Men’s soccer advances to NJAC finals

Photo courtesy of Ramapo College of New Jersey

The Ramapo College No. 2 seeded men’s soccer team secured a 2-1 victory this past Tuesday against the No. 6 seed William Paterson in a high intensity tournament game at the Athletic Center. Since it was a semifinal game, the Roadrunners now advance to the final round of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship for the first time in the entire program’s history.

Under Head Coach DJ Pinton’s tenure, RCNJ has had four appearances in the tournament, this year being the fifth, but they have never made it past the semifinals. The victory also bumped Ramapo’s overall record up to 15-2-2 and 6-1-2 in the conference.

After an initial 30 minutes of scoreless hard-fought soccer, the Roadrunners managed to get on the board with a goal from Junior Justin Fala, who was just named NJAC men’s soccer offensive player of the year.

Fala recorded his first goal of the game and his 24th of the season in the 31st minute.

The Roadrunners led at halftime 1-0, although the Pioneers did lead in shots in the first half, 8-5. 

The second half persisted with the same intensity and aggression. RCNJ midfielder Jorge Castro received a yellow card at 54:30. Shortly after, the Pioneers collected a goal to tie the game up at the 71:00-minute mark. 

The semifinal game remained a tie for the next 19 minutes, for it wasn’t until the 90th minute of the game (89:03) that everything changed. One of the Pioneers, Dylan Fogerty, received a red card, while a yellow card was simultaneously given to the entire William Paterson team. It was then that Fala received a penalty kick.

Fala recorded the winning goal of the crucial tournament game on that penalty kick, giving him a total collection of 25 goals just this season, setting a new NCAA Division III national record, and carrying the Roadrunners to the NJAC championship game.

After tallying these two goals, Fala now leads the nation with 25 goals, and still remains on top leading in points with 56 recorded this season.

Aside from Joseph Fala who recorded four shots and two goals, other shooters included senior Jorge Castro who tallied four altogether, two of which were shots on goal.

Roadrunner goalkeeper Joshua Schaffer played a full 90-minute game and collected a total of five saves. 

In an extremely close one-point game, the Ramapo College Roadrunners collected their 15th victory 2-1, at the hands of the William Paterson Pioneers allowing them to move on and compete in the finals for the NJAC championship trophy. 

After a close 4-3 semifinal game against No. 4 Rowan University, the No. 1 seed Montclair State will advance to play RCNJ in the final round of NJAC tournament on Friday Nov. 2. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. at the MSU soccer park.