Delbarton was looking for one goal. Instead it got four.
The Green Wave was in unfamiliar territory when they trailed Christian Brothers Academy by one score at halftime of the NJSIAA Non-Public A final on Sunday morning at Kean University in Union.
It was only the third time all season that Delbarton was behind in a game, and the second time it was down at the half.
"There was no need to panic,” sophomore forward Brendan McSorley said. "But it was also tough, because we knew they were a great team and knew they would sit back in the second half.”
Instead, McSorley supplied the equalizer just 1:23 into the closing half, and three more Delbarton goals followed.
The result was a 4-1 victory for the Green Wave that completed a 21-0-1 season for the No. 1 team in both the News 12 Varsity New Jersey power rankings and Tri-State Top 20.
Ethan Fabricant scored the go-ahead goal with 26:33 remaining, McSorley connected with 19:52 to play and Liam McSorley added the final piece of insurance with 6:27 left.
The triumph also brought Delbarton its 13th state championship, which trails only Chatham Borough (16) and Harrison (15) for most in state history. Five of those Green Wave titles have come since 2012.
Christian Brothers (20-3-1), ranked sixth in New Jersey and seventh in the Tri-State, took a 1-0 lead when Dominic Bellomo scored on a 20-yard volley into the upper left corner only 2:41 into the match.
Delbarton trailed Mendham at halftime of a game it won, 2-1, on Sept. 26, and was also briefly behind Montville during the opening half of a 3-1 victory on Oct. 11.
"We had faced it before,” Delbarton coach David Donovan said. "But this time we were in a final, and with 40 minutes left and after a sudden goal. CBA made it hard, and they made it challenging.”
Delbarton actually dominated the first half after conceding just its 10th goal of the season, but the Green Wave couldn’t crack Christian Brothers goalkeeper Shane Keenan, who came off his line to thwart a handful of deep set pieces into the box, and also made several saves, including a brilliant deflection of a close-range blast from Brendan McSorley in the 15th minute..
Brendan McSorley, who scored five of his team-high 13 goals in the four state tournament contests, had better luck early in the second half.
John Gerard had possession on the left side of the goal, and deftly touched the ball into the center, about six yards out. Brendan McSorley calmly settled the pass off his chest to his feet, and promptly finished for the 1-1 tie.
Three more goals followed.
"Something happened to change the game,” McSorley said. "Maybe it was that first goal.”
Donovan was impressed at the way McSorley handled the play.
"The composure he showed in the box was incredible,” Donovan said. "How many forwards will chest the ball, six yards from the goal, knowing that men were on him? And then he finished it.”
The coach was also impressed at how his seniors took over during the remainder of the game.
"That was a hard situation to be in,” he said of the deficit. "Even though they had been there before, It showed a lot of character and senior leadership.”
The go-ahead goal came after senior Will Stroud set up classmate Fabricant for his eighth goal. Stroud made a deep run down the right side and sent a cross toward the far post as he approached the end line. Fabricant was in perfect position to finish for the 2-1 advantage. Aside from giving Delbarton the lead, it also added more confidence going forward because the Green Wave had not allowed a second goal in any game all year.
"We had to start getting possession and get our feet underneath us so that we could start attacking them,” Fabricant said. "Once we got into the second half, we were able to calm things down, and that allowed us to finish.”
Delbarton made it 3-1 when Brendan McSorley struck again, before his senior brother added the last goal.
The loss was disappointing for Christian Brothers, but the Colts made to a third straight final despite graduating 10 starters from the team that beat Seton Hall Prep in the 2016 title matchup.
"We gave a few away, and then we had to chase the game,” Colts coach Tom Mulligan said. "We got the goal early and missed a few late ones. We had chances and opportunities, but it just wasn’t CBA’s day today.”