The men’s soccer team (8-2-3) fought hard in a double overtime 2-1 loss to Messiah College (11-1-0) on Saturday and defeated Drew University 3-1 at home on Wednesday.
Saturday’s game was a tough battle with the Lions going blow-for-blow with the Falcons, the No. 2 team in men’s Division III play entering the game.
According to senior midfielder Joe McGinley, the grueling outing should prepare the Lions for the tough competition to come in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) tournament.
“If we get into the (NJAC) tournament, this was a good test for us today,” McGinley said.
The Falcons struck first off a turnover that went to senior midfielder Patrick Lenehan who threaded it to freshman midfielder Nick Thompson for the goal. The Lions came back on a penalty kick goal at 76:31 by sophomore forward Kevin Luber to tie the game at 1-1. It was Luber’s seventh goal of the year. Luber leads the College this season with 21 points, consisting of seven goals and seven assists.
It was a physical contest for the rest of the game, and frustrations mounted. At the end of the first overtime, both teams gathered on the field in what appeared to be some kind of altercation, but McGinley said it stemmed from nothing more than a “hard tackle in the box” and that “just words were exchanged.”
Lions’ senior goalkeeper Steve Scutellaro made 11 saves in the match.
“(Scutellaro has) kept us in games,” head coach George Nazario said. “There’s not much he could have done on either goal today.”
Senior forward Nicholas Kiel also commented on Scutellaro’s play, saying, “He’s been amazing for us. Neither goal was his fault. He’s made a lot of big saves for us the past few games.”
The same Falcon duo that scored the team’s first goal ended the event in the second overtime at 107:06. Lenehan strung a pass from the right side over to Thompson for the game-winner.
On Wednesday, the College beat Drew 3-1. Luber had a three-point day, with a goal and an assist, while senior defender Frank Fiorilli and senior midfielder Craig Langan had the other two goals. Scutellaro had another superior outing with 12 saves.
The Lions will face William Paterson University on Wednesday at 3 p.m. and Kean University on Saturday at 3 p.m. Both games will be played at the College.