History In The Making


Jake Bellmer

5-11 was the Pascack Hills Boys’ Soccer Team’s record in 2014. 14-4-1 is the Pascack Hills Boys’ Soccer Team record in 2015. It’s crazy what a year can do to a team. In 2014, the Cowboys’ were not relevant in the Big North Patriot Division, but in 2015 they finished second in their division behind Ramsey. A year after players such as, midfielder Alex Webber and forward and top goal scorer Jake Puleo graduated, the Cowboys would need to come together as a team. This season for the boys soccer team has been thrilling, jaw dropping, and historic. Lead by Head Coach James Soltmann, the Cowboys have opened the eyes of many. Senior and 2014 1st Team All League Middle-Forward, T.J. Calderone along with Senior and 2014 2nd Team All League Goalkeeper, Evan Lazarus, have been the leaders on field. To Evan “Laz” Lazarus pumping up the crowd on Penalty Kicks to Calderone’s nifty footwork, these players have helped tremendously to this historic run.

Starting off the 2015 season, the Cowboys went on a 3-game win streak, shutting out 2 of the 3 teams they played. Their fourth game of the season was versus their biggest rival, the Ramsey Rams. Unfortunately the Rams won the game, but the Cowboys’ didn’t keep their head down. They would beat a very talented and previously undefeated Fort Lee team, 1-0 with senior Forward TJ Calderone scoring the only goal. They would also get their revenge on the Ramsey Rams. October 29th, the Rams came to Montvale looking to sweep the season series against Pascack Hills, but the Cowboys had other plans. Senior Midfielder Omar Maamoun had the game of his life finishing with a hat trick. Junior Midfielder Panos Logothetis finished with a goal of his own and two assists. Sophomore Chris Kim also scored a goal. The Cowboys defeated Ramsey, 5-2, in the last game before the playoffs.

Some of the big moments of the amazing season were Evan Lazarus’ 10 saves versus Mahwah, sweeping the season series versus Westwood and beating Cliffside Park behind T.J. Calderone’s solid game. Some players that brought a feisty attitude field were Seniors Joe Henni, Chris Souflis and Stephano Gikas. I asked Kyle Piccirillo about the team’s key to success.

“Our ball movement is most important, but we have so many players with individual skill which gets us the win on the offensive end” the junior said.

He also added “We have Laz in the net to back us up.” Laz finished the season with seven shutouts.

The Cowboys finished the regular season 11-4-1, second in the Big North Patriot Division. They secured the 2nd seed in the North 1 Group 2 State Tournament. Hills was clicking going 5-0-1 in their final six games.

The Cowboys played 15 seed Lakeland in the First Round. Kyle Piccirillo would step-up to score the games first goal. Down 1-0 in the second half, Lakeland climbed back in off of Lakeland’s Matt Pierce’s goal. They needed to score to avoid the dreaded overtime and PK’s. In overtime, both teams didn’t want their seasons to end, but only one team can win. Both teams would have to wait to see who wins because the game would eventually go to double-overtime. In the 92nd minute, Hills’ leader, T.J. Calderone ripped the ball into the net, winning the game for the Cowboys. Evan Lazarus finished with 8 saves. Pascack Hills will then move on to play the 7 seeded Mahwah Thunderbirds.

In the Quarterfinal Round, both teams wouldn’t score in regulation and overtime. The two teams had to win the game with penalty kicks. In the first round of penalty kicks, both teams scored 4 teams each, meaning there would be another round of PKs. Senior Mike Bartel would end it. Bartel shot a low line drive into the bottom right corner past Mahwah’s Goalie. The Cowboys attacked Bartel and celebrated as they were moving on in their quest of a North 1 Group 2 State Championship with a 5-4 victory. The next game would be against 3rd seeded Newton.

The Semifinals, a round no one thought Hills’ could get to, but the players did and they were hungry for more. Facing off against Newton, the game was a hard fought battle. Lazarus had eight saves for the Cowboys and keeper Tanner Euston had seven for Newton. The only difference between the two Goalies is that Euston let up a goal. Sophomore Chris Kim assisted on the lone goal of the game by Junior Panos Logothetis in the second half.

Pascack Hills’ is now advancing to the North Jersey Section 1 Group 2 State Championship game. Their opponent: rival Ramsey. The game is Friday, November 13th at 2:00 pm in Ramsey.