JERSEY CITY—New Jersey City University scored three second half goals to bounce back from a 1-0 halftime deficit, and won the title of its own tournament, the 2009 NJCU Liberty Cup, for the fourth time in five opportunities, as the Gothic Knights defeated New York City College of Technology, 3-1, on Sunday at the Robert L. McNulty Memorial Soccer Field.
NJCU improves to 5-1-1 with its fourth consecutive win and improves to 9-1 all-time in the Liberty Cup, the Knights’ signature soccer tournament. NJCU previously won the event championship in 2004, 2005 and 2006, before finishing third in 2007.
Sophomore striker WALTER AVANS (Roselle Park, NJ/Union Catholic) earned tournament Most Valuable Player accolades.
Senior midfielder AWAL AHMED (Elizabeth, NJ/Linden), freshmen midfielders GABRIEL AVANS (Roselle Park, NJ/Union Catholic) and JEFFERSON HURTADO (Totowa, NJ/Passaic Valley) and senior forward JILMAR PEREZ (Princeton, NJ/South Brunswick) each were voted to the All-Tournament Team.
NJCU was 2-0 in the tournament with a +12 goals differential. Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham (4-2), which defeated the College of Staten Island in the earlier game on Sunday, 6-0, finished second with a 2-0 record and a +9 differential. FDU is 4-0 all-time in the tournament. City Tech (0-5) was third while CSI (0-6) placed fourth.
Perez had two assists in the win over City Tech after posting three in a 9-0 rout of CSI on September 12. Sophomore forward ALEX CERON (Belleville, NJ/Belleville) had a game-tying goal in the second half and Ahmed put away the eventual game winner—both off of assists from Perez, before Gabriel Avans later contributed an insurance goal.
Junior keeper JUSTIN GRANT (Montclair, NJ/Montclair) played the second 45 minutes and earned the win, making two saves. Sophomore goalie MANNY LOJO (Clark, NJ/Union Catholic) made one first half stop. City Tech rookie keeper Nelson Restrepo (Queens, NY/Aviation) earned All-Tournament Team honors with 10 saves in the game.
City Tech gained a 1-0 halftime lead with a goal at 23:38 of the opening period, as sophomore defender Hugo Urgiles (Brooklyn, NY/Edward R. Murrow) found sophomore midfielder Rafael Jara (Queens, NY/Grover Cleveland) for his first score of the year. Jara also was voted to the All-Tournament Team.
At 46:31, Restrepo kept the Yellow Jackets in front when he stopped a penalty kick by Walter Avans, but the Knights would tie it just over three minutes later as Ceron netted his fourth goal of the season off a feed from Perez.
Ahmed’s fourth marker of the year at 67:02 put NJCU in front, 2-1, also off an assist from Perez. Gabriel Avans added an unassisted insurance goal—his fourth tally of the year—that made it a 3-1 lead at 75:35 of the second period.
NJCU outshot the Yellow Jackets, 24-9, including 15-4 in the second half, and had a 9-1 edge in corner kicks. NJCU, which was facing City Tech for the first time since 2000, is 3-0 all-time in the series.
The Knights will be off until Saturday, September 19 at 1 p.m. when they visit Richard Stockton College in Pomona, NJ in the first New Jersey Athletic Conference game of the season.
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