Big UCT day at Johnson Oct. 20; Field hockey final first, followed by girls’ soccer and then boys’ soccer semifinals

PHOTO BY STEVEN ELLMORE – The Union boys’ soccer team is sparked by senior striker Andre Vieira, the team’s leading goal scorer with 21 after Union’s 10-0-2 start.
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – The top-seeded Cranford girls’ soccer team – seeking its third UCT crown and first since 2009 – is lifted by the outstanding play of – from left – junior Maggie Murray, senior Kenzie Butler, freshman Riley Korzeneski and senior Lauren Williamson.
PHOTO BY STEVEN ELLMORE – The Westfield boys’ soccer team, UCT champions the past two years, is guided by former Union standout Eric Shaw.

This Saturday, Oct. 20 will be a busy day concerning Union County Tournaments at Johnson High School’s Nolan Field in Clark.
First at noon will be the field hockey final pitting Summit schools Kent Place, the third seed, vs. top-seeded Oak Knoll.
Oak Knoll has won the most titles, including the last eight. Oak Knoll beat Johnson again in the final last year after defeating Kent Place in the final the previous three years: 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The girls’ soccer semifinals follow, with fifth-seeded Summit vs. top-seeded Cranford at 2 p.m. and then third-seeded Scotch Plains vs. second-seeded Union at 4 p.m.
Scotch Plains and Westfield shared the championship last year, playing to a 1-1 tie. Scotch Plains has either won the title or shared it every year but one since 2005. The Raiders won it outright in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. They shared the crown with Westfield in 2006, 2012 and 2017.
Scotch Plains never won the crown until 2005.
Cranford has won the championship twice, beating three-time defending champion Union Catholic in the final in 2000 and four-time defending champion Scotch Plains in the final in 2009 at Johnson.
Union has never won the championship. The Farmers reached the final in 2014, falling to four-time defending champion Scotch Plains 1-0 in double overtime at Kean University.
Westfield has won the most titles with 20 (four of them shared), while Scotch Plains is next with 12 (three of them shared).
Cranford has won two, Oak Knoll two (one of them shared) and Gov. Livingston one.
The first boys’ semifinal pits fourth-seeded Union vs. top-seeded Elizabeth at 6 p.m., followed by third-seeded Westfield vs. second-seeded Scotch Plains at 8 p.m.
Union fell on hard times last year and did not win a match, finishing 0-16-2. The Farmers dropped down to the Union County Conference’s Mountain Division and as of Thursday, Oct. 18 sport a 10-0-2 record that includes a UCT quarterfinal victory over Watchung Division school Summit, the team Union was seeded just above.
Union is sparked by senior striker Andre Vieira, who has netted a team-high 21 goals to go along with two assists. Vieira had just one goal last year and two in 2016.
Elizabeth and Westfield shared the crown last year, battling to a 1-1 championship game deadlock at Kean University.
Westfield, guided by former Union standout Eric Shaw, won the title outright in 2016 for the first time since 2010. Shaw, a 1993 Union graduate who went on to star collegiately at Seton Hall University, helped guide Union to the 1990 championship. A sophomore goalie, Shaw blanked Elizabeth 3-0 in the final. Union has won the title only one other time since – in 1999.
Scotch Plains has won the most crowns with 19 (one shared), while Westfield is second with 12 (two shared) and Pingry third with six (two shared).
Union has won the title four times, all under head coach Jim Jeskey, who was at the helm of the Farmers from 1961-2007. The Farmers won in 1967, 1978, 1990 and 1999.
Elizabeth won the championship outright in 2005 and 2008 before sharing it with Westfield last year.

UNION COUNTY TOURNAMENTS:

BOYS’ SOCCER:

Semifinals

Saturday, Oct. 20

at Johnson High School

4-Union vs. 1-Elizabeth, 6 p.m.
3-Westfield vs. 2-Scotch Plains, 8 p.m.

* * *

GIRLS’ SOCCER:

Semifinals

Saturday, Oct. 20

at Johnson High School

5-Summit vs. 1-Cranford, 2 p.m.
3-Scotch Plains vs. 2-Union, 4 p.m.

* * *

FIELD HOCKEY:

Final

Saturday, Oct. 20

at Johnson High School

3-Kent Place vs. 1-Oak Knoll, noon

– JR PARACHINI

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