The defenders and goalkeeper Jack Coyne, Union County Conference Player of the Week via, stood tall and prevented any goals from squeaking through. As the game grew on, the game became more chippy and aggressive with much more physical play. Yet, the tie could not be broken until Nick Jardim won a corner kick for Oratory. 


Marcelo Freire took the corner kick and played a lofting cross into the box, connecting with the outreaching head of Senior Center back Owen “Doc” Lines, who powered a header towards goal which the goalkeeper deflected. The ball came back to Lines who volleyed a returning shot under the arm of the keeper, off the inside of the post and into the net, giving Oratory a 2-1 lead. Owen Lines’ first career varsity goal caused an eruption from the fan section and provided the reward for the team’s hard-fought efforts in the second half. However, Oratory capitalized once more in the final minute off a counter-attack ending with Nick Jardim dishing a pass off to Junior Nick Carnevale who beat the goalkeeper to the near post securing a 3-1 victory for the Rams.


With this win, the team improves to 7-5, and 4-5 in Conference play. They look to tackle another Conference opponent at home on Thursday at 4 pm against Jonathan Dayton High School. Last time the teams faced was on Dayton’s field in a 1-0 loss where Dayton’s only shot on target was converted into a goal. The boys will be looking to get revenge and for additional incentive, it is also Senior Day where the seniors will be honored and celebrated. There are rumors that the Rowdies are having a big turnout, and apparently the theme is Halloween costumes. This has all the prerequisites of a thrilling game and it will be exciting to see whether the Rams can continue their streak of success, or if Jonathan Dayton will steal another win?