by Caroline Baldwin
After a game where every second up to the last mattered, nineteenth-ranked Westfield defeated eighth-ranked Basking Ridge 8–7 last Thursday night, advancing them to the Group 4 Sectional Final against Bridgewater.
Senior Tri-Captain Dane Huber said, “We have played so many games from behind this year; we were more than prepared for this game.”
Just 36 seconds into the first quarter, Basking Ridge scored, making it seem as if Ridge was going to be successful from the start. WHS attempted to match the next three goals by Ridge but failed to reach the back of the net. With less than a minute left, junior Pat Aslanian gave Westfield hope as he ripped a ball from the outside which passed right by the Ridge goalie, leaving the score 4–1 at the end of the first quarter.
Ridge started the second quarter just as they started the first, scoring within minutes. Westfield didn’t let that goal go unanswered as senior Pat Decker, assisted by junior Luke Prybylski scored, making the score 5–2, which started Westfield on a successful scoring streak.
Prybylski scored twice more with five minutes remaining in the first half, once assisted by senior Tri-Captain Chris Aslanian and then unassisted, ending the second quarter 5–4.
The third quarter began with unsuccessful shots from both teams and a battle for ground balls until Ridge scored with eight minutes remaining, leaving the score 6–4. Westfield made a comeback as Prybylski scored with three minutes remaining, and Ridge scored shortly after, leaving the score 7–5.
With twelve minutes remaining in the game, WHS needed to capitalize. Assisted by Pat Aslanian, Huber lessened the gap to 7–6. Pat Aslanian scored a minute later tying the game at 7–7.
While attempting a goal, Prybylski was knocked out with eight minutes remaining and was walked off field. Shortly after, senior Chris Callahan scored, giving WHS its first lead, leaving the Westfield crowd electrified.
Westfield needed to maintain the lead for eight more minutes, and sophomore goalie Toby Burgdorf made two huge saves, leading Westfield to a final 8–7 victory.
After defeating Ridge, Westfield moved on to the Group 4 North Jersey Final where they dominated from the first whistle, beating Bridgewater 10–5 last Saturday.
additional reporting credits to Henry Liddy, Eric Herber, Eric Shor and Elli Warsh