By Jerry Del Priore
The Chatham Cougars High School varsity boys’ soccer team fell behind, 1-0, after giving up a goal to the Mountain Lakes Lakers at the 15: 96 mark of the first half. But Chatham rallied and scored four unanswered goals to rout the Lakers, 4-1, Thursday evening at home on Senior Day at the school.
While Chatham has endured a measure of maladies, head coach Mark Maka said it was nice to get one player back Thursday in Nick Kaisand and expects two more to return to the roster in due course. But, more importantly, he noted that he was pleased with the effort and result and is ready to move forward.
“We had some big-time injuries this year. It’s nice to get one back today,” Maka said after the contest. “We have two more who we hope will be back with us soon. They guys are working hard, playing well, and on to the next one.”
Senior Teddy Pendleton, who enjoyed a fantastic game, knotted the contest at 1-1 after beating the goalkeeper to the right side of the net with 7:07 remaining in the first half.
The Cougars (6-1) took the lead when junior Nick Suter banged a penalty kick home, after senior striker Aedan Joel drew the foul, giving the squad a 2-1 advantage with 4:11 left in the first half.
Looking to swell its margin, Chatham pressed hard and would have its opportunities to score, but the Lakers’ netminder saved a Joel blast to keep the contest at 2-1.
However, this time, Joel, a fierce competitor, refused to be denied, as he hit the back of the net for a 3-1 lead with 32:16 to go in the second half.
The 17-year-old Joel has played with the same 11 seniors on the current squad since his freshman year, and he never doubted their cohesive ability to help the team surmount the deficit when the Cougars fell behind early in the affair.
“I kind of had a lot of confidence in our team, especially the seniors. We had a really good run freshman year,” Joel recollected. “The whole starting 11 was the same group of guys that played on our freshman team and made a winning record through the year. I think we lost three games. So, no, I was never worried.”
Sophomore Miles Robertson capped Chatham’s four-goal barrage with one of his own with 1:02 ticks left in the tilt.
Mountain Lakes had a chance to score, but its penalty shot went wide left near the end of the game.
The No. 3 Cougars return to action as they host fourteenth-ranked Randolph Saturday at noon in the 2018 Morris County Soccer Tournament.
Watch Mountain Lakes shoot wide during penalty in below video.