Lions stumble in NJAC finals to Rowan Profs

By Miguel Gonzalez

Sports Editor

Clashing against each other at Glassboro, N.J., on Monday, Oct. 31, the Lions entered the second round of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Tournament after narrowly defeating the Stockton University Ospreys, 2-1, in the first round. Meanwhile, the Profs were waiting for their eventual opponent after posting a formidable 15-1-1 and gaining the second seed.

Despite the caliber difference, it took 84 minutes for the Profs to knock out the Lions, 1-0.

“We have a lot of respect for Rowan considering they are nationally ranked and haven’t dropped many points in the conference,” senior midfielder Nick Costelloe said before the game. “To beat Rowan, we will need to defend well, but the key will be to finish our chances early and avoid chasing the game.”

Senior defender Clayton Flon fights off the Profs. (Courtesy of Sports Information Desk)
Senior defender Clayton Flon fights off the Profs. (Courtesy of Sports Information Desk)

In the first half, both teams appeared equal. Costelloe landed the first shot that was saved by Profs sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Dennis. Eighteen minutes later, senior forward Thomas Hogue nearly scored before Dennis caught the shot.

The Lions closest opportunity came in the 27th minute when freshman midfielder Michael Maltese headed in a shot off a corner kick. For the third time, Dennis secured a save.

After halftime, the Profs came out on an offensive splurge as they recorded 10 shots. Sophomore goalkeeper Dan Walsh and the Lions defense held off the attacks to the end of regulation time.

In the 52nd minute, Walsh saved a shot from Prof’s sophomore forward Shane Doherty, who kept pressuring the Lions defense until he scored with six minutes remaining. Doherty landed a header shot and rebounded the game-winning goal against the Lions.

The Lions last chance came in the final minute. Senior forward Sean Etheridge’s shot swung to the left of the goal.

Ultimately, the Lions fell to the Profs, 1-0. The Profs went on to be upset by the fifth-seeded Montclair State University Red Hawks, 3-0. Finishing with a 9-9-2 record, the Lions have improved and competed in the NJAC Tournament for the first time since 2013.

Hogue was the College’s top scorer this season with nine goals, and sophomore midfielder Nick Sample contributed five assists. Meanwhile, freshman forward Mateo Panizza had a great debut season with six goals and two assists. On the defensive end, Walsh recorded 66 saves.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, the College Sports Information Directors of America named senior midfielder Matt Taylor and Costelloe as members of the NCAA III Academic All-District 2 First team. Additionally, senior midfielder Domenic Polidoro and Costelloe were selected on the NJAC First team. Hogue was also placed on the NJAC second team while Walsh received an honorable mention.

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