Men’s Soccer Celebrates Octoberfest by Defeating Stockton

The men’s soccer team started Saturday’s Octoberfest activities off right with a 3-1 victory over Richard Stockton College.

In a pivotal game between two New Jersey Athletic Conference competitors, the Roadrunners secured the win and a playoff berth. Ramapo is now 4-3 in conference play, while Stockton’s postseason aspirations suffered a serious blow.

“Stockton is a good team, and we always have good games against them,” senior Rob Santaniello said. “They were two points behind us going into the game, so we knew they needed a win to have a shot to get into the tournament.”

Santaniello paved the path to victory with two goals and two assists during the match. The school’s all-time scoring leader has now notched 11 goals in 13 games this season.

Playing in front of a sizable crowd that could not resist the allure of a free T-shirt, the Roadrunners gave the home fans something to cheer about 4:09 minutes into game. Following a missed shot off the post, Santaniello rushed in to score the opening goal off the deflection. 

The matched remained 1-0 until Jared Ruff punched the ball out of reach of goalie Grant Korten to tie the game for the Ospreys at the 22:29 mark. Ruff performed back flips to commemorate his goal, but Santaniello did not mind the vibrant celebration.

“I usually do a front flip after I score in big games,” Santaniello said. “Most guys do a lot more offensive things to embarrass the team they scored on, so his celebration wasn’t a big deal.”

Santaniello would get the last laugh anyway. Early in the second half, the captain juked past a defender and curved the ball perfectly to the net’s top right corner. After regaining the lead for Ramapo, Santaniello rolled on the ground in what he described as “uncoordinated forward and backward somersaults.”

The Roadrunners kept on rolling after that. Fifteen minutes into the second half, Santaniello blazed past two defenders and set up senior Andrew Wilcox with his first goal of the season.

Although Santaniello nearly pulled off a hat trick, the score stood at 3-1 until the final whistle. 

After averaging 2.5 goals per game through the first eight contests, the Roadrunners managed three goals in five matches prior to facing the Ospreys. Santaniello credited their offensive resurgence on Saturday to the team recovering from injuries to key contributors.

“The game against Stockton was the first game back in a while where we had the normal guys out on the field that we had in the first six games,” Santaniello said. “So we were able to get back to what we do best, which is finding feet and moving the ball on the ground, to achieve the victory and get back on track.”

In a non-conference matchup against Western Connecticut State Wednesday afternoon, Ramapo won 1-0 to improve their record to 8-6-1. The Roadrunners will close out their season against Rutgers-Camden and Montclair State University, the two top ranked teams in the NJAC. Santaniello welcomes the challenge of facing stiff competition before beginning the postseason.

“We won’t change how we play just because Camden and Montclair are at the top of the conference,” Santaniello said. “We have beaten both teams before in my years here and if you know anything about how this conference is, any team can beat any team on any given day. So we will play our game and see what the other two teams do on game day.”