HomeCinnaminson NewsA season of ups and downs

A season of ups and downs

Despite the end result, the Pirates had consistency this year

Photo by Matt Digney
“Late in the season, we knew it was going to be tough,” senior Michael Pappas said of the Pirates playoff match with Delran.

Records only matter to those who care about them most, but most of the time, it’s not what your record is, but how well you play when the games matter most.

Coming into the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association South Jersey Group 2 playoffs, Cinnaminson boys soccer was the No. 4 seed, with a 9-9-1 record overall. The Pirates were riding a three-match losing streak going into the playoffs but that was thrown out the window as – for the fourth consecutive non-COVID season – they reached the sectional semifinals.

- Advertisement -

But as in three semifinals before, Cinnaminson was up against a juggernaut in Delran and endured a close 2-1 loss that left the Pirates empty-handed for the year.

“So many times, seasons are compared to the previous year or two years, but fortunately, we’ve had some really good teams here,” coach Matt Digney said. “This year, we had less wins, but I don’t really think it’s a reflection of how good or bad our team was …

“We wanted to try to beat the best teams out there, but sometimes it doesn’t always work out like that.”

While the Pirates (10-9-2) didn’t get the playoff result they sought, they kept pace with wins it accomplished recently. They are two years removed from winning the South Jersey Coaches’ Cup and a 19-win year, but it’s less about regular-season results and more about the post-season at this point.

Unfortunately, the post-season window – still wide open – had a major obstacle in its way, namely one of the best teams in Group 2 that happened to be in the same division in the Burlington County Scholastic League.

“Late in the season, we knew it was going to be tough,” senior Michael Pappas acknowledged. “Obviously, Delran every year is tough to play, so we were just preparing those final few weeks, mentally and physically, for that one specific game. Unfortunately, we came up short.”

Pappas was the leading goal producer for the Pirates; he scored a career-high 17 in his final high-school season, the first time he reached double figure goals in any season in his Cinnaminson career. His 19 goal contributions overall were second only to junior Noah Huber, who had 21 goal contributions and a team-high 13 assists on the season.

In talking with Pappas, the Cinnaminson team members knew they were going to have a crack at Delran again, and they possessed great confidence in once again making a deep run to the sectional semifinals.

“We just told ourselves that this could be the last year that we could have a chance,” Pappas related. “It’s hard to say that, because you don’t want to lose hope for the next year. But looking back on past years, we’ve always said, ‘This could be it.’

“It was everyone helping each other out, letting each other know that we need to get our business done.”

That final game was a wild one, with Cinnaminson junior Owen Digney scoring in the second half to cut the score to 2-1 and make things competitive. Junior goalkeeper Luke Rittler had one of the best games of his career despite allowing two goals. His 14 saves in net were a career high that helped keep the Pirates alive.

Digney, Rittler and Huber are among the players returning to Cinnaminson next season, a strong core that is likely to make yet another playoff run, one they will hope culminates in a sectional or state title.

“Looking forward, hopefully we have a little more luck, a little more success,” Digney noted. “… I’m comfortable and confident in what we have returning next year … We want to continue to be one of the best teams in South Jersey. Where that gets us, hopefully, that gets us to the end.”


Stay Connected

- Advertisment -

Current Issue