CRESSKILL – Ray Cottiers vividly remembers the last time New Milford wrestled in the state sectional tournament. He was one of the Knights who took the mat that night.
Thirteen years later, he again had a front-row seat, this time as the coach, as the sixth-seeded Knights downed No. 3 Cresskill for the second time this season, 33-27, Monday in the first round of the North 1, Group 1 team tournament.
“It was a tremendous effort for such a young team,” Cottiers said of the Knights, who will face second-seeded Cedar Grove in the semifinals Wednesday. “With so many freshmen and sophomores, it would have been easy to be satisfied with just qualifying. But to go out on the road and win a match in the tournament is amazing.”
The Knights qualified as the sixth and final seed in the section, but already boasted an eight-point victory this season over the third-seeded Cougars. So Cottiers was prepared if Cresskill coach Nick Calandrino had changed his strategy from the first match.
“They juggled things around a little up top, but for the most part we got a majority of the same matches as we got last time,” Cottiers said.
“It was just a matter of our guys doing their job.”