Metz goal holds on for Roxbury in win over No.5 Delbarton

A 1-0 loss to Kearny on September 17 was the spark that ignited a fire under Roxbury, who outscored their opponents 13-3 in their next three games following that first defeat of the season. But the Gaels knew facing Delbarton on Monday afternoon was going to be a much more defensive story.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” said Roxbury senior Aiden Metz. “We were coming out of a few games with high scores for us, but as long as we come with that mindset that it’s Delbarton, it’s not just any other team. We have been preparing for days, we have been training in the cinema and it was exactly what we expected.

The Gaels’ expectations also include a victory over their American Division rivals the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference, and that’s exactly how Monday’s game went as Roxbury netted a first-half goal in road to a 1-0 victory over Delbarton, ranked No. 5 in the Top 20.

Metz scored the winner for the Gaels in the 35th minute when he picked up a pass from Gabriel Ruitenburg and snuck into the box. Delbarton keeper Parker Smith came out to challenge but went too far and Metz could just kick the ball into the net to take a 1-0 lead.

“I noticed their four-man defender was a bit let down,” Metz said. “I just went all the way and kept sprinkling it with that and that one was just a nice ball from Gabe that I got to hit straight.”

The win put Roxbury, who has won four straight games, alone atop the U.S. Division at 5-0 as Monday’s loss was the second conference and division loss for the Green Wave.

“They’re a really good team and they’re tough to beat and we knew we had to be pretty close to perfect to do that,” said Roxbury senior Tim Wilk. “But we knew we had the talent and the effort and the heart and the common family that we have with us that we knew we could do it. If we put it all in, left it all in the field, I knew 100% we were going to come out with the W and we did. I’m really proud of all the boys because it was real teamwork. I may have looked good and I have to do my part, but they all have to do it and that’s more important than me.

Roxbury’s defense took over for the rest of the game as Delbarton’s attack surged at every chance they could get to try and equalise. But Gaels keeper Noah Camp and the backline held firm as Camp finished with 10 saves for his second shutout of the season.

“He was huge,” Wilk said of Camp. “He gets the ball in the back when we need it, he’s really confident, I’m calm with him. He knows how to keep the ball when we need it and he controls his box really well, so it’s so much more easy. I don’t always have to go and get headers, he can come and claim it and make it easy for me. That’s good.”

The win will also be a strong argument for Roxbury to be the No. 1 seed for the upcoming Morris County tournament, which will be seeded next Thursday, October 6. The Gaels and the Green Wave will face off again during the regular season on October 22.

Last season, Roxbury went 18-3 in the National Division and only faced Delbarton once, a 2-0 loss in the Morris County Tournament semi-finals. This season, the Gaels seem to be adjusting very well to higher caliber competition in the American Division, and according to Metz and Wilk, there’s only one reason for their success so far.

“The chemistry, honestly,” Metz said. “On and off the pitch, we really love each other, we hang out every day and that transfers 100% onto the pitch with bonding and chemistry.”

For Delbarton, it was the second straight loss after winning four straight games and a second shutout of the season. The Green Wave fell to Randolph in double overtime Saturday in a rematch of last year’s Morris County Tournament Finals.

“It’s huge. It’s a big boost for the conference, a big boost for the county standings, a big boost for the state standings, everything,” Wilk said. is huge for us and it really means a lot to get the W in a tough game.”

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Lauren Knego covers men’s football and can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @laurenknego.

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