Eifert stands tall to lead Old Tappan to Bergen County final by Sean Farrell of The Record
FRANLKIN LAKES – From agony to ecstasy.
Colin Eifert felt it all during the six minutes that changed his season.
Redemption came right after missing a penalty kick.
His header tied the game. Then his clear helped JeeHo Yun win it.
Eifert set up two goals in 4:06 to lead NV/Old Tappan to a 3-2 comeback victory over Northern Highlands on Sunday in the Bergen County semifinal.
Yun buried the game-winner with just 48 seconds left as the Golden Knights advanced to the final for the first time since 2011.
“Nobody wants to miss a PK,” Eifert said. “But I think that helped me and motivated me to go and score that goal. I needed to redeem myself. I didn’t want to let the team down.”
Eifert is a leader for the Golden Knights.
At 6-foot-3, he is a physical presence for their defense and an occasional spark on offense.
He scored immediately after an early Highlander goal by deflecting the ball from his shoulder to the crossbar and in.
About an hour later, the senior got another chance to tie the game.
He stepped up for a penalty kick with 6:26 to go, down a goal.
Northern Highlands goalie Dominic Belz correctly guessed left, one of many brilliant saves on the day by both keepers.
But Eifert responded less than two minutes later.
The centerback stood by the front post for a Sam Kang corner, after being out of position for one earlier, and used his size to jump over the crowd for a header.
“Colin showed great character,” coach Mark Torrie said. “It was fantastic. We needed a man today. We needed a big boy. And he stepped up. I’m delighted for him and I’m delighted for the boys as well.”
“Colin is always able to lock the fast breaks down,” JeeHo Yun said. “He just saves us so many times, and especially this time more on the offensive end than the defensive end.”
The final goal of the game started with an innocuous play from Eifert.
Under pressure in his own end, Eifert booted the ball almost the length of the field, eventually bouncing off the Highlanders’ goalie for a corner kick.
Kang delivered another well-placed set piece, this time to Yun on the left side.
“All game long, it was Danny [Yun] and Sam [Kang] who were amazing dribblers with excellent pace,” JeeHo Yun said. “They just keep beating their man down the line. Danny had three or four shots that deflected off the goalie and went out of bounds. Coach Torrie was telling me that I have to be there far post when that happens. Those are the goals that will win us games, the scrappy goals. I just made sure to be there last minute. The ball bounced off the goalie’s hands and I just happened to be there.”
The Golden Knights face Ramapo next Saturday at Indian Hills in only their second appearance in the championship game.
“It’s the first time making it in my four years here,” said Eifert, a Bucknell commit. “It’s really exciting. The seniors on this team have been together since we were all in fourth grade. It’s a big moment for us and it’s great that we can get to the county final together.”