UNION – William Paterson University scored twice in the final seven minutes of the game to defeat host Kean University in New Jersey Athletic Conference men’s soccer action on Wednesday evening.
Senior forward Julian Valerio assisted on both Pioneer goals, as the win in the regular season finale gives the Pioneers (13-3-2, 6-2-1 NJAC) the second seed in the upcoming NJAC tournament.
The Cougars (8-10-2, 4-5 NJAC) earn the sixth seed in the NJAC playoffs and now face third-seeded Ramapo College on Saturday, October 30 in the first round. Senior goalkeeper Alfredo Oquendo made seven saves for the Cougars.
Despite being outshot 10-4 in the first half, Kean took a 1-0 lead with less than 10 minutes remaining in the half. Junior Dennis Correia took a corner kick for the Cougars, that William Paterson goalkeeper Zach Collins tipped right to rookie Cortney Short in front of the goal for the 1-0 lead at halftime.
The score would remain that way until the final 10 minutes of the game when Valerio served the direct kick from 50 yards out to senior Matthew Heitmann, who tied the game at 1-1 with 6:59 remaining.
Less than five minutes later, Valerio sent a pass from right to left across the field that senior back Chris Belan lunged at to head past Oquendo for the game-winner with just 2:03 left on the clock.
The Pioneers held a 20-10 advantage in shots and 7-4 edge in corner kicks. Collins made two saves for William Paterson.
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