Clearview stuns Wash. Twp., takes title

Ian Hunter was a big part of Clearview's defensive effort.
Ian Hunter was a big part of Clearview's defensive effort.
Posted: November 17, 2013

The most monumental win in the history of the Clearview boys' soccer team wasn't about skill or strategy.

It wasn't about saves by the Pioneers' impenetrable goalie or clean sweeps by the team's unflappable four back defenders.

To capture the school's first South Jersey title in any boys' sport by beating an undefeated, untied, and seemingly invincible opponent, Clearview coach Dodd Terry said his players had to dig down to find a deeper vein.

"We had to believe in ourselves," Terry said after Clearview stunned Washington Township, 1-0, in the South Jersey Group 4 final Friday. "That was foundational to this game."

Clearview (13-5-3), the No. 3 seed, received a goal midway through the first half from junior Dane Gill and some great work from junior goalie Ricky Nelson, who made 10 saves.

Senior center backs Ian Hunter and Shane Burke also were instrumental in the Pioneers' ability to withstand relentless pressure from the Minutemen.

"We looked at it like it was just a game," Hunter said. "They were only human, just like us. They were beatable."

The final whistle left several Washington Township players sprawled on their home field in dismay and disbelief.

The top-seeded Minutemen (25-1) entered the game as the No. 1 team in The Inquirer's South Jersey rankings and as a side that many veteran soccer observers were comparing favorably to some of best teams in South Jersey history.

Washington Township played Friday without leading scorer Derek MacKinnon, a junior striker who suffered a knee injury in the semifinal win over Shawnee.

"We played with urgency. We played with desperation," Washington Township coach Shane Snyder said. "But we couldn't get one [shot] by."

Clearview had never won a sectional title in a boys' sport, Terry said. The Pioneers weren't expected to snap that streak in this game. Washington Township had powered through the season, winning the South Jersey Coaches Association tournament as well as the Olympic American title without a blemish on its record.

"They are an unbelievable team," Terry said. "They are a machine."

Clearview, which advanced to face Central Jersey champion Hunterdon Central in Tuesday night's state semifinals at Neptune, jumped in front, 1-0, in the 27th minute as Gill converted off a scramble after Brett Milden had served a corner kick into the box.

"He got a foot on it, and sometimes that's all it takes," Terry said.

Washington Township took its game to another level in the second half, creating six corners and numerous scoring opportunities.

But Clearview withstood flurry after flurry, as Nelson made a couple of smart saves and defenders such as Hunter and Burke and juniors River Young and Quinn Grossman kept sweeping away trouble.

In four tournament victories, Clearview has not allowed a goal.

"That speaks volumes about Ricky and those four backs," Terry said.

Hunter said the clock seemed to slow down in the second half, especially as Washington Township mounted attack after attack.

"It seemed like an eternity," Hunter said.

After the postgame handshake, Clearview players raced across the field to celebrate with a large contingent of fans, including a chanting student section.

"It's like a Cinderella story," Hunter said.

Clearview 1 0 – 1

Washington Township 0 0 – 0

Goal: C-Dane Gill.

Saves: C-Ricky Nelson 10; WT-Travis Yates 3.


Clearview's Ian Hunter looks back at the surprising victory.


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