No. 6 Newark East Side defeats No. 1 Seton Hall Prep for first ECT title since 1978

Richard Greco | NJ Advance Media for | View the story online

Box Score
Newark East Side 4
Seton Hall Prep 0
[Montclair, NJ] Thirty-eight years passed since Newark East Side played for an Essex County Tournament championship and the Red Raiders weren’t going to let the opportunity slip away.

Behind goals from seniors Tiago Da Costa, Kevin Avila and Walter Hernandez, and junior Maicol Jumbo Pardo, second-seeded Newark East Side, No. 6 in the Top 20, defeated top-seeded Seton Hall Prep, the No. 1 in the state, 4-0, in the Essex County Tournament championship at Montclair State University on Sunday.

The title was East Side’s first since defeating Vailsburg in PKs 5-4 in 1978. The victory was also the first time that the Newark Public school defeated Seton Hall Prep since Jose Pereira took over the program six years ago.

“It’s been a long time coming and a lot of hard work,” Pereira said. “They believed and that’s what it comes down to. Often times kids from Newark get overlooked and they are just the same as everyone else. Their hard work and perseverance paid off in the biggest game of their young lives.”

Da Costa got the scoring started in the the 30th minute when he put a feed from junior Thiago Duarte just inside the near post to give East Side a 1-0 lead.

“It started with Tiago (Da Costa) making that run,” Pereira said. “He is not a right back he’s a midfielder, but as a captain he does what ever it takes to get there.”

East Side built on its momentum two minutes into the second half when Hernandez sent a cross past a diving Jumbo Pardo and onto the waiting head of Avila, who beat beat Seton Hall Prep keeper Liam Bertrand – four saves – to put the Red Raiders ahead 2-0.

“It’s a great thing. It’s a great experience,” Avila said. “I’ve never played in a game like this in my life. This is actually my first game that has been so intense. As being a captain, I wanted to take this title. My three years being on varsity, we made it to the semis, but we never made it this far. The boys worked so hard in practice. The boys worked so hard during the game. I told them before this game started, ‘Hey everyone give 110-percent.’ We did it and we’re champs.”

Hernandez and Jumbo Pardo provided insurance goals in the final 10 minutes. Hernandez put home a rebound following a shot from Jonatas Barbos Pereira in the 71st minute and Jumbo Pardo sent a strike inside the far post on a breakaway to increase East Side’s lead to four goals.

Eric Silva Lopes was East Side’s rock between the pipes and made eight saves to record his fifth shutout of the year.

In preseason we saw right away (how good we were),” Silva Lopes said. “We felt good, the way that we were playing. We played well. That’s all that matters.”