ORADELL— After disposing of Pascack Valley 3-1 on Monday night, the River Dell boys soccer team ascended to No.7 in The Record’s Top 25 poll.
“They wake up today and see the ranking—which they earned,” head coach Kevin Sabella said. “And they got all excited.
“Our heads were a bit inflated,” said senior fullback Chris Bascomb.
The Hawks followed up the impressive victory with a sub-par practice.
“Flat” was the word Sabella used to describe Tuesday night’s run through.
“We had probably one of our worst practices [Tuesday] and that starts from the top with me,” the coach added.
In Wednesday’s home matchup against rival Tenafly (2-4), the Hawks looked sluggish and were far from the top of their game.
“To be at the top,” Sabella said, “we’ve gotta practice and play hard.
“We didn’t do either of them [the past two days.]”
The lack of preparedness showed as the Tigers scored early and often, and blanked River Dell 5-0.
“We got what we deserved,” Sabella said.
Bascomb, one of four co-captains, weighed in: “Practice carries over into the game.”
The Hawks owned possession in the first half and routinely made their way into the attacking third, but it was Tenafly who made the best of their chances.
“They didn’t have too many opportunities,” Sabella said, “but they buried them.”
Tenafly got on the scoreboard with a strike from senior forward Ricardo Lopez, who went right side.
Senior midfielder Andrew Pertsov scored a spectacular back-heeled goal into the left side netting to make it 2-0.
Shortly before the half, Lopez made a headed effort towards goal, and Bascomb attempted to clear the danger, but the ball caromed off his foot and into the back of the net.
“Down 3-0,” Sabella said, “We had a decent first half, as crazy as that sounds.”
The coach noted that the team didn’t show the fight it had shown against its previous opponents (Bergenfield, PV and Indian Hills).
Senior back Jesse Kamil scored in the 44th minute, and Pertsov added a second tally, clanging a shot off the bar and in just eight minutes later.
“It wasn’t our day today,” Sabella said, “but I’m more concerned with the mental aspect.
“Again that falls on me and I’m going to take responsibility for that and correct it.”
River Dell (3-2) will face off against Ramsey on Friday.
“I’m hoping its just a little blip on the radar here,” Sabella said, “but we certainly need to tweak some things.”