The Ramapo Roadrunners men’s soccer team lost their final game of the season to Kean University Cougars by a score of 4-2. Ramapo finishes the year with a record of 8-9-2 while Kean’s regular season comes to an end at 11-7-1.
Without the possibility of New Jersey Athletic Conference tournament play in their future, the Roadrunners looked to portray the role of spoiler as the Cougars were not yet guaranteed a spot in the postseason. DJ Pinton, coach, used the opportunity to ruin Kean’s hopes as motivation for his squad.
“I still have some memories of 2010,” Pinton said, “when [Kean] spoiled our chances, so we wanted to return the favor.”
The opening 20 minutes of the game was a chess match as both teams were searching for the best method of attack. Ramapo was winning the battle in the midfield and dictating the run of play. In the 25th minute, Kean freshman forward Sevag Kherlopian won the ball deep in Ramapo’s half and started a sequence that ended in the game’s first goal.
Kherlopian fed the ball wide to sophomore Kevin Olaya and continued his run into the box. Olaya played an inch perfect ball across the goalmouth and Kherlopian finished confidently with a diving header.
Ramapo was unfazed and responded immediately through sophomore Luke Geigerich. Senior Dan Boffa found Geigerich who had a surprising amount of time and space just 22 yards away from goal. Geigerich made no mistake as he struck a curling chip to the top left corner, beating the outstretched keeper to level the score.
With just five minutes remaining in the first half, Ramapo were the architects of their own downfall. Kherlopian won a free kick for Kean in a threatening position after an unnecessary foul from behind. Senior Kelvin Flores stepped up to the ball and bent his shot around the wall to take the lead.
One minute later, Kean struck again as sophomore Kenny Rocha found the back of the net off a pass from freshman Michael Vargas.
The Cougars were very composed to start the second half and worked the ball around, retaining possession. Kean added a fourth goal in the 73rd minute as senior Patrick Foley had an open look at goal and finished with ease.
A second goal for Ramapo came in the 82nd minute as freshman Kevin Villanueva scored what would be the games final goal. The heart that Ramapo showed is a testament to the work they have put in all season long.
“They keep playing to the final whistle, keep playing with a lot of effort” Pinton said. “We had six regulars out today, but I compliment the guys who were out there. They played tough, they played hard and it’s an unfortunate end.”
Ramapo endured an injury filled season that sees them miss the NJAC tournament for the fourth straight year. Coach Pinton is hoping for some better fortune as he begins the recruiting process for next season.
“We need to bring in some new people and stay healthy, sometimes in the NJAC, having so many players out can make it very tough.”