By Miguel Gonzalez
The College’s men’s soccer team remains in contention for a postseason berth after defeating conference foe Kean University, 3-2, on Saturday, Oct. 22. Three days earlier, the Gettysburg College Bullets punctured the Lions, 2-1, in double overtime.
After a four-game home stretch, the Lions voyaged west to Gettysburg, Pa., to battle the Bullets for more than 100 minutes into double overtime.
The Gettysburg offense applied pressure to the Lions in the first half. In the 23rd minute, Bullets freshman midfielder Precious Ozoh knocked a shot off the crossbar. Seven minutes later, Bullets junior forward Patrick Santini sent a pass toward the penalty box and senior forward Henry Smith tapped in the pass for the first Bullets goal.
In the 51st minute, junior midfielder Peter Dresch launched a corner kick. In the midst, Freshman midfielder Sam Monaco ran to the left post and scored the equalizer. The Lions spent the rest of the second half pressuring the Bullets with 12 shots. Dresch nearly scored in the 77th minute when his shot landed on the crossbar.
Meanwhile, Lions freshman goalkeeper Alan Miller kept the net bulletproof with two saves. With both teams tied with one goal apiece, the Lions fought to the very end.
Bullets junior forward Michael Farese and Ozoh threatened the Lions defense with four shots in the first overtime period. Miller kept the score tied at 1 with another save. However, the Bullets overcame the Lions in the second overtime period and defeated the Lions, 2-1. In the 101st minute, Smith used a free kick to score the game-winning goal toward the left corner.
“It was something that I have never experienced before,” Miller said. “The competition is high due to the fact that the first goal wins the match (in overtime).”
On Saturday, the Lions traveled to Union, N.J., and spoiled the Kean University Cougars senior day festivities with a 3-2 victory in a crucial conference matchup. The Lions struck first in the 14th minute when freshman midfielder Michael Maltese sent a pass to senior forward Thomas Hogue, who scored with no Cougar defenders nearby.
Ten minutes later, the Cougars countered as senior forward Kenny Rocha shot toward Lions sophomore goalkeeper Dan Walsh and scored off a rebound. The Lions attempted to gain the lead late in the first half with two header shots.
In the second half, the Lions offense kicked into high gear with two goals while holding off the Cougars. At the 56th minute, Hogue took advantage of a clearing and launched a long, 25-yard shot for the second Lions goal.
Hogue contributed to the Lions offense again when he tapped a pass to senior midfielder Nick Costelloe, who blasted a shot to the upper corner of the net to give the Lions a 3-1 lead.
Cougars senior midfielder Robert Barrera scored on a rebound and cut the College’s lead to 3-2, but the Lions then defended their lead until the final whistle blew.
As a result of the conference victory, the Lions are now in fourth place in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) standings with 13 points. Kean University and Montclair State University are behind at the fifth and sixth places, respectively. Only the top six of the conference qualify for the postseason tournament.
On Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m., the Lions return home for a divisive matchup against their conference rival, the No. 10 nationally ranked Rowan University Profs. Possessing a dominant 14-1-1 record, the Lions will attempt to snatch an upset victory in Lions Stadium.
“The team is extremely confident that we will get a result, and we are excited for the chance to secure a home game for the NJAC tournament,” Costelloe said. “To beat Rowan, we will need to defend well, but the key will be to finish our chances early and avoid chasing the game.”