The Brearley boys’ soccer team, as it usually is based on the challenging schedule it has, was well equipped to attack North 2, Group 1 as the fifth seed.
Playing perhaps its best soccer of the season, Brearley outscored four sectional foes by an impressive 14-1 margin to capture the North 2, Group 1 title for the second time in three seasons.
That leaves Brearley just two wins shy of its second Group 1 state championship in three years and third in program history.
Justin Estremera scored twice and Darion Ferreira once to help lead the fifth-seeded Bears to a decisive 3-0 win at second-seeded North Arlington in last Friday afternoon’s sectional championship match.
Brearley goalkeeper Juan Martinez made two saves for his third playoff shutout.
Brearley, which improved to 11-7-1 with its fourth straight victory, will next face North 1 champion Waldwick Tuesday night at 7:30 in the Group 1 semifinal at Millburn.
Tuesday’s other semifinal pits Central champion South River vs. South champ Schalick at 7:30 p.m. at Haddonfield.
The final is scheduled to be played Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at Kean University’s Alumni Stadium in Union.
Following a 4-3 regular season loss to visiting Roselle Park in late October, Brearley began state tournament play with a 7-0 home win over 12th-seeded North Star Academy.
Jake Santos scored twice and Nick Minio, Sebastian Lopes, Walter Centeno and Justin Estremera once. Martinez made one save.
Brearley then faced Roselle Park again – this time on the road – in the quarterfinals. The Bears came away with a 2-0 triumph over the fourth-seeded Panthers, with Centeno and Justin Estremera scoring. Christian Estremera and Santos had assists, while Martinez made eight saves for his second straight playoff shutout.
Brearley then returned home to face eighth-seeded Glen Ridge in the semifinals. Glen Ridge upset top-seeded Dayton 1-0 in Springfield in quarterfinal round play.
Brearley defeated Glen Ridge 2-1 behind goals from Marc Cunha and Lopes. Martinez made six saves.
Brearley also won North 2, Group 1 in back-to-back seasons in 1989 and 1990. In 1989 Brearley lost in the Group 1 final to Bernards and then in 1990 the Bears shared the crown with Haddonfield.
Brearley’s second Group 1 state championship and first one outright was realized in 2013 when the Bears defeated New Egypt 3-0 in the championship game.
Tuesday’s Group 1 semifinals – Nov. 17
North 1 champ Waldwick vs. North 2 champ Brearley, 7:30 p.m.
Central champ South River vs. South champ Schalick, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday’s Group 1 final – Nov. 22
At Kean University
Semifinal winners, 5:30 p.m.
NORTH 2, GROUP 1 BOYS’ SOCCER FOR 2015
SEEDING: 1-Dayton. 2-North Arlington. 3-Secaucus. 4-Roselle Park.
5-Brearley. 6-Bloomfield Tech. 7-Becton. 8-Glen Ridge.
9-Belvidere. 10-Technology. 11-Roselle. 12-North Star Academy.
ROUND 1 (first round, Nov. 3)
Glen Ridge 2, Belvidere 1 – at Glen Ridge
Brearley 7, North Star Academy 0 – at Brearley
Roselle Park 5, Hoboken 2 – at Roselle Park
Bloomfield Tech 3, Roselle 2 – at Bloomfield Tech
Technology 4, Becton 2 – at Becton
ROUND 2 (quarterfinals, Nov. 6)
Glen Ridge 1, Dayton 0 – at Dayton
Brearley 2, Roselle Park 0 – at Roselle Park
Bloomfield Tech 2, Secaucus 1 – at Secaucus
North Arlington 6, Technology 0 – at North Arlington
ROUND 3 (semifinals, Nov. 10)
Brearley 2, Glen Ridge 1 – at Brearley
North Arlington 2, Bloomfield Tech 1 – at North Arlington
ROUND 4 (final, Nov. 13)
Brearley 3, North Arlington 0 – at North Arlington
BOYS’ SOCCER 2015:
18-Jimmy Luna Barraboza
MGR: Antonio Sacca
Head coach: Vincent McGowan
Assistants: Chris Moreno, LeAnne Dunn