MONTCLAIR – Montclair State University junior midfielder Robert Sinicola (North Caldwell) scored a game-high five goals, including two goals in the decisive third quarter, to lead the Red Hawks to a 12-8 win over Kean University in the Skyline Conference Championship game on Saturday afternoon.
After the second-seeded Cougars (12-6) outscored top-seeded Montclair State 6-3 in the second quarter to take a 6-5 lead at halftime, the Red Hawks answered with all five third quarter goals, including two by tournament Most Valuable Player Sinicola, to retake the lead en-route to winning their second straight Skyline Championship and earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Cougars received two goals apiece from seniors Anthony Bertucci (Edison) and Scott Leathem (Fair Lawn) and sophomore Nick Angrisani (Belle Mead, N.J.), as they fall to Montclair State for the second straight year in the Skyline Championship game.
Montclair State quickly opened up a goal when freshman Sean Gilmore (Elmwood, N.J.) picked up the groundball on the opening faceoff and found Sinicola for the first goal just 11 seconds into the game.
After the Red Hawks extended the lead to 4-1 on Sinicola’s second goal of the game with 11:40 remaining in the second quarter, the Cougars scored five of the game’s next six goals to take a 6-5 lead at halftime
Senior C.J. Gannon (Morris Plains) opened the run with a goal with less than 10 minutes left in the quarter and Bertucci followed less than a minute later with an unassisted to goal to pull the Cougars to within 4-3.
The Red Hawks extended the lead back to two-goals following a score by sophomore Matthew Prongay (Edison), before unassisted goals by sophomore Justin Lappen (Tolland, Conn.) and Bertucci just 21 seconds apart tied the game at 5-5 with 3:43 remaining in the half.
Leathem scored with just seven seconds remaining in the half off the assist from sophomore Rob Child (Avon) for the 6-5 lead at the break, however that would be the Cougars only lead of the game as Montclair State scored all five third quarter goals to take the 10-6 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Sinicola tied the game 2:41 into the third quarter and junior Ryan Kloss (Flemington) scored the go-ahead goal 1:23 later, and the Red Hawks netted three more goals in the period to build their largest lead of the game at four goals.
The Cougars opened the fourth quarter with an unassisted goal by Angrisani with just under 12 minutes left in the goal, however sophomore attack Tyler Meth (Basking Ridge) extended the lead back to four goals for the Red Hawks midway through the quarter and the final two minutes saw Angrisani and Sinicola trade goals for the 12-8 final.
In goal for Kean, junior Greg Egan (Gibbsboro) and rookie Lane Zierten (Washington Twp.) combined for nine saves, while Montclair State goalkeeper Andrew Rosado (Elmwood Park) stopped seven shots.
The Cougars await the announcement of the Eastern College Athletic Conference Mid-Atlantic Region Championships on Monday, May 10.
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