Lions pull past Profs in overtime victory

Sophomore midfielder Tyler Cignarella tries to stop the ball and a Prof. (Tom O’Dell / Photo Editor)

The men’s soccer team ended their regular season with an overtime thriller over Rowan University on Oct. 26. senior defender Mike Razzoli found the back of the net with a stunning goal just 14 seconds from the end of game, closing out Senior Night with a rush of wild celebration.

“An overwhelming emotion came out after the goal,” Razzoli commented. “With Senior Night, being in first place and playing for the best NJAC record, it all meant so much.”

While their NJAC fate had already been decided before the kickoff, their 2-1 victory cemented their first place standing as well as a first round bye and home field advantage. Plus, their 7-1-1 record is the College’s best finish in the conference ever.

Rowan University went ahead early. They took a 1-0 lead 16 minutes into the first half after sophomore Ryan Gordon beat senior goalkeeper Chris Kulick. Gordon put in a rebound after Kulick stopped freshman Nick Bolton’s initial shot on goal. But a red card from Rowan gave the Lions momentum in the second half. Sophomore Tyler Cignarella scored his first collegiate goal 20 minutes from the restart, finding the back of the net after senior Phil Cunha ripped a shot off the crossbar. The team kept the pressure going but saves from senior Charlie Cunliffe kept the Profs gasping for air until Razzoli’s game-winning goal.

The match was familiar to the team, as the last time Rowan and the Lions faced each other in overtime was their semifinal showdown in the 2009 NJAC Championships. Rowan won by the same exact 2-1 score line to advance.

“I remember Mike’s face when we lost to Stevens last year in overtime,” junior forward Chris Pisano commented. “He was furious, the same as when we lost to Rowan to end our season. So to see his face, on senior night … it was incredible. I’m so glad Mike and Phil were able to contribute on their night.”

Three other seniors were recognized alongside co-captains Razzoli and Cunha. Goalkeepers Chris Kulick and Eric Goldwaser as well as forward Drew Lampitt were honored for being on the team since their freshman year.

“This team is about the group, everybody that puts the jersey on takes pride in what we represent,” Cunha said. “On and off the field we are working for a championship as a unit, one game at a time.”

“I just want to thank the team for a great year,” Razzoli adds. “This is the closest team we have had in four years and it means a lot on and off the field. But we are going for it all. It doesn’t end here.”

The Lions’ play for the semifinals on Nov. 2 against Montclair State University at 7:30 p.m. at Lions’ Stadium.