NEWARK—Rutgers-Newark scored a pair of header goals in the first 17:36 of the first half, including the eventual winner less than two minutes into the contest as the Scarlet Raiders downed the New Jersey City University men’s soccer team in a New Jersey Athletic Conference game on Saturday night at Alumni Field.
For the Scarlet Raiders, who had lost their last six conference games by just one goal, including a double-overtime, 1-0 setback to three-time defending NJAC champion Montclair State University on September 23, it was their first league win of the season as Newark improved to 5-3-2 and 1-2 in the league. With the loss, NJCU falls to 5-3-2 and 0-2-1 in the conference.
While NJCU leads the all-time series, 18-15-2, the loss snapped the Gothic Knights’ 11-game unbeaten streak in the series. The last time the Raiders defeated NJCU was a 3-2 setback on October 29, 1997.
Newark took a 1-0 lead just 1:54 into the game. A corner kick from the right endline into the box by junior forward Robert Campos (East Brunswick, NJ/East Brunswick) was headed in just under the crossbar by freshman midfielder Chris DeFalco (Manalapan, NJ/Manalapan), who tallied his first collegiate goal.
At 17:36, a former Gothic Knight put the Raiders in front, 2-0. Senior midfielder Tyler Chiara (Jamesburg, NJ/Monroe Township), who played for NJCU as a freshman in 2005, headed a shot over NJCU junior keeper JUSTIN GRANT (Montclair, NJ/Montclair), off a cross from the deep left wing, for his third goal of the year. Junior midfielder Estiven Benitez (Warren, NJ/Watchung Hills) received the assist on the cross.
From there it was a defensive battle for both schools. There were a combined 12 shots in the first half, with the Raiders owning an 8-4 edge in shots. Each team had nine second-half shots, and Newark had a 17-13 lead in the category for the game. Newark also had an 8-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Grant finished with three saves for NJCU, while Raiders’ junior keeper Matt Zielyk (West Orange, NJ/Seton Hall Prep) posted three stops for his third shutout of the year.
The conference win was the first for Newark head coach Kevin East, who coached at NJCU from 1998-2006, posting a career mark of 123-66-11, including 31 NJAC victories. Now in his third year with the Raiders, he had suffered through 18 NJAC losses—including 11 one goal losses—to begin his tenure in Newark.
It was also the Raiders’ first NJAC win since a 2-1 win over Kean University on October 23, 2004, ending a 37-game conference losing streak. Current NJCU head coach NANSHA KALONJI was the head coach of Rutgers-Newark for that victory—still the only one ever posted by the Raiders over the Cougars.
NJCU is back in action on Wednesday, September 30 at 4 p.m. when it hosts Ramapo College in an NJAC game at the Robert L. McNulty Memorial Soccer Field.
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