NEWARK– Rookie midfielder ALEXIS FREES (Linden, NJ/Linden) rifled home a sliding shot with under five minutes remaining in the first half to give New Jersey City University a 1-0 lead but Rutgers-Newark rallied with three second-half goals, including two unassisted markers, as the Scarlet Raiders overcame NJCU, 3-1, in a New Jersey Athletic Conference contest on Wednesday night at Alumni Field. The Raiders outshot NJCU, 26-14, including 14-6 in the second half.
NJCU was unable to pick up critical points in the NJAC standings with three games remaining in the conference schedule and the Gothic Knights are now 9-5 overall and 2-4 in the NJAC. R-N improves to 5-7-3, 2-2-2 in the NJAC, and leads the all-time series, 10-1. It was NJCU’s first loss to a team with a sub .500 record this season and only the fourth time NJCU has been held to fewer than 15 total shots, including the third time in a loss.
Junior forward JULIA CASERES (Union, NJ/Union) netted the assist on NJCU’s only goal—her sixth of the season and 19th in two seasons as a Gothic Knight—and increased her all-time NJAC scoring record to 169 career points.
Junior goalkeeper LAURA ROBINSON (Edison, NJ/Edison) made six saves in the loss. Junior goalkeeper Kat Renteria (North Bergen, NJ/ Cliffside Park) made four saves for R-N.
Sophomore forward ASHLEY CUNHA (Edison, NJ/Edison) nearly put NJCU in front 12:28 into the opening half when she struck the left post from 25 yards out. NJCU had the first five shots of the game.
NJCU finally gained a 1-0 lead at the 40:29 mark. Caseres dribbled onto the right wing and sent a crisp cross into the middle of the box where Frees, sliding with her feet towards the right post, banged home a one-timer for her third goal of the season.
But the lead didn’t last long as a pair of mistakes allowed the Raiders to tie the game in the 48th minute, before taking the lead for good in the 73rd minute.
Just 2:53 into the second half, freshman Alex Nata (Middlesex, NJ/Immaculata) gathered a loose ball on the right side, 25 yards away from the goal, and angled a shot that found the left side of the net. Her third goal of the season tied it at 1-1.
The tie held up until the 72:36 mark when junior midfielder Liana Abreu (Newark, NJ/Science Park) tallied her ninth goal of the year. After a loose ball bounced into the box, Abreu beat Robinson and three defenders, and chipped the ball over the diving NJCU keeper. The shot slowly bounced into the open goal before it could be cleared.
Newark got an important insurance goal at 79:56 as senior midfielder Angela Neves (Hillside, NJ/Roselle Catholic) picked up a ball near the middle of the field, dribbled to the right side and fed a pass to sophomore Thalia Sanchez (Hackensack, NJ/Bergen County Tech) who netted her second goal of the year inside the right post from 10 yards away that also was nearly cleared off the line.
That goal proved to be important as NJCU pressed late. Renteria made a stellar diving save to thwart a point-blank shot by Caseres with just 13 seconds left.
NJCU will play an important home NJAC game on Saturday, October 16 at 1 p.m. when it meets Montclair State University at the Robert L. McNulty Memorial Soccer Field. NJCU has won eight straight and 15 of its last 17 games in Jersey City. At halftime of the game, NJCU will reveal the winner of the 2009-10 Robert L. McNulty Memorial Soccer Award.
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