NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–This season has been magical for the New Brunswick High School boys soccer program, as the varsity, junior varsity (JV), and freshman teams have racked up a total of 45 wins and only two losses.
Although the Zebras varsity team was eliminated by South Plainfield in the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) tournament, in their first loss all season, they still have the state championship tournament to look forward to.
Meanwhile, the Freshmen team had an outstanding season, going undefeated at 14-0, and winning the GMC Championship against Edison.
The Junior Varsity squad, coached by Vinny Romagnuolo and Steven Lujan, started the season out slow with a tie against Sayreville in their first game, but bounced back to finish with only one loss.
They too won the county title with a 3-2 victory over Old Bridge.
Jason Acosta was sensational, delivering all three assists in the match.
The first two goals were scored by Cristian Zapata to give the Zebras a 2-0 lead, while Tony Hererra provided the game winning goal on give-and-go fast break with 17 minutes left in the game.
When asked how the fantastic season they had, Coach Vinny Romagnuolo said, "It starts in the heat of July. These guys are the cream of the crop."
"This team has grown from a bunch of young boys to a bunch of men," Romagnuolo told New Brunswick Today. "They certainly have come a long way since we got them in the beginning of the summer time and I'm extremely proud of them."
The varsity team's first loss in the semi-finals of the county tournament gave the team a humbling experience.
Prior to the contest, the Zebras trashed the South Plainfield Tigers 8-0 the first time the teams met.
Then the Zebras bested them 6-3 to earn the GMC white division championship.
Of course, when you beat a team easily twice during the regular season, why wouldn't you look right past them?
Little did they know the Tigers were prepared for them this time, counting on the Zebras to underestimate their talent as a team.
The Tigers utilized an air-attack, using their height to their advantage and scoring on three headers against the Zebras.
Luckily for the Zebras, this was a lesson learned before the state tournament.
Leaving a sour taste in their mouths, the Zebras returned to their winning ways in the first round of the NJ State Chamionship tournament.
On November 3, New Brunswick defeated Freehold Borough 6-3 to advance to the "Elite 8" in the tournament.
Their next match is November 6 at 2pm against Manalapan.