JERSEY CITY–Sophomore forward Raphael Araujo (North Plainfield) scored his third goal of the game and his seventh of the weekend in overtime yesterday to give the New Jersey City University men’s soccer their fifth Liberty Cup championship title.
Araujo scored 49 seconds into the second overtime period off a feed from sophomore midfielder Andrew Lopes (Union) as the Gothic Knights outlasted FDU-Florham, 3-2, in the final game of the NJCU Liberty Cup on Sunday afternoon at the Robert L. McNulty Memorial Soccer Field.
Araujo, who scored four goals in the opening round 5-2 win over Keystone College, netted his second career hat trick, and was the clear choice for tournament Most Valuable Player. Araujo has scored in all five games to start the season and his 11 total goals in that span have helped spark NJCU to a 4-1 record to open the tenure of first-year head coach Patrick Snyder.
“We couldn’t be prouder of the way they battled back twice,” Snyder noted. “They stuck with playing our way and it was good to see they stayed together. We have been preaching family and team and it showed today.”
NJCU is off to its best five-game record since 2006 when the Knights were 4-1, before eventually expanding that record to 13-1-1. The Knights outshot FDU, 30-12, including 5-0 in the two overtime periods. It was only the second meeting between NJCU and the Devils and the first-ever regular season contest.
NJCU twice had to come from behind after FDU struck in the 13th and 35th minutes before Araujo answered, tallying a pair of game-tying goals in the 15th and 45th minutes. Araujo had 11 shots in the game with seven on goal.
“It’s amazing. He’s just in a groove unlike any I’ve been around,” said Snyder of Araujo’s sensational start to the season. “Hopefully he can keep it going over the course of a season. This is an amazing pace, that’s for sure.”
Freshman center midfielder Alec Metsch (East Brunswick) added his second assist of the season on NJCU’s first goal before senior center midfielder Eduardo Tejada (North Arlington) and sophomore midfielder Manny Martis (Union) assisted on the second game-tying tally. The clubs went to the half deadlocked at 2-2.
Tejada, junior defender Mohamed Conteh (Trenton /West Windsor-Plainsboro North), freshman Christopher Segovia (North Bergen /Memorial) and sophomore defender Edwin Umanzor (Linden) were each named to the All-Tournament Team after helping limit FDU to just three shots on goal in 101 minutes.