New faces lead Lions to Stevens Cup victory

The Lions’ men’s soccer team started its ’08 campaign by rolling past the Devils of Farleigh Dickinson University-Florham 3-0 and then defeating the University of Redlands Bulldogs 3-1 to claim the Stevens’ College Cup Tournament Championship.

The story of the tournament was walk-on senior forward Matt Junior. Junior tallied two goals in the season opener against FDU-Florham, his very first game for the College.

“To score one goal in my first college game would have been more than most expected,” Junior said. “So to score two was really a great feeling.”

Both of his goals were assisted by junior forward Kevin Luber, and Junior’s first goal was also assisted by freshman midfielder Ed Kozic. Junior feels the team’s chemistry is developing quickly.

“The transition to the team has been very easy for me,” Junior said. “Usually it’s hard to join a team without knowing anybody, but we have a great group of guys and it didn’t take long for me to feel like I had been playing with them for years.”

Senior forward Chris Nelan notched the first score of the game against FDU-Florham. The goal proved to be the game-winner for the Lions and was the first game-winner of Nelan’s career.

In what seemed to be a complete offensive mismatch, the Lions recorded 33 shots on goal while the Devils only managed one.

On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore goalkeeper Eric Goldwaser picked up his first career win in his debut as a starter as he saved the only shot on goal in his 84:50 minutes of work. Goldwaser combined with sophomore goalkeeper Chris Kulick to complete the shutout victory and advance to the final against the Bulldogs.

The College then tackled the University of Redlands 3-1 to claim the tournament title. The Bulldogs became the first opponent to score on the Lions the entire weekend, but a flurry of offense led by Luber quickly ended the Bulldogs’ hopes of an upset.

Luber was the first Lion to score with his goal off a penalty kick at 36:42. Then, Nelan added his second gamewinner in as many days when he scored the go-ahead goal just three minutes later.

Nelan’s goal was assisted by sophomore defenseman Phill Cunha, who also added the third and final goal to ice the victory for the Lions.

“I thought the team played pretty well,” Junior said. “After we were able to get rid of some of the first game jitters, we were able to do what we went out there to do, and that was win.”

The Lions’ next game is scheduled to take place tonight in Madison, N.J., as they travel north to take on the Rangers of Drew University. Start time for the game is 7 p.m. The Lions will play host twice over the weekend, facing SUNY-Cobleskill on Saturday and the College of Mount Saint Vincent on Sunday. Both games will be held at 3 p.m. in Lions’ Stadium.