Mens soccer ends week riding high

The Ramapo College men’s soccer team had a good week, collecting a win and a tie over the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) competition.

On Wednesday, the Roadrunners posted a 3-2 win over rival Kean University at home. It moved Ramapo to 2-6-2 overall and 2-2-1 in the NJAC, while the Cougars fell to 5-6-3 overall and 1-2-2 in the conference.

In the win, Kyle Allen put the Roadrunners on the board with his second goal of the season. It was assisted by Damian Zurawski and Marvin Cadena. Midway through the first half, Kean tied it up with a goal from Fanor Arango, making it 1-1.

In the second half, Ramapo took the lead as Zurawski scored his third goal of the season on a header with an assist from Cadena. The scoring continued for the Roadrunners as Dorant Bokshi gave the Roadrunners another goal, making it 3-1.

Kean did their best to respond, with Erick Chicas scoring for the Cougars in the final minutes, but the Roadrunners held them off to secure the NJAC victory.

For the game, each team collected 15 shots while Ramapo held an 8-7 lead in shots on goal. The Roadrunners also led in corner kicks, 6-3. In the Ramapo win, Nikolai Matthews had five saves in goal, while Dominic Ridge had five for the Cougars.

On Saturday, the men’s soccer team played to a 0-0 draw on the road against Rowan University in another NJAC match-up. The Roadrunners move to 2-6-3 overall and 2-2-2 in the NJAC, while Rowan now stands at 6-5-4 overall and 1-2-3 in the conference. Each team still received a point in the conference standings, allowing Ramapo to currently sit in fifth place.

In the game, the Roadrunners posted 11 shots, including three on goal, while Rowan collected 14 shots, including seven on goal. Matthews made seven saves in the net for the Roadrunners while Dylan Aportela tallied three for Rowan, including one in the final minutes of action to keep the Roadrunners off the board.

Both teams had scoring chances in the contest and Rowan had a potential goal disallowed due to an offsides call. Ramapo had two chances in the final three minutes, but Aportela made a save on a shot by Cadena, and then the Roadrunners missed one of their best opportunities with a shot that went high over the net.

Matthews, Ramapo’s goalkeeper, expressed the importance of how big this week was for the team. “When we look back at the recent week of fixtures we got a big three points at home against Kean followed by a draw on the road against a very good Rowan side, the biggest takeaway has to be our defensive performance,” he said.

“Despite the two goals against Kean, our ability to shut down our opponents’ offensive players allowed us to have good spells of possession where we created chances that lead to goals. From the guys on the sideline to the support from the fans, the energy around the team has been fantastic for a crucial part of the season.”

The men’s soccer team will continue to try and move forward with this energy. “For our game against Rutgers-Newark on Wednesday, I know personally I’m going to focus on our defensive shape and how we can prevent shots and chances from being created,” he said.

Matthews continued, “As a group, we’re looking to focus on keeping the ball in their half and being clinical when we get in the attacking third. If we can bring the same energy and tenacity to the attacking third I think we’ll show who the better side is and gain another three points.”

The team returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 22 as the Roadrunners host Stockton University for Senior Day. The game and ceremonies will begin at noon.

Photo courtesy of Ramapo Athletics.