Varsity Boys’ Soccer Earns 4-1 Victory in Clash With Cedar Ridge

By Jared Hyman, Photographer/Videographer

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The varsity boys’ soccer team took on the Cedar Ridge Raiders on Feb. 11, a cold and rainy Tuesday night. Despite the cold, the offense, led by a hat trick from Nikola Djordjevic ‘21, turned up the heat to defeat the Raiders 4-1.

The game began with a quick attack by Cesar Frias ‘20 who dished the ball to Djordjevic. Using his speed, Djordjevic powered by defenders but his ensuing shot bounced off the goalpost. Both defenses had a strong start to the game as they stopped each other’s attacks. It wasn’t until a pass from West Bevins ‘20 set up Djordjevic to tap it into the net that the first goal of the night was scored. The Warrior defense, led by Bevins and Ben Forshay ‘20, forced turnovers deep in their own territory to get the ball back in Westwood’s possession. A steal on a slide tackle by Kawan Borba ‘23 allowed Djordjevic to take the ball all the way to the box, where he found an uncovered Louis Niemerg ‘21 who fired a shot into the back of the net, making it 2-0.

“(Nikola’s) speed is his biggest weapon,” head coach Stefano Salerno said. “Sure everyone on the team can be a good shooter, but you have to be able to maneuver around defenders if you want to get scoring opportunities. He’s just a great overall player that can do anything he wants on the field to help the team win.”

Despite the Raiders being down, they were able to keep their composure and keep the Warriors off the board again when the momentum shifted to the Warrior side. Niemerg and others were able to get good shots on goal but they all fell short with the wind blowing against them. However, Niemerg utilized good ball control and awareness and found a hole in the Raider defense where Djordjevic was one-on-one with a defender. Djordjevic was fouled inside the box and a penalty shot was called, and Djordjevic shot it in with ease, making it 3-0 going into half.

The Raiders came out firing on all cylinders and took shot after shot that either overshot the net or was saved by goalie Justin Lang ‘20. Finally, after a miscommunication on defense, the Raiders found the scoreboard for the first and only time of the night, on a shot that deflected off of the hands of Lang. Both defenses struggled to keep enemy offenses out of their territory for the remainder of the game but held up during scoring opportunities. Bevins and Philip Richardson ‘20 saw their roles increase as the Raider offense started to gain momentum, but they played aggressively and had several takeaways. After a yellow card was issued to a Raider, Bevins delivered a strike downfield. With wind aiding his pass, he was able to find Djordjevic in stride, who leaped into the air and scored on an incredible shot with his back foot, completing his hat trick and sealing a 4-1 win for the Warriors.

“They played a really physical game and it made it difficult for us to get shots in,” Djordjevic said. “The cold made it even harder physically but having a really good defense like we [do] takes a lot of pressure off to score goals and that’s when instinct takes over. It wasn’t our best game for sure, but I’m glad we were able to pull off the win.”

The Warriors begin the second half of district play at home on Friday, Feb. 14 against the Hendrickson Hawks.