JERSEY CITY—New Jersey City University took leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but Kean tied the game just 58 seconds before halftime and neither team scored again as the Gothic Knights and Cougars tied, 2-2, in a New Jersey Athletic Conference game on Wednesday afternoon at the Robert L. McNulty Memorial Soccer Field.
NJCU’s record is 5-2-2 (0-1-1 NJAC) on the year while Kean sits at 4-3-2 (0-1-1 NJAC). It was the fourth overtime contest of the year for Kean and the third which reached two extra sessions. Kean leads the all-time series, 31-17-3. Since 2001, NJCU is 6-1-2 against the Cougars. Kean outshot NJCU, 19-14.
NJCU’s goals were scored by sophomore striker WALTER AVANS (Roselle Park, NJ/Union Catholic)—his 10th of the season—and junior defender LESTER OMBWAYO (North Brunswick, NJ/North Brunswick). Senior midfielder AWAL AHMED (Elizabeth, NJ/Linden) added one assist.
Kean received tallies from freshman defender/midfielder Guilherme Argollo (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil/Escola Americana) and junior midfielder Adam Bajek (Clifton, NJ/Clifton) with one assist by sophomore midfielder Dennis Correia (Elizabeth, NJ/Elizabeth).
Sophomore goalie MANNY LOJO (Clark, NJ/Union Catholic) made three saves, before being injured on a scramble in the goalmouth at 85:12 of the second half, on what could have been a go-ahead goal for Kean. Lojo left at the 86:27 mark and junior keeper JUSTIN GRANT (Montclair, NJ/Montclair) played the final 23:33 without facing a shot on goal.
Kean junior keeper Alfredo Oquendo (North Plainfield, NJ/North Plainfield) stopped three shots in 110 minutes, including an important diving stop at 13:40 of the first half.
NJCU jumped ahead almost immediately as Avans scored his 10th goal of the year at 1:26 of the opening period. Ahmed made a terrific play on the right endline to keep the ball in play, dribbled onto the right wing, and centered a pass to Avans, who buried the feed inside the right post. It was Ahmed’s third assist of the year. NJCU nearly took a 2-0 lead at 2:16, but Ahmed’s close range shot from less than 10 feet sailed high.
Kean would tie it just over six minutes later. After NJCU failed to clear a corner kick, Argollo swiped the ball from a defender near the top of the box, and knocked a short shot into the left of the net for his second goal of the season. Avans hit the crossbar on a shot from in the box at 25:56.
NJCU regained a 2-1 lead at 24:32 as Ombwayo gathered a loose ball in the box and drilled a one-timer into the left of the net.
While NJCU outshot the Cougars 12-5 in the first half, Kean controlled the offensive tempo in the final 65 minutes of the second half and the two overtime periods. Kean outshot NJCU 14-2 during that span, and had a 16-2 edge in shots from the 26th minute until the game’s conclusion.
Kean had two solid chances in the final 10 minutes of regulation. Argollo struck a ball off the left post at 80:29 before Lojo could smother it.
Lojo also made a key save at 85:06 on a point-blank shot by freshman defender Igor Maciel-Martins (Curitiba, Brazil/Colegio Nossa Senhora Assuncao) before another shot in the goalmouth by sophomore midfielder Erick Solis (Summit, NJ/Summit) was blocked.
Lojo was injured on the play. That was the final notable scoring opportunity for either school and Kean had all three shots in the two overtime periods.
NJCU is back in action on Saturday, September 26 at 7 p.m. when it faces Rutgers-Newark in an NJAC game at Alumni Field in Newark, NJ. Kean hosts Rutgers University-Camden that day at 1 p.m.
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