Mendham boys soccer team faced a tall task when it faced unbeaten, Star-Ledger No. 2 ranked Ramapo High School in the Group III boys soccer semifinals on Wednesday night. Mendham, a true fairytale story in the postseason, had to have a little magic to keep the streak alive. Unfortunately for the Minutemen, that magical run came to an end, falling 5-0 according to NJ.com.1st 2nd FINAL Mendham (8-12-2) 0 0 0 Ramapo (21-0-1) 3 2 5
The Mendham boys soccer team might be the best story of the season. Coming into the playoffs with a 1-10-2 record and seeded 17th in North 2, Group III, the Minutemen did not have a spot in the 16 team postseason field. But a little magic came there way when Colonia chose not to participate in the playoffs and Mendham snuck in as the 16th seed.
“I knew my team was decent,” said first-year varsity coach Russ Ruffay. “Of our 10 losses, five had been by only one goal. Through it all, we stayed positive.”
The path they took was the hardest possible: the 16th seed started with the number one seed, Gov. Livingston, a 15-5-1 juggernaut. But they fell in overtime 3-2, and Cinderella moved on.
They followed that with a 2-0 shutout of 8th seed Plainfield and a 2-1 victory over 12th seed Morristown. And then they went to the bottom of the bracket for the sectional title against Parsippany Hills, another 15-5-3 powerhouse, their next opponent. On Nov. 19, Mendham would win its seventh of eight games and fifth straight with a 2-1 victory and the state sectional title.
Outside the tournament just 10 days before, Mendham was now the sectional champion.
“The response has been amazing,” said Raffay. “I’ve received a lot calls and emails of support and congratulations from former players, alumni and supporters since we started the run.”
And just to give Group III a warning for 2013, the Minutemen will return eight starters for next year’s team.