OP Soccer Overcomes Scare at New Providence

OP Soccer Overcomes Scare at New Providence

Jacob Cordeiro, Staff Writer

After an upsetting loss at the weekend in a hard fought game against Scotch Plains, OP Soccer traveled to New Providence’s turf for a conference clash. Last time these two teams met, it really was a one sided match as the Rams were victorious by a score of 4-1. However, this time the match had a different outcome and New Prov posed as more of a threat in front of goal.


To start the game, energy was lacking from both sides. OP had much of the ball and New Prov was doing a lot of chasing. Within 15 minutes of play, Steven Fudenna curled home a nice shot into the top left corner. Fudenna’s goal came from a quick one-two move with Nick Carnavale that completely took the surrounding defenders out of the play. A few moments later, Carnavale had an opportunity just outside the six and his strong shot produced a decent save out of the New Prov keeper. Two minutes before the half, Carnavale picked out Nick Jardim on the edge of the 18 and Jardim scored on the half volley, putting the Rams 2-0 up. During the team talk, OP were told to punish New Prov and come out stronger as the intensity still wasn’t at its best. However, one minute after the restart, New Prov got one after chaos in the box following a freekick. 


Suddenly, it seemed as if the momentum was shifting in New Prov’s favor as Doug Colandrea took a shot while being through on goal only before being denied by a New Prov player who blatantly used his arm. The referees claimed to see nothing and just minutes later a similar incident occurred. Also in New Prov’s 18, Carnavale was taken out and tripped by an opposing player but the officials once again refused to blow their whistles. New Prov then came down the other end and won a penalty for themselves. The Pioneers converted and the scoreboard now read 2-2. 15 minutes left on the clock and Marcelo Freire laid off a pass to Fudenna on one of his freekicks. The Rams retook the lead after Fudenna’s miscued shot fell to Patrick Mainente who slotted the ball into the bottom left corner. Although, the game didn’t end there as New Prov instantly tied it up after playing an over the top ball to one of their wingers who was able to tee it up for their unmarked striker. As time elapsed, OP’s Jack Masella and Conor Maenpaa both came close, but neither team could net another before the end of regulation and as a result, the game went to overtime. In OT, the Rams applied all the pressure and the ball spent very little time in OP’s defensive half. Finally, a miscommunication between the New Providence backline and their goalie led to a Carnavale golden goal winner. 


The exciting 4-3 scoreline improved OP’s record to 8-6-1. Despite the referee missing two clear penalty calls and OP’s players not performing to the best of their ability, the Rams were able to squeak out a win. OP continues in action on Friday night away to Linden, who have their senior night planned for the occasion. This will be the Rams’ last conference game of the year as the team begins to prepare for sectionals near the end of the month. Prior to states though, OP will look to ruin two other senior nights next week as well. On the schedule are Bound Brook and Cranford, who await to host the Rams during under the lights encounters.