GWYNEDD VALLEY, Pa.- Junior forward ALEX CERON (Belleville, NJ/Belleville) scored two unassisted first half goals and junior goalkeeper MANNY LOJO (Clark, NJ/Union Catholic) made nine saves to notch his second shutout of the season in as many starts as the New Jersey City University men’s soccer team blanked Gwynedd-Mercy College, 2-0, in a non-conference game on Wednesday afternoon.
NJCU wins its second straight game, improving to 5-7 overall, in the first-ever meeting with Gwynedd-Mercy (2-10). NJCU outshot the Griffins, 27-18, including 15-3 in the first period.
With the win, NJCU improved to 7-1 all-time against current members of the Colonial States Athletic Conference.
Lojo made eight of his nine saves in the second half when the Griffins had a 15-12 edge in shots and held a 6-2 margin in corner kicks (7-3 for the game). He ran his personal scoreless streak to 186:04.
GMC sophomore keeper John Furphy (Philadelphia, PA/Cardinal Dougherty) stopped 10 shots—including seven in the first half—and the Griffins also had a team defensive save.
Ceron, a tri-captain who had been limited to just 301 minutes and four starts this season and did not play in NJCU’s win over Lehman College on October 4 with an injury, was a game-time decision and did not start, before entering the game at the 19:46 mark of the opening half.
Less than seven minutes later, the substitution paid dividends. At 26:20, Ceron, who had not scored this season, uncorked a shot from outside the box which was initially slowed down by Furphy, before the momentum of the blast carried the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Less than two minutes before the half, Ceron added a second marker and an important insurance goal as he buried a 20-yard free kick at 43:23.
Ceron finished with three shots (two on goal) in 45 minutes. Junior midfielder DIEGO PORTILLO (Bayonne, NJ/Bayonne) had four shots—all on goal—while junior forward WALTER AVANS (Roselle Park, NJ/Union Catholic) and sophomore forward NANA KOFI KUSI (Jersey City, NJ/Kumasi Academy (Ghana)) each had four shots.
NJCU nearly extended the lead at 52:36 of the second half when junior midfielder TOM KRYCHKOWSKI (North Arlington, NJ/North Arlington) hit the crossbar. At 78:38, Avans headed a shot towards the target that was cleared with a team save.
Six GMC players had multiple shots, but were unable to beat Lojo, who preserved the shutout, as NJCU won its first road game of the season in four tries.
NJCU will return to action on Saturday, October 9 at 1 p.m. when it hosts Rutgers-Newark in a New Jersey Athletic Conference game at the Robert L. McNulty Memorial Soccer Field.
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