Senior Braydon Schwartz set up Pascack Valley's first goal less than one minute into the game and then scored two of his own in a 4-1 win at Demarest on Tuesday.
DEMAREST – Opposing teams give away restarts against Pascack Valley at their own peril and not just a specific type of restart. The Indians are dangerous on all varieties from anywhere inside the midfield stripe.
Braydon Schwartz is a wizard with free kicks, Brandon Cordino can chuck long throws into dangerous positions from either touchline, Nate Dedrick is an aerial target that is tough to defend and Nick Londono is a poacher, a precise finisher who hangs on the margins of the mixer waiting for the second ball.
The perfect illustration of Pascack Valley’s prowess came less than one minute into its match on Tuesday afternoon on the road at Northern Valley/Demarest. Schwartz jumped a pass to end the opening possession of the game and moved forward with possession before being taken down just outside the penalty area. He lined up the free kick from about 22 yards away and saw his bender clang off the crossbar.
It was only a temporary reprieve for the home team, however, as Dedrick headed the second ball after the rebound back toward the right post where Londono was positioned and he buried it to give Pascack Valley the lead for good just 1:32 into the game. The Indians added two more goals in the first half and went on to an impressive 4-1 victory.
“The chemistry on this team is just growing and growing. Right from the first game through today, the chemistry is growing and we have been scoring more and more goals,” said Schwartz. “We are connecting with each other and today, just like in the Ramapo it was us just playing through and playing together. If we keep it up and keep playing like that then we are a threat for sure.”
Sophomore Kai Mayor scored the goal for Demarest.
Fresh off of the aforementioned Ramapo game, a 5-1 win on Saturday night, Pascack Valley has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 24-6 this season, sports a 5-1 record and has won five straight games since an overtime loss against Northern Highlands in the season opener.
Don’t look know, but Pascack Valley is establishing itself as one of the early favorites in the Bergen County Tournament, the start of which will start in the first week of October. PV, Ridgewood and Cliffside Park, to name a few challengers, are off to fast starts in the Big North Conference, defending champion Glen Rock is still unbeaten in a competitive NJIC and then there are usual suspects amongst the non-publics.
The Indians are now under the full time direction of head coach Luciano Cofrancesco, who has taken over for the legendary Roy Nygren, who retired after last season.
“The boys are really working well together and that, as a coach, is exactly what you want to see. We have a big group of seniors, this group has been together since they were little kids and we have different threats that can get us goals in different ways,” said Cofrancesco. “What we always talk about is just trying to play to the best of our ability and the wins and losses will take care of themselves. Remember, we are a team that lost on Day 1 of the season and that was a good dose of reality. We have grand aspirations, but we know that there are stops along the way that we are going to have to make.”
There was no stopping Pascack Valley on Tuesday as it kept a steady pressure on the Demarest goal, which was manned by Nick Caruso in the first half and Cameron Meyer in the second. The Indians almost added a second goal inside the first three minutes of the game, but Ryan Mastkowski’s rip off a pretty set up by Schwartz whistled just wide of the far post. There were other chances before PV did officially double its lead and again it was a little free kick magic that put the Indians up 2-0.
Pascack Valley senior Nate Dedrick is a tough matchup in the middle of the field.
Gledon Chin was taken down while carrying the ball across the top of the area and Schwartz quickly lined up the free kick, which he turned around the wall and into the bottom corner to make it 2-0 in the 25th minute. The Indians made it 3-0 3:21 before halftime when Cordino’s long throw-in found Johny Noone, who moved the ball ahead Londono, who passed the ball into the open net for his second tally of the game.
“I don’t really remember everything that happened leading up to that [second goal]. All I remember is that the ball came down to me and I flicked it in,” said Londono, one of the 20 seniors on the PV roster. “This team moves the ball so well that you always have to be ready because the ball will come to you.”
Demarest was outscored, but it was not necessarily outclassed. It was not a rocking chair game for PV keeper AJ Puller as the Norsemen generated more than a few chances and had two in the final two-and-a-half minutes of the opening half. David Buzharsky sent in a pinpoint cross from the left corner that went begging at the far post in the 38th minute before the Norsemen were rewarded with something to show for their efforts.
Again it was Buzharsky that got the sequence started by pinging a ball quickly forward and into space. Sophomore Kai Mayor found himself in a foot race with the on-rushing keeper, won the race and hit the empty net in the 39th minute to draw Demarest back to within 3-1 at the intermission. That was a close as the Norseman could get, however, as Schwartz netted his second goal of the game while stationed at the back post where he finished off an assist from Dedrick, who had two of them in the game. That was the last goal of the contest and it came with 18:01 showing on the second half clock.
Demarest, which won a league title last season, its first in 43 years, in stunning fashion, fell to 1-3 on the season, but the Norsemen have been up against a brutal schedule. Their losses are against Ridgewood, Pascack Valley and Indian Hills.
“We knew coming into this game that we had to own that 6 (yard box) and if we did not own the 6 that they were going to get the better of us and they did that. That is why they are one of the best teams in the county and I tip my cap to them,” said Demarest head coach Jeremy Truppi. “I just told my guys to keep their heads up. Outside of those set plays, we played a heckuva game today. We had some opportunities and I am going to remind my kids of that. They think it is all about the scoreboard, but it is never about the scoreboard. I would rather come out in a 4-1 loss knowing that our kids gave everything they had to the game then leave up 2-1 knowing we really didn’t do much. Our kids showed their commitment today and I am happy about that.”
Pascack Valley is also happy with the result, which gave them complete control of the league title race even at this early juncture of the season and the Indians gave the impression that they are chasing even more trophies.
“We are trying to compete for the county [title]. That is what we are trying to do,” said Schwartz, part of this deep senior class that were freshmen the last time the Indians made it as far as the Bergen County Tournament final. “We think we have a good enough team to do it and who know what will happen when you get into a game with team like [Don] Bosco [Prep] or Bergen [Catholic], but we would like to test ourselves and find out.”