The Ramapo Roadrunners men’s soccer team beat the Western Connecticut Colonials by a score of 2-1 in Mahwah on Wednesday afternoon in a non conference match. Ramapo improves to 8-7-2 while Western Connecticut drops to 6-9-1 overall.
Bitter gusts of wind wafted down the mountains, littering the turf with multi-colored fall leaves. Unsavory weather conditions compelled the teams to agree upon a 2:15 p.m. start. Ramapo began the game aiming to build up play from the back. Untidy ball movement permitted Western Connecticut to press high up the field and generate some early chances.
The Colonial’s lack of inventiveness while in possession saved the Roadrunners from an early deficit. Ramapo sophomore, midfielder Lucas Tasci displayed experienced composure as he was enjoying acres of space on the left flank and attacking with purpose. Coach DJ Pinton saw Tasci as a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster opening half.
“[Tasci] was definitely the best performer of the first half,” Pinton said. “He made quality decisions and played very well.”
Ramapo was generating creative sequences, but could not connect on the final pass. At times it seemed as if the Roadrunners were over complicating the attack, playing needlessly unselfish as they searched for their openings. The first 45 minutes came to a close with frustrations mounting.
Western Connecticut’s freshman defender Lucas Saunders seemingly stomped on Ramapo sophomore Kevin Monaghan as he attempted to get up from the turf with 19 seconds remaining. Shockingly, there was no action taken by the referee even though his linesman was clearly flagging for the foul.
The Roadrunners were noticeably unpleased with their first half performance and came back on to the field fired up. Ramapo sophomore defender Nick Brancato led the resurgence with his willingness to play both sides of the ball. Brancato’s bombing runs up and down the right flank were the difference in Ramapo’s second half approach. Pinton appreciated his defenders work ethic and was quick to praise his efforts.
“He got forward and caused some problems for [Western Connecticut] on the attacking side,” Pinton said. “Defensively, he did his job, of course”.
In the 64 minute, Brancato carried the ball down to the right corner and launched a cross into the area. Western Connecticut impeded the delivery, but failed to clear their lines. The ball conveniently dropped to Ramapo senior Andrew Kirshteyn and he hammered his shot off the keeper and into the top right corner.
Three minutes later, Kirshteyn netted a brace as he collected a long ball and gently slid a shot to the bottom left corner. A conciliation goal came in the 88 minute as Western Connecticut senior Phil Dagostino got on the end of a botched clearance and found the back of the net.
Ramapo must win out and rely on negative results from Stockton and Rowan to have a chance at the New Jersey Athletic Conference tournament. Pinton is trying to keep his team focused on the task at hand. Ramapo is away to Montclair on Oct. 25 at 6 p.m.
“All we can do is take it one game at a time and hope the results happen for us,” Pinton said.