WAYNE—Sophomore striker WALTER AVANS (Roselle Park, NJ/Union Catholic) chalked up two goals in a span of 4:12 early in the second half to force a 2-2 tie before William Paterson University got the game-winner in the 75th minute and defeated New Jersey City University, 3-2, in a New Jersey Athletic Conference men’s soccer game on Wednesday night at Pioneer Soccer Park.
NJCU (6-7-2, 0-5-1 NJAC) suffers its third consecutive one-goal setback, largely because it was unable to capitalize on a 16-15 edge in shots on the evening. Overall, 13 of NJCU’s 16 shots were on goal. The Pioneers are 6-3-5 and 1-1-4 in the league. WPU leads the all-time series, 29-19-4, although the Gothic Knights are 6-3-1 against the Pioneers since 2000.
Freshman forward Naeem Boucher (Paterson, NJ/St. Benedict’s Prep) struck for the game-winner—his first career goal—at 74:45 of the second half after Avans, who collected his 13th and 14th goals of the year in the game, scored at 50:39 and 54:51 of the second session. Sophomore midfielder Dan Fulmer (Andover, NJ/Newton) contributed two assists for the hosts.
William Paterson built a 2-0 lead, including a 1-0 halftime margin after scoring at 19:57 of the opening period when senior midfielder Jonathan Donado (Wayne, NJ/Wayne Valley) knocked in a rebound of a free kick for his first score of the season. Just over four minutes into the second half, junior midfielder Steve DeMatteo (Piscataway, NJ/St. Joseph-Metuchen) flicked a shot over the goalkeeper off an assist by Fulmer at 49:16; it was his second goal of the year.
The Knights got on the board 1:23 later. Avans slipped an unassisted shot under WPU goalkeeper Dan Peragallo (North Brunswick, NJ/North Brunswick). Avans then tied it in the 55th minute, converting a corner kick by senior forward JILMAR PEREZ (Princeton, NJ/South Brunswick) into a goal on the right side of the target. The assist was Perez’ NJAC-leading ninth assist of the year while Avans cashed in on his third game-tying goal.
But Boucher connected on a pass from Fulmer and scored into the right upper 90 from the left side, breaking a 2-2 deadlock with 15:15 remaining in the contest.
NJCU had five chances to tie it. Avans had a solid shot at 76:40 before the Pioneers made a team save and Perez was thwarted by Peragallo 20 seconds later. The final chance came in the last 27 seconds. But senior midfielder AWAL AHMED (Elizabeth, NJ/Linden) had one shot blocked before Peragallo saved his header with 10 seconds left.
Peragallo made nine saves for the Pioneers, and was helped by team saves off the line by junior defenders Joe Strawman (Ringoes, NJ/ Hunterdon Central Regional) and Chris Belan (Howell, NJ/Freehold Twp.). Sophomore MANNY LOJO (Clark, NJ/Union Catholic) had three saves during 59:51 of time for NJCU, while junior JUSTIN GRANT (Montclair, NJ/Montclair) made two stops during the final 30:09 of action, but took the loss, allowing the final goal.
NJCU is back in action on Saturday, October 17 at 7 p.m. when it plays Rowan University under the lights in Glassboro, NJ.
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