CAMDEN—New Jersey City University crossed two more items off its New Jersey Athletic Conference to-do list, as sophomore midfielder KATLIN VARGO (Edison, NJ/Union Catholic) netted her 12th goal of the year on a free kick in the 62nd minute, and the Gothic Knights outshot the host Scarlet Raptors, 19-6, en route to a 1-0 victory over Rutgers University-Camden in an NJAC contest on Saturday at Rutgers-Camden Community Park.
NJCU set a single-season school record for conference victories, while posting an NJAC shutout and winning a league road game for the first time in program history.
NJCU extends its single-season program record for victories, improving to 12-7 overall and 3-5 in the NJAC, winning for the second straight outing via shutout and the fifth time in its last six games.
After going 15 years without a conference victory, the story of the 2009 women’s soccer team has become even more dramatic. With one game remaining in the regular season, the Knights have pulled into sixth place in the NJAC standings and can lock up the first NJAC Tournament berth in school history with a win at Montclair State University on October 28 at 3 p.m.
The Knights had been 0-58-1 all-time in NJAC road games before the victory, and posted the first NJAC shutout in its 120th league game. Rutgers-Camden falls to 7-10-1 (2-5-1 NJAC) and sees its three-game winning streak snapped while being eliminated from NJAC Tournament contention. It was the third consecutive year that the result of an NJCU/Camden game was 1-0.
NJCU also extends its consecutive minutes shutout streak to 208:21. It’s the second longest streak in program history; the Knights achieved a 268:30 string in 1995.
Junior keeper KELLY REILLY (Pennsville, NJ/Pennsville Memorial) made two saves to extend her program record for career shutouts to 13 while improving to 27-27 in three years. It was the 40th shutout in program history.
The game was played under rainy and windy conditions for much of the afternoon and there was a 25-minute lightning delay with 31:38 remaining in the second half.
NJCU outshot the Raptors 9-3 in the first half and 10-3 in the second period, but Camden played solid defense against the top-scoring offense in Division III (74 goals in 19 games) as rookie keeper Elizabeth Malony (Haddonfield, NJ/Haddonfield Memorial) made six saves and the hosts had one team stop.
The 25-minute delay did not hurt the Knights momentum, as they continued to dominate possession and just 3:22 after the restart, NJCU would capitalize on a Camden foul, scoring the only goal of the game. Vargo ripped a free kick from the left wing that was unstoppable, hitting the inside far post in the upper corner, before settling in the back of the net for her first career game-winning goal.
After matching a single-game school record with 16 shots on Wednesday in an 11-0 win over the College of Staten Island, Vargo uncorked eight shots in this contest, including three on goal.
Freshman forward ASHLEY CUNHA (Edison, NJ/Edison), a three-time NJAC Rookie of the Week pick, who entered with 18 goals, had four shots, and narrowly missed a golden opportunity while wide open in front of the net at 24:06 of the first half. Sophomore forward JULIA CASERES (Union, NJ/Union), the NCAA leader in goals (26) and points (64) and freshman defender CHELSEA SPETHMANN (Wood-Ridge, NJ/Wood-Ridge—Hasbrouck Heights) each posted three shots, with two on goal.
A terrific defensive effort by NJCU in front of Reilly allowed only six shots and two on goal, as senior JESSICA IRIZARRY (Perth Amboy, NJ/Perth Amboy), sophomores ERICA BUONACQUISTA (Aberdeen, NJ/Bayonne), NICOLE DeMOTT (Rochelle Park, NJ/Hackensack), and NICOLE SARICA (Linden, NJ/Linden), and rookies Chelsea and AMANDA SPETHMANN (Wood-Ridge, NJ/Wood-Ridge—Hasbrouck Heights) applied pressure and ball control while each playing a full 90 minutes.
Camden’s best scoring opportunity came with the Raptors pressing offensively in the final minute. Camden sophomore forward Samantha Sharp (Haddon Heights, NJ/Haddon Heights) was able to elude Reilly on a breakaway chance on the left wing with just over 30 seconds remaining but backside defensive pressure forced her to strike the shot high and after a corner kick by the hosts—the only one of the game as the visitors had a 6-1 edge in corners—NJCU was able to complete the shutout win.
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