JERSEY CITY –New Jersey City University kept what appeared to be improbable post-season hopes alive, as the Gothic Knights jumped out to a 3-1 lead and received goals from four different players and upended Ramapo College in a convincing 4-2 New Jersey Athletic Conference men’s soccer victory on Monday afternoon at the Robert L. McNulty Memorial Soccer Field.
NJCU (6-10-1, 2-5-0 NJAC) wins its third consecutive game and after opening the NJAC schedule with an 0-5-0 record, suddenly find themselves in position to compete for the final seed in the 2011 NJAC Tournament, after beating The College of New Jersey, 5-1, on Saturday, and Ramapo (7-7-2, 1-5-1 NJAC).
With the loss, Ramapo was eliminated from NJAC Tournament contention as NJCU, with six points, leapfrogged the Roadrunners in the standings, and into seventh place—just two points shy of sixth-place Richard Stockton College with one game remaining in the regular season.
The 2011 season comes down to Wednesday night, Oct. 26. At 6 p.m. NJCU will face a stiff test when it travels to Camden to square off with #10/16 ranked Rutgers University-Camden; the Scarlet Raptors have already clinched the NJAC regular season championship with 19 points and a 6-0-1 record. Meanwhile, at 7 p.m. fourth-place Rutgers-Newark will host Stockton at 7 p.m. in Newark.
If NJCU can upset Rutgers-Camden, and Newark can defeat Stockton, the Knights will earn the final seed in the conference tournament with a historic late-season surge to its credit.
With the win, NJCU regained the lead in the all-time series, 18-17-5, and registered its first win over the Roadrunners since the 2007 season; the Knights had been 0-2-1 in the last three meetings. It was the final home game of the season and was a makeup of a rainout from Oct. 19. NJCU outshot Ramapo, 22-16 and scored on four of its five shots on goal.
Senior forward Walter Avans (Roselle Park /Union Catholic) scored his 12th goal of the season and 39th of his standout career. Freshman midfielder Andrew Lopes (Union) and junior Gabriel Avans (Roselle Park/Union Catholic) each scored in the first half for a 3-1 halftime lead.
Senior midfielder Tom Krychkowski (North Arlington) scored off a quick restart in the 76th minute—less than three minutes after Ramapo had cut the NJCU lead to 3-2—with a key mark that helped secure the win.
Freshman midfielder Marco Avella (Union), junior forward Amanfo Assibu (Bronx, N.Y./Sheepshead Bay) and junior midfielder Eduardo Tejada (North Arlington) all contributed assists.
Ramapo junior forward Rob Santaniello (Oakland/Ramapo), the reigning NJAC Offensive Player of the Year, was credited with 14th goal of the season off an oddly deflected corner kick in the 28th minute. Sophomore forward Kevin Carbone (Howell) made it a one-goal game in the 73rd minute off junior midfielder Jonathan Yazo (Cliffside Park)’s NJAC-leading 13th assist. Santaniello had a game-high eight shots, with four on goal.
NJCU rookie converted goalkeeper Daniel Sequeira (South River, NJ/South River), who earlier in the day was named the NJAC Rookie of the Week, improved to 3-0-0 in goal with five saves, including a pair of highlight-reel, back-to-back point-blank rejections of shots within 10 yards by Santaniello late in the 80th minute before Lopes made a team save on the left post on the second rebound at the end of the sequence.
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