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Boys' soccer: Washington Twp. wins Group 4 state title

By Phil Anastasia

Inquirer Staff Writer

UNION, N.J. -- All week, Ryan Logar kept the pressure off his left foot.

He was saving it for Sunday, and for the most remarkable goal of his soccer career.

All week, Logar made his way through the halls of Washington Township High School on crutches.

All week, Logar kept his badly sprained left ankle elevated and wrapped in ice, and told himself that he would be ready for the Group 4 state championship game.

His coach didn't believe it.

"I didn't think he was going to play," Washington Township coach Shane Snyder said, moments before his players dumped a cooler of ice-water on him in celebration of the Minutemen's 1-0 victory over West Orange. "You should see the size of his ankle."

Logar did more than play in his final game at Kean University.

The latest star in one of South Jersey's most famous soccer families scored the game's only goal -- with his left foot, naturally -- as Washington Township captured its second straight state title.

"It's unbelievable," Logar said. "I don't even know how to describe it."

Washington Township (25-1-1) combined Logar's goal with some sensational defense to beat West Orange (21-2), which was ranked No. 2 in the state by and had spent part of the season in the top spot.

Seniors Marc Murgo, Will Connolly and Mike Roscioli were among the defenders who controlled the field in front of senior goalie Matt Tini, who made three saves in a strong and steady performance.

"It's just a 'want,'" Murgo said. "We wanted the ball a little bit more. We wanted that trophy a little bit more."

Washington Township was motivated all season by suggestions that the Minutemen would take a step back after losing one of the strongest classes in South Jersey boys' soccer history to graduation.

"I didn't think we'd win a state title this year," Snyder said. "Last year, I thought if we don't win a state title this year we're probably never going to win one.

"But this team kept getting better and better during the season."

Washington Township has fashioned one of the best three-year runs in South Jersey soccer history, going a combined 76-3-1 with two Group 4 state titles.

The 2013 team went 25-1.

The 2014 team went 26-1.

The 2015 team went 25-1-1.

Washington Township's lone loss this season was to Rancocas Valley in the finals of the South Jersey Soccer Coaches Association tournament.

The Minutemen beat the Red Devils in a rematch on their way to the South Jersey Group 4 title, then stunned Central Jersey power Freehold Township Tuesay night in the state semifinals.

Logar went down late in that game with an ankle injury. He already had been nursing a sore knee.

"He's so darned tough," Snyder said. "We tried to run him (Saturday) and he couldn't run. But he got up here and I think adrenalin carried him through."

Said Logar: "I was hoping to get on the field for a couple minutes and I ended up playing the whole game."

Logar credited the training staff at Washington Township.

"They turned a two-week injury into a four-day injury," Logar said.

On the game's only goal, Logar got a touch after Washington Township senior Travis Yates served the ball into the box on a corner.

"It was on my left foot so I said I'm going to have to use my bum ankle," Logar said.

His shot found the right corner of the net in the 22 minute.

It stood up for another 58 minutes -- and it likely will last forever in Washington Township soccer lore.

"He's such a tough guy," Murgo said of Logar. "I look up to him because he's so tough. I had faith he was going to come up big for us."

West Orange 0 0 -- 0

Washington Township 1 0 -- 1

Goals: WT-Ryan Logar.

Saves: WO-Diego Pedrido, 4. WT-Matt Tini, 3.

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