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August 24, 2017
Mounties Head Coach Toure Weaver says this is one of the most talented teams he has had and thinks it will surprise some people.
PHOTO BY ANDREW GARDA/STAFF
by Andrew Garda
As Montclair High School boys soccer head coach Toure Weaver looks out onto his team scrimmaging, he can barely contain his enthusiasm.
“This year is pretty exciting because we have talent all over the field,” Weaver said. “I know our midfield is going to be really strong, and our back line has some really good players. And up top we have some goal scorers. It’s hard to say [where the strength is] because I think we are really a well rounded team this year.”
The 2017 Mounties are a young team, having graduated several players last year, but Weaver says the talent this year will definitely fill the void.
“We lost some seniors but the class that’s coming up is a really mature group,” Weaver said. “They’ve really done a good job of bringing the different team members together and making it a community of guys.”
When asked who he expects to step up, Weaver quickly ticks off three players he thinks will be big parts of any success the team has.
“Phillip Cubeddu, a guy who is super technical, and works really hard. I think he’s going to create a lot of trouble for other teams this year. Reece Bordick is a captain and he’s the guy in the middle of the park who makes things go. And Chris Masur has had varsity minutes ever since he was a freshman. [He] reads the game really well, is a smart player, tough and technical.”
In the net, Weaver can rely on two very good goaltenders.
“We have two super-confident goaltenders — Rowan O’Brien, a captain and a senior, and a junior, Ben Middlemiss. Both are good in the air, command their box, and are good at shot saving. So you have two quality players right there.”
Weaver also has some international experience to draw on as well, in rising junior Salvador Pliego. When not taking the field for MHS, Pliego plays with the U16 Mexican National team. That international experience, Weaver believes, will be an asset not just in games, but in practices as well.
“[Pliego] seeing the intensity that professional players are practicing with and knowing what it takes to just practice like that is going to be a huge benefit for the group,” Weaver said. The coach hopes Pliego’s intensity will be infectious.
It might be, as Weaver says this team has come ready to work from day one.
“These guys came in this year wanting to work. Just hungry for it. Sometimes with teams you have to get into them to do that, and these guys want that. And that’s been nice to see.”
That drive seems to come from getting a taste of success — and failure — in tournaments last season.
“Last year we made it to the semifinals against Seton Hall and it was a little bit like we were deer in the headlights. They got to experience it and now they know that each round of the states, each round of the counties, it gets a little more intense with a little more stake on the line, but these guys realize that now and that the moment won’t get too big for them.”
Weaver also said he sees a close bond already developing among the players and that tightness will help them overcome obstacles that can crop up during any season.
“For me, this is a real team,” Weaver said. “These guys love being with each other. When you have that it helps so much to get through tough times in games, tough times during the season. When guys are supporting each other and wanting each other to do well, I think that makes a huge difference. This year I think these guys have a little bit of grit to them. I think that when they get into these big moments, they’re gonna shine.”
It’s still a little early in the preseason and Weaver is still working out how different players fit on the field.
“Right now we’re still feeling out different positions for different guys,” Weaver said. “And also we’re trying different formations, because the talent we have on this team, I think we’re going to be able to do different things this year than we’ve done in the past.”
There are so many players able to do so many things, it’s taking a little time to figure out how the pieces to the puzzle all fit.
“We’re probably the deepest I can ever remember us being in terms of the quality of starters and also reserve guys on the bench,” Weaver said. “This team can do a lot. I’m really excited and I think we’re a little under the radar, which is good, but I think we’re going to make some noise this year.”
Weaver enjoys seeing mentor as Weber returns
Match puts Montclair coach against the man who had been his teacher for 13 years
SIDELINE CHATTER STEVE TOBER
Toure’ Weaver, who is still the coach on the rise, sent his Montclair High soccer side against his mentor when the Mounties hosted Verona in a Super Essex Conference crossover match on a recent damp and humid Wednesday afternoon. h
Yes, Jack Weber had been back to Fortunato Field last fall as an assistant coach with the Hillbillies. But the Sept. 13 match versus the team he had coached for three decades, and is now headed by a young man who had been his right-hand man for 13 years, was his first appearance at Fortunato Field as the head honcho for Verona. h “I was here last year with Verona and I don’t make too much of it other than I’m just trying to guide an inexperienced squad against one of the better teams in our county,” said the always understated Weber, who simply went about his business for 30 years of directing many a fine Mountie soccer side. “It’s great to see some familiar faces, and everyone is very friendly, but things are just different now for me as we try to reload with a mostly younger group at Verona.”
For Full Article please go to www.http://montclairtimes.nj.newsmemory.com/ 9-21-2017 sports
Declan O'Sullivan has four goals and two assists for Montclair this season. (Andrew Mills | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
By Richard Greco | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on November 07, 2017 4:31 PM, updated November 07, 2017 9:23 PM
|11/07 - 12:00 AM Boys Soccer||Final|
MONTCLAIR -- A sense of relief come across the face of Montclair junior forward Declan O'Sullivan as his penalty kick went into the back of the net to open the scoring in an eventual 3-0 win for the second-seeded Mounties, No. 15 in the NJ.com Top 20, over seventh-seeded West Orange in the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 semifinals at Fortunato Field on Tuesday.
For O'Sullivan the goal was just the break he needed in an injury ridden season.
He first suffered an ankle injury and was then sidelined because of his achilles tendon. The injuries cost him time during the heart of the Essex County Tournament and the sectional quarterfinlas.
O'Sullivan returned to practice for Montclair on Monday and entered the game midway through the first half, but his chance to shine did not come until the second.
After being taken down in the box in the 51st minute, O'Sullivan, who hadn't converted a PK all season, was called to the penalty kick line by Montclair coach Toure Weaver.
O'Sullivan beat West Orange goalkeeper Paul Schuler, who made eight saves, with a kick just inside the right post to give Montclair a 1-0 lead.
"I haven't had a good record with taking PKs, but on this one I felt confident," O'Sullivan said. "I just stepped up and put it in. Coach Weaver always has great trust in me. He always makes me stay around after practice to work on PKs. I thought I was going to be out for longer (because of the injuries). I'm just so happy I got a second chance to play this year."
The goal was all Montclair needed to break the game open and it extended its lead to 2-0 in the 70th minute when senior center back Gordon Glenn got his shoulder on a corner kick from junior midfielder Phillip Cubeddu to score.
The tally was Glenn's second of the year.
"I just remember the ball hitting off of my shoulder and then me screaming with joy," Glenn said. "I was just thinking about next game and everything. It was a great feeling."
Although Montclair dictated the pace of play with its offensive pressure, West Orange tested senior goalkeeper Rowan O'Brien with eight shots on goal.
O'Brien was up for the task and stopped all eight in his 10th shutout of the year.
"Rowan stepped up big time," Glenn said. "He did everything that he needed to do to continue this journey. I love him for that...He's always solid, but today was a great performance by him."
Montclair will face the winner of Kearny/Fair Lawn in the North 1, Group 4 final Friday.