By Andy Loigu
Junior forward Dani Profita scored twice on Saturday, to lead Warren Hills to its third consecutive Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex field hockey tournament championship.
The Blue Streaks (15-1-1) defeated Hunterdon Central 2-1 at Hackettstown High School in the championship final.
It was a good weekend for Warren Hills boys soccer and football as well.
New field hockey coach Kate Rothman has picked up where retired mentor Laurie Kerr left off, as Warren Hills continues to win field hockey titles. With the H/W/S title in hand, they now gear up to defend their state championship in the upcoming weeks.
After a frustrating first half, Profita tied it at 1-1 on an assist from Mikayla Dugan. Profita struck again, on a feed from Rachael Phillips, with 12:37 left. It was Profita’s team-leading 30th goal of the season.
In the keeps, goalie Jacquelin de Raismes preserved the win by stopping six shots.
The Blue Streaks played without senior Megan Thompson (15 goals, nine assists) who is recovering from a concussion she suffered during the Blue Streaks’ 2-1 semifinal win (on penalty strokes) over Voorhees.
Meanwhile, also on Saturday, out-shooting their opponent 10-6, the top-seeded Warren Hills Blue Streaks controlled the tempo of play and reached the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex boys soccer championship final with a 2-0 win over High Point.
After a scoreless first half, Mario Ramirez-Oseguera and Todd Spender scored goals for the Blue Streaks, assisted by Connor Havrisko and Mark Barillari. Goalkeeper Christian Cabrera preserved the shutout.
“We played well, both offensively and defensively, in the first half,” said head boys soccer coach Mike Quinto. “We did not need to change anything, we just needed to finish. We just kept after it until we did. We knew they would give Mario a lot of defensive attention, after he scored those three goals (in a 3-1 quarterfinal win over Pope John) but we have other weapons, too. It was so good to see the team movement we had. This is how we can play.”
Warren Hills, who has played a challenging schedule and is now 9-6, will be at home for the championship final at 1 p.m., on Saturday, Oct. 31, against Phillipsburg. The Stateliners knocked off Newton in the other semifinal to ensure an All-Warren championship game. It is the first time Warren Hills has reached the final since Sussex schools joined the party in 2009. The loss was the first of the season for High Point, now 11-1-3.
Warren Hills had to reshuffle its lineup, after Corey Smith hurt his ankle in practice. “We moved Havrisko into the middle and he did a good job,” Quinto said. “We’ve been good with our set plays, and Mario always knows where to go.”
Knowing where to go was the key to the goal which broke the ice with 33:20 left to play. Ramirez-Oseguera scored on Havrisko’s throw-in.
Spender’s insurance goal came at 20:59, but Warren Hills still could not relax. High Point started sending more players into the attacking zone and did not allow the Blue Streaks to coast.
Warren Hills was awarded a penalty kick with 5:20 left in the first half, but was denied on a diving save by Garrett Potter of the Wildcats. Five minutes later, Potter left his feet to make another sensational save, and the rebound shot hit the crossbar, so Warren Hills could not be blamed if they asked each other, “what do we have to do?”
The first 10 minutes of the second half also were tough for Warren Hills, as the Wildcats were fired up after their mid-game pep talk.
It was a good, clean game, in which no warning cards were issued and no offside calls were made, until the last six minutes of the game.
The Blue Streaks also defeated Somerville in football on Friday evening, 14-7, to get to .500 at 3-3.
Under the Friday night lights, at Warren Hills Stadium, senior running back Shane Deemer led the Blue Streaks to their football victory by carrying the ball 26 times for 156 yards and a touchdown out of the Blue Streaks’ multiple-I sets. He also caught two passes for 30 yards.
“Shane has always worked hard for us,” eighth-year head coach Larry Dubiel said with appreciation. “He’s a blessing and he sets a good example for the younger players.”
Deemer, in turn, praised the efforts of senior offensive linemen Kurt Nemeth and Colton Zack, and juniors Mark Formichelli and Kyle McShea.
“I like being the workhorse and getting the ball a lot. I work hard to be in condition for it, but those guys on the o-line, they keep surging forward, giving me the openings I need to make plays,” Deemer said. “As a group, we aim to leave it all on the field, holding nothing back.”
McShea’s fumble recovery as a linebacker, gave Warren Hills the ball, first-and-goal from the eight, late in the second period. Deemer then carried the ball three straight times and scored from the two. The first of two extra point kicks by Oscar “The Big O” Vega, tied the game at 7-7.
After the defense forced Somerville to punt, an eight-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Cooper Gabrich to Deemer, and a five-yard toss to wideout Carsen Johnson, gave the Blue Streaks a first down at the visitors’ 45.
After Somerville was flagged for being offside, Warren Hills had a first-and-five play, and the Streaks went deep. On the run, against single coverage, Johnson made an athletic one-handed catch in stride and ran into the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown. It ended up being the game’s deciding offensive play, because the second half had no scoring.
“You need those plays,” Dubiel said. “Ever since the first day of practice, we’ve worked at being a balanced team that can run and pass.”
The first half ended with Nemeth sacking the Somerville quarterback and it set the tone for a second half in which Warren Hills completely shut the door on The Ville’s offense.
On the second play, after Somerville received the kickoff to start the second half, there was Nemeth with another sack.
As the third period went on, Deemer recovered a fumble and Nemeth had yet another sack.
Somerville went to the air to try and catch up in period four, but senior defensive back Austin Hamler broke up a pass and junior Matt Dufner intercepted a pass, as the Blue Streaks displayed the kind of coverage you get reading Inside Warren.
“Defense is working hard and being prepared and working together,” Nemeth said. “The coaching staff does a great job of getting us ready.”
During a senior night ceremony, the family of quarterback Evan Murray, who died on Sept. 25, was recognized. Generous Warren Hills supporters have continued giving to the Murray Fund, to help the grieving family, as the season has continued.