Hun Boys’ Soccer Falls to Pennington in Prep A Semis, Bounces Back to Top Peddie 3-0, Clinch MAPL Title
GOING TO MASS: Hun School boys’ soccer player Mass Verduci, left, goes after the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, senior star Verduci tallied two goals and an assist as Hun defeated Peddie 3-0 in its season finale. The Raiders, who improved to 12-4-2 with the win, clinched at least a share of the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) title with the win. Earlier in the week, second-seeded Hun fell 4-0 to third-seeded Pennington in the Prep A state semis. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
It was the third and final installment of a trilogy when the second-seeded Hun School boys’ soccer team hosted third-seeded Pennington in the Prep A state semis last Thursday.
In late September, Hun topped Pennington 3-0 in a regular season contest. On October 18, the Red Hawks turned the tables on the Raiders in the Mercer County Tournament, pulling out a 1-0 win over Hun with a late goal on the way to winning the county crown.
So when the rivals met last Thursday in the rubber match, Hun head coach Pat Quirk didn’t tinker with his game plan
“We didn’t think we had to change much from the two previous games,” said Quirk.
Yet in a big change from the earlier meetings, Pennington charged ahead early on, taking a 2-0 lead in the first half.
At halftime, Quirk urged his players to keep pressing forward.
“We were just trying to continue to bring a little more energy and just try to create a little bit more,” said Quirk. “We had opportunities in the first half, we just didn’t finish them.”
It was the Red Hawks, however, who did the finishing, scoring two goals in the first four minutes of the second half on the way to a 4-0 win.
“They made a couple of good saves,” said Quirk. “We continued to hold the ball and move it. That is what we were trying to do. They just outplayed us today.”
Quirk credited junior Michael D’Aulerio, senior Will Zeng, junior Joey Bucchere, and senior Mass Verduci with starring for the Raiders in a losing cause.
“Michael played really well in the back, I thought he did awesome,” said Quirk. “Will played well in the midfield. Joey had some good runs. I thought Mass up top worked his butt off and battled nonstop. He was never going to give up.”
Two days later, Verduci’s hard work paid dividends as he tallied two goals and an assist to help Hun defeat Peddie 3-0 in its season finale. The Raiders, who improved to 12-4-2 with the win, clinched at least a share of the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) title with the Hill School (Pa.) needing a win over Lawrenceville on November 5 to tie Hun for the crown.
Looking ahead to the Peddie game, Quirk believed that his squad would be primed to finish with a bang.
“It is Senior Day, it is a celebration,” said Quirk. “It is a chance to win back-to-back MAPL titles, which we haven’t done in a long time.”