The men’s soccer team split its games with Rutgers University this week as it destroyed Rutgers University-Newark 4-0 and fell to Rutgers University-Camden 1-0.
“(Newark) was a must-win game for us and we knew that,” senior defender Tim Dudek said. “We came out and played hard, moved the ball around and came away with a victory. If we want to win the NJAC (New Jersey Athletic Conference) tournament this year again, we have to win those types of games.”
Junior midfielder Craig Langan got the ball to senior forward Mike Ferber’s feet as he connected with a shot to score the game-winner against the Scarlet Raiders.
“It was a good feeling because we knew it was a game we were very capable of winning, so scoring early took some of the pressure off of us,” Langan said. “(Scoring first) hasn’t been our strong point this year; we tend to score more in the second half.”
Minutes later, Dudek notched his fourth goal of the season off a pass from junior midfielder Joe McGinley at 23:15 to give the Lions a 2-0 lead. Dudek leads the team in points with 11 from four goals and three assists.
“This win gets us back on track,” Dudek said. “It’s a conference win, which is huge, and it should be the start of our team getting started in the right direction again.”
McGinley contributed again as he found Langan, who put the ball in the back of the net at 68:53. Junior defender Frank Fiorilli capped off the win with the final goal at 70:58, as he collected a head ball that ricocheted off Dudek’s head from a corner kick to give the Lions the 4-0 lead.
“It definitely wasn’t a crucial goal to the game, but it meant a lot to me because I don’t usually get opportunities in the game and to finish the one chance I got really made me happy,” Fiorilli said. “Plus, coach has always joked with me and said I would never score at the College, so I had to show him otherwise.”
Junior goalkeeper Matt Kasperavicius had three saves in the shutout and shared the win with junior goalkeeper Stephen Scutellaro, who had one save.
The Lions now have four shutouts on the season with an average of 1.45 goals allowed per game.
“(The win) gives us that starting momentum for the next few games which are all region games,” Fiorilli said. “If we are able to put together a solid winning streak of four or five games, we will be in good shape going into the NJAC tournament and hopefully the NCAA tournament.”
Rutgers-Newark sophomore goalkeeper Matthew Johnson was injured when he challenged a Lions forward for the ball. He made 10 saves before the injury. Freshman goalkeeper Max Dubane relieved him to make three saves while in net for 13:59.
Against the Scarlet Raptors of Rutgers-Camden, the Lions outshot the Raptors 14-10 but fell short when it came to finishing as they sufferred a 1-0 loss and fell to 3-5-1 overall and 1-3 in NJAC play.
The game was a rematch of last year’s NJAC Championship game that the Lions won, also with a score of 1-0.
The lone goal came from senior midfielder Michael Reed as he headed in a corner kick from junior midfielder Rob Gambino.
Despite the loss, the Lions remain confident as one of their goals becomes being to finish their scoring chances more often.
Langan believes the Lions can still repeat as NJAC champs. “There hasn’t been a team yet that we feel we couldn’t beat,” he said.
“It was our goal at the beginning of the season and it still is,” Fiorilli said. “A finish any lower than that will be looked upon as a disappointment in our season. A couple of losses in the beginning of our season isn’t going to take away from our goal.”
Next, the College travels to face off against Drew University tonight at 7 p.m. They will return home Sunday in a 1 p.m. matchup against Lincoln University.
“We definitely have the talent to repeat again,” Dudek said. “We just need to apply it to the upcoming games. When we play our best, only a few teams can hang with us.”