The College’s men’s soccer team escaped Cary, N.C. with its unbeaten record in tact.
Competing at the Esprit Division III Tournament over the weekend before New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) play opens this week, the Lions nabbed a 2-1 comeback win over the University of the South on Sunday afternoon and tallied a 1-1 overtime tie against Greensboro College the day before.
They now stand at 3-0-1 on the season, but head coach George Nazario knows how little a good start can mean.
“It’s good and bad,” he said. “We had five games unbeaten last year (at the start).” The College then went on to finish 7-9-2.
NJAC play begins this week, though, and with it comes a heightened level of competition in which contenders are separated from pretenders. Nazario called it “the meat of our schedule.”
The Lions’ first conference game is on Friday at 1 p.m. when they host Montclair State University.
“We’ll find out what’s going on very shortly,” he said.
For now though, the Lions can revel in Sunday’s second-half comeback win over South. The College notched the victory on a game-winning goal from senior midfielder Matt Connor at the game’s 78-minute mark off a feed from junior defenseman Tim Dudek to break a 1-1 tie.
“They didn’t play too well in the second half,” Nazario said. “We knew what we had to do and we got it done.”
The Lions entered the second half trailing 1-0 but surged back to tie the score at the 65-minute mark on another goal from Connor, who scored all three Lions goals at the weekend tournament.
“He didn’t start the game because he was a little banged up,” Nazario said about Connor. “When we put him in, he took over.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Matt Kasperavicius took the win on three saves.
South broke through for its only goal on a score by junior David Scavone 23 minutes into the game.
On Saturday, the Lions reached their 1-1 tie with Greensboro after two scoreless 10-minute overtime periods.
The College netted a breakaway goal from Connor but Greensboro sophomore midfielder Robert Fricke scored at the 78-minute mark, which made the score 1-1 at the end of regulation.
“I was somewhat disappointed with the score at the end of regulation,” Nazario said. “I thought we had chances to take care of business but couldn’t get (a second goal).”
Senior Matt Brown denied five shots in goal for the Pride.
Connor now leads the Lions with four goals in as many games.
The College will host Stevens Institute of Technology in a non-conference game tonight at 7:30 p.m.