Haddon Township falls to Waldwick in Group 1 final


NJSIAA representative Derryk Sellers (left) presents the Group 1 state championship trophy to Waldwick coach Jonathan Noschese and his squad after its 2-0 win over Haddon Township Saturday.

UNION — The soccer gods had one final trick in store for the Haddon Township boys soccer team.

“One hundred percent, I’ll remember how this team overcame every adversity that we were faced with,” Hawks coach Jim Bonder said, after his squad’s 2-0 loss to Waldwick Saturday in the Group 1 state championship game at Kean University. “From injuries to illness — it was unbelievable. I feel like every game, there was something new, and somebody else was going to have to step up.

“The coaches and I laugh — there’s nothing else they can throw at us that we haven’t seen."

But there was. Waldwick launched an all-out assault on the Haddon Township net for the first 10 minutes of the game, racking up chance after chance and corner after corner.

Somehow the Hawks emerged from that with the game still scoreless, and even had a chance to take the lead, on a tricky 18-yard shot off Dermot Sheehan’s foot in the 19th minute that Waldwick keeper Connor Dillon just barely got his hands on.

And then came the own goal.

A Haddon Township defender leaped to get his head on Kyle Jahnke’s shot from the perimeter and sent it over the hands of Hawks’ keeper Cole Johnston. It came down in the back of the Haddon Township net with 11:56 left in the half.

The Warriors had come that close to having nothing to show for their dominating start.

“It wasn’t frustration,” Waldwick captain Kyle Carroll said. “We knew one was coming. The whole state playoff run, we haven’t gotten one on the first five minutes, which we like, but the coaching staff always gets us ready for these moments.”

The Warriors seized the next one, as well. Daniel Perdomo made it 2-0 with 21:30 left in the game.

“Jahnke got a through ball; a cross in and I called for the ball near the penalty spot and just hit it in the top corner,” Perdomo said.

The Hawks were down 2-0 now against a team that hadn’t allowed more than two in a game all season.

There wasn’t any way back from that.

And that was the idea.

Story continues

“We’d just been saying, the last three games, I think, we were up 1-0 at halftime,” Carroll said. “We know when we get that next one, it’s game over for us.”

It’s the first state title for the Warriors since 1995.

“This just says that anything is possible,” Perdomo said. “We’re underdogs who came up short last year, and then this year we just persevered and came through.”

Haddon Township knows a little about perseverance.

The Hawks were 7-5 after a loss to Sterling on Oct. 4. They battled to a 1-1 draw with Rancocas Valley the following day and won nine of 10 after that.

“I don’t know that we had one moment where it all came together,” Bonder said. “But you can kind of tell, just like in a game; there’s good momentum, and there was a stretch of the season where we had lost that momentum. And then, you could just see that they had a sense that they could do something good. They could make a run and they started to believe in themselves.”

John A. Lewis is a sports writer for the Burlington County Times, Courier Post and The Daily Journal. E-mail him at jlewis@thebct.com or follow on Twitter @JohnLewis19. Please consider supporting local journalism with a subscription.

This article originally appeared on Cherry Hill Courier-Post: Waldwick downs Haddon Township in Group 1 championship game


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