Women’s Soccer Earns NJAC Tournament Spot

The Ramapo College women’s soccer team earned a spot in the 2013 Women’s Soccer New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament on Saturday with a 3-2 win over NJAC rival Rutgers-Camden.

This is the first time the lady Roadrunners have made the NJAC tournament since 1994, the first year the NJAC had a women’s soccer conference.

Ramapo sophomore Jaimie Towey said this is a great accomplishment for the team.

“One of the reasons I came [to Ramapo] is to be part of helping to build a winning program, and this is a great first step for our team,” Towey said.

The Roadrunners battled back from an early 2-0 deficit against the Scarlet Raptors, as Rutgers-Camden was officially eliminated from tournament contention.

Rutgers-Camden freshman Catherine Fiore scored two goals on Ramapo’s goalkeeper, senior Talia Auslin, to put the Scarlet Raptors up 2-0 at 25:57.

Just five minutes later, Ramapo sophomore Nicole Ninomiya brought the Roadrunners within one, beating Rutgers-Camden goalkeeper senior Lauren West for her sixth of the year.

Despite being outshot in chances 11-5 after the first half, Ramapo was only down 2-1, as Auslin made four quality saves.

“When we scored and made it 2-1 before the half, we knew that we could come back,” Towey said. “We just worked really hard and scored two great goals and played tough defense in the second half.”

It didn’t take long for the Roadrunners to tie the game, as Ninomiya netted her second of the game on a cross from senior Katie Popowych at 50:51.

Ramapo senior Liz Samimi scored the game-winning goal in dramatic fashion, netting a header off a lob pass from freshman Kelsey Sutherland with just 12 minutes left in the game.

With the win, the Roadrunners improve to 4-4 in the NJAC and 8-9 overall, and the Scarlet Raptors fall to 1-7 in the NJAC and to 4-11-2 overall. They needed a win against Ramapo and in their final game against New Jersey City University to potentially make the tournament.

The Roadrunners’ last game will be a true test as they prepare for their first NJAC tournament birth. They will play the Montclair Red Hawks, who are first in the NJAC with an 8-0 record.

The Red Hawks also remain undefeated in non conference play, posting a 16-0 overall record. Montclair was ranked number one on d3soccer.com’s top 25 poll ranking on Tuesday.

“Its going to be a tough game because they are a top team in the country, but we will go into the game with the mentality to win and play hard for 90 minutes as we always do,” Towey said. “Good things can happen in any soccer game.”