Major NJAC points were on the line as the Ramapo Roadrunners men’s soccer team lost to The College of New Jersey Lions by a score of 4-2. This loss brought Ramapo to a 7-7-2 overall record, and a 1-5-1 NJAC record, while TCNJ improved to a 8-4-2 overall record and a 3-4 record in the conference.
The teams took to the field on what was a very chilly October afternoon in the Ramapo Mountains. With nothing short of three points being sufficient, each team appeared to start the match in a formation featuring three forwards.
Ramapo came out of the gate very strong, controlling the run of play and forcing TCNJ’s attack out wide. The Lions were consistently settling for shots outside of the box as Ramapo’s defense stayed compact and organized.
Leading goal scorer, freshman Ryan Campbell, was finding himself in some positive positions on the left flank but was not able to achieve the final product. Campbell’s work rate, however, allowed for some space to open up as freshman midfielder Leandro Gonzalez played a cheeky ball into the area and found sophomore Justin Olaya for the game’s first goal in the 24th minute of the game.
Gonzalez took on two men as he split the defenders with some confident dribbling before crossing the ball with the outside of his right foot. Olaya’s darting run inside the six was too much for the TCNJ defender as he laid out his body and latched onto the end of the cross with a dominating headed goal.
TCNJ immediately turned up the intensity after the goal and started pressing Ramapo all over the pitch. The Lions responded just 10 minutes later, as junior Thomas Hogue scissor-kicked a bouncing ball in the box that found its way to senior Greg Kaye for the flicked on equalizer, just minutes before halftime.
The second half belonged to TCNJ as they were able to secure their second goal in just under two minutes. Hogue played a lofted ball over the top and found junior Nick Costelloe who only had the keeper to beat as he finished with ease.
Ramapo was able to pull one back in the 68th minute, as freshman Jorge Castro buried a penalty shot after a handball in the box.
The Lions pushed forward with attack after attack, putting Ramapo on their heels and not allowing them to gain any type of possession.
The game winner came for TCNJ in the 79th minute as junior Sean Etheridge got on the end of a rebounded shot and snuck it into the net between a Roadrunner defender and the near post.
An insurance goal came in the 83rd minute, as Ramapo’s defense completely lost its composure and allowed Costelloe to get one on one with the goalkeeper, Ryan Sprague, and bury his second goal of the match.
Ramapo still has a chance to qualify for the NJACs but will need other results to go their way.
The Roadrunners will face the first place Montclair State University Red Hawks at the Athletic Center Turf on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.