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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Hammonton ties Southern Regional

MANAHAWKIN—A strong defensive effort helped Hammonton High School’s boys soccer team earn a 0-0 tie on the road at Southern Regional last weekend, as the Blue Devils wrapped up a strong opening week of the 2023 season.

“We knew coming in today that these guys [Southern] are big, they’re physical, they’re always very good. So, we knew we had to be ready coming off the bus and we were,” Hammonton coach Steve Adirzone said.

Hammonton controlled much of the action in the first half on a hot, humid morning, moving the ball well but failing to convert on a few scoring chances.

Southern made a few adjustments at halftime, and it was the Rams who applied more offensive pressure in the second half.

Like Hammonton earlier in the game, Southern wasn’t able to make the most of its opportunities to put a goal on the scoreboard as the Rams were constantly frustrated by a tight Hammonton defense.

“They were pushing us in, they gave us a little formation that we had a wrinkle to it, so we adjusted at the half and again the guys were able to visualize the adjustments and they came out and executed and took away what they [Southern] were trying to do,” Adirzone said.

Following 80 minutes of regulation, the game moved into overtime where both teams failed to generate much offense on a day where they had to battle not only each other, but hot and humid conditions.

Adirzone rotated players in and out of the game constantly, using his entire roster in the game.

“Every single man, up and down our bench gave everything they had today, and it took every single man to give everything to keep that score at 0-0,” Adirzone said.

Goalie Luke Griscom made five saves in the game for Hammonton to earn the shutout, while Southern keeper Ryan Schweigart stopped four shots for the Rams.

The tie capped a week that also saw Hammonton win its season opener against Atlantic County Institute of Technology (ACIT).

The Blue Devils are hoping for a return to the Cape Atlantic League championship game this season. Hammonton has lost in the finals the last two seasons.

A positive result against a team like Southern, especially on the road in less than ideal conditions, should provide the Blue Devils something to build on early in the season.

“This is a huge result. Of course, you want to win every game, but taking this team 0-0 is a huge confidence-booster for our team,” Adirzone said.

Playing at ACIT on September 7, Hammonton scored twice in the first half on its way to a 5-1 win.

“They [ACIT] are a little down this season. They lost a lot of players from last year and they’re still working out some things, but it was a good win to start the season,” Adirzone said.

P.J. Hroncich, John Waddell, Matthew Smith, Marco Schiano and Jerry Bautista Galvez each scored goals for Hammonton, while Smith, Jaxon Miller and Christian Romeo had assists.

Griscom made three saves in the win.

Hammonton returns to action on September 13 when it hosts Triton at 4 p.m.


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