Riverside Going After A Triple Win The Rams Have Beaten Palmyra Twice This Year. They'll Play Again Today For A South Jersey Title.

Posted: November 15, 1996

Sam Maira insists that complacency won't be a problem for his Riverside boys' soccer team.

The top-seeded Rams will host Palmyra at 1 p.m. today in the South Jersey Group 1 final, and they'll be seeking their first sectional title since 1991. This season, they defeated Palmyra, 1-0 and 4-1, en route to their third Burlington County League Freedom Division title in the last four years.

Nevertheless, Maira won't be lulled into a false sense of security.

``Palmyra is a very good team and gave us all we could handle in our first meeting,'' Maira said. ``It's very tough to beat a team three times.''

Tough, but not impossible. Riverside proved that Tuesday with a 2-1 semifinal victory over No. 4 Bordentown, which it had beaten by 4-2 and 1-0 during the season.

One reason Riverside likely won't overlook Palmyra is senior leadership. Five seniors - defenders Tim Davidson and Doug Weller, midfielder Shawn Otto, and forwards Rui Ferreira and Nathan Marter - have been varsity starters since their freshman year. Marter has a team-high 19 goals, and Ferreira has added 18.

Davidson, considered among South Jersey's best defenders, anchors a defense that has recorded 10 shutouts.

Riverside (15-1-1) suffered its only loss to Vineland, 3-0, in the South Jersey Coaches Tournament.

Because Group 1 has only a five-team field, Riverside needed just the win over Bordentown to advance to the final.

No. 2 seed Palmyra (11-3-2) also played just one tournament game, a 3-2 victory over No. 3 Schalick.

Palmyra has a dangerous scoring combination of senior Aaron Knight, who has 16 goals, and sophomore Mike Pappenberg, who has 15.

Here's a look at the rest of today's sectional finals.

GROUP 2. Eighth-seeded Woodstown (14-5), the surprise team of Group 2, will visit second seed Point Pleasant Boro (15-3-2) at noon.

The Wolverines have defeated No. 9 Kingsway, 3-0; No. 1 Haddonfield, 3-1; and No. 4 Cinnaminson, 1-0. Senior Jeff LaPalomento has a team-high 24 goals this season, including five in the three tournament games. Freshman Oscar Hernandez has added 13 goals.

Point Pleasant Boro's top offensive threat is Matt Weiglein, who scored a goal and had two assists in Wednesday's 4-1 Group 2 semifinal victory over Gateway.

GROUP 3. In an upset-filled field, No. 8 Egg Harbor Township (11-3-5) will host No. 10 Central Regional (14-4-2) at 2 p.m.

EHT, which is seeking its first sectional title, beat No. 9 West Deptford, 1-0, then recorded one of the tournament's most stunning upsets by beating No. 1 Delsea. The teams played to a 2-2 tie before EHT won, 4-3, on penalty kicks.

The Eagles advanced to the final with a 3-2 win over No. 4 Brick Township. Senior Ron Hires has scored in each of the three tournament wins.

``We have a veteran team,'' EHT coach Mike Mousaw said. ``Eight starters have been on varsity for three years.''

Central, which has received solid play from goalie Don Shrump, advanced to the final with a 2-0 victory over No. 6 Williamstown.

GROUP 4. Lenape (18-4-1), the defending champ and sixth seed, will host No. 8 Vineland (15-4-2) at 1 p.m.

Lenape has outscored its three tournament opponents - Southern, Edgewood and Shawnee - by 10-2.

The Indians have been bolstered by the return of junior Dennis Ludwig, who missed eight games because of a groin injury. He returned two games ago against Edgewood and had a goal in that contest. Ludwig added two assists in Tuesday's 2-1 win over Shawnee.

Senior Mike Reid is among the most dangerous offensive threats in South Jersey. He has 13 goals. Sweeper Henry Chen leads a defense that has allowed an average of 0.52 goals per game.

Vineland advanced with Wednesday's 4-0 win over Triton. That avenged a loss to Triton in the South Jersey Coaches Tournament. In that game, the teams played to a 1-1 tie, but Triton won, 5-4, in a shoot-out.

Vineland has enjoyed a strong tournament, knocking off No. 9 Eastern, 2-1, and top-seeded Cherry Hill East, 1-0. Midfielder/striker Tony Nocito has a team-high 20 goals and has scored in each of the three tournament wins.

PAROCHIAL B. St. Augustine (11-10-2), which is seeded sixth in the eight-team field, will play No. 1 Wildwood Catholic (19-1-3) at 6 p.m. at Mercer County Park.

Wildwood Catholic beat St. Augustine, 4-1 and 3-1, during the regular season. The Crusaders have outscored their two playoff opponents, Moorestown Friends and St. Joseph, by a combined 9-1. Junior Kevin Burns leads Wildwood Catholic with 22 goals.

St. Augustine defeated third seed St. Rose, 2-0, and second seed St. Mary's of South Amboy, 3-2. Junior Bob Dumas, who scored twice against St. Mary's, has scored a team-leading 16 goals this season.

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