JERSEY CITY — Sophomore midfielder GABRIEL AVANS (Roselle Park, NJ/Union Catholic) punched in the rebound of a shot by sophomore forward J.P. ROSERO (Jersey City, NJ/St. Benedict’s Prep) on a 3-on-0 breakaway in the 60th minute and New Jersey City University’s defense did the rest, limiting Rowan University to four shots on goal as the Gothic Knights defeated Rowan for the fifth time in six meetings since 2006, prevailing 2-1, in a New Jersey Athletic Conference men’s soccer game on Saturday, at the Robert L. McNulty Memorial Soccer Field.
NJCU (3-5-0, 1-2-0 NJAC), which had dropped its last five games against opponents with a current record of 25-9-3, scored multiple goals in a game for the first time since a 2-0 win over Randolph College on September 4. NJCU outshot Rowan, 15-12.
Rowan falls to 3-5-2 overall and 0-3 in the league. The Profs, NJAC finalists last season, have also not scored multiple goals since September 4 and have notched just three in the last 730:19 of action. Rowan leads the all-time series, 33-15-4.
Avans and sophomore forward NANA KOFI KUSI (Jersey City, NJ/Kumasi Academy (Ghana)) each netted their team-leading third goals of the season while Rosero and junior midfielder OLUWOLE SEYDOU (Willingboro, NJ/Burlington County Institute of Technology) contributed assists.
Rowan’s lone goal was collected by sophomore defender Jon Hampton (Galloway, NJ/Absegami)—his first of the season.
Freshman goalkeeper ZAKARY AZMI (New Milford, NJ/Emerson) made three saves to earn his first collegiate victory, and patrolled the box well, eliminating several dangerous crosses. Rowan senior Charlie Cunliffe (Lakewood, NJ/Lakewood), the 2009 NJAC Goalkeeper of the Year, made seven saves.
“Getting this first win with a young team is extremely important and will build our confidence,” noted second-year head coach NANSHA KALONJI, on his team being 1-2 in the league, rather than 0-3. “This demonstrated to the young players why it’s important that they buy into our system and how important it is to work together as a team while you’re in the game. That paid off for us today and once we start playing harder we should be alright.”
Rowan outshot NJCU in the first half, 8-5, but the Knights struck first. At 10:32, Seydou slid a thru ball from the middle of the field, 30 yards away from net to a sprinting Kofi Kusi, who scored on a breakaway in the box for a 1-0 lead.
Rowan evened the game just 1:15 later. After sophomore forward Julian Berrios (Lakewood, NJ/Calvery Academy) took a corner kick from the right side, an NJCU defender got a head on the ball, attempting to clear it. However, the loose ball trickled through the box and Hampton, unmarked on the left post, tapped in the tying shot. The game was knotted at the half.
NJCU pressured the Profs defense in the second period, owning a 10-4 shots advantage, and netted the eventual winning goal early in the 60th minute. Rosero won the ball from the Rowan stopper at midfield, and side-stepped the sweeper, unleashing a 3-on-0 breakaway with three NJCU forwards charging towards Cunliffe. Rosero took the initial shot, which was deflected by a sliding Cunliffe, but Avans immediately tucked in the rebound at 59:18 for a 2-1 margin.
The Knights had a chance to make it a two-goal lead at 71:22 as Kofi Kusi and junior forward ALEX CERON (Belleville, NJ/Belleville) headed into the box on a 2-on-1. Kofi Kusi’s thru ball left Ceron alone against Cunliffe, but he was not able to get enough on the shot and the Prof senior made the save. Ceron also was thwarted on a sliding kick in the 26th minute.
The NJCU defense, led by a pair of freshmen, stopper MOSTAFA IBRAHIM (Cairo, Egypt/Elharam (Cairo, Egypt) and sweeper KEVIN SCRIVANICH (Flanders, NJ/Mount Olive), did the rest, allowing just one shot on goal in the second half. Freshman defender KEVIN DOS SANTOS (Newark, NJ/St. Benedict’s Prep) and junior JEFFREY GLASHAN (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) each aided the defensive effort.
“In our losses, the midfielders were not coming back [defensively] and that exposed our defense,” Kalonji explained. “Today, we addressed that at halftime and you could see the difference in the second half. We needed Kevin [Scrivanich] and Moose [Ibrahim] to play solid today and with the exception of the one blunder on the corner kick, they did, and Kevin [dos Santos]played well also. Jeff [Glashen] came in and gave us a solid effort. He did what we asked and he gave us good minutes .’
NJCU is back in action on Wednesday, September 29 at 7:30 p.m. when it visits Kean University in an NJAC game. Rowan is at Richard Stockton College in another league game that night at 8 p.m.
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