Men’s soccer eliminated from NJAC playoffs in penalty kicks

On Tuesday, the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Men’s Soccer Semifinal between No. 2 Ramapo College and No. 3 Rowan University played to a 1-1 double-overtime draw. The game was sent into penalty kicks and the Profs came out on top, 3-1, and advanced to the NJAC Championship game on Friday, Nov 4.

For the Roadrunners, Juan Uribe made his penalty kick. For Rowan, Ryan Cleary, Mason Martelloni and Luke Yates all made their penalty kicks to advance, 3-1.

Johnny Troiano scored early for the Profs in the third minute of the game off a pass from Alex Ferrara. Ramapo had multiple chances late in the second half and were finally awarded a free kick.

With less than three minutes to play, Osbin Mendez took the free kick and Damian Zurawski put home his team-leading seventh goal of the season off a header to tie the game, 1-1. The bleachers packed with fans all went electric over the goal.

The game went into overtime where the two teams played two 10-minute periods where each team could not score, leading to the penalty kicks.

Prior to their postseason loss, the men’s soccer team had won four straight games to close out its season. Last week, the Roadrunners defeated Rutgers-Newark and Stockton University. This week on Wednesday they took down William Paterson, 3-0, and then on Saturday beat the City College of New York, 7-0.

In their matchup against William Paterson, Ramapo scored all three goals in the first half. Zurawski scored in the first four minutes, with the assist going to Thiago Stallhbaum and Dorant Bokshi. The Roadrunners second goal would be put in the net by Massimo Gallorini off a pass from Bokshi. Their final goal was by Alim Lita, as Stallhbaum earned another assist.

In the second half, both teams remained scoreless. The Roadrunners were able to capitalize on their opportunities compared to the Pioneers, who held a shot advantage and corner kick advantage over Ramapo. Ramapo goalie Nikolai Matthews earned his second shutout of the season as he posted five saves.

In their non-conference matchup on Saturday, City College of New York had no way of stopping the Roadrunners’ scoring and also were held scoreless. For the game, Ramapo tallied a total of 28 shots including 14 on goal while they posted six corner kicks. Ramapo goalie Matthew Wilcox did not face a shot in the game to earn the shutout victory.

As for Ramapo’s seven goals, there were an abundance of players involved in the scoring action. Mohit Nigam led the group scoring four goals. Nigam started the scoring with the first goal of the game off a pass from Mateo Urrego. He then scored on a header off a pass from Brandon DeNovaes.

Lita scored back-to-back goals in the 52nd and 53rd minutes of action for a 4-0 lead, with both assists from Dylan Estrada. Nigam added his third goal of the game when Andrew Greitz sent in a free kick. Grietz added his second assist of the game as Mason Leszczynski scored his first goal of the year. Nigam then tallied his fourth goal and final of the game with Urrego earning the assist for the 7-0 lead.

The Roadrunners stand at 6-6-4 overall for the year.

Ramapo College men’s soccer head coach DJ Pinton has been named NJAC Co-Coach of the year. Pinton earned his third NJAC Coach of the Year honor in his career after leading the Roadrunners to a second place finish during the regular season and a No. 2 seed in the NJAC Tournament.

Mendez was named NJAC Defensive Player of the Year and NJAC First Team All-Conference. Zurawski earned NJAC First Team All-Conference as well. Bokshi, Ederson La Torre and Jake Szatkowski earned NJAC Honorable Mention All-Conference.

Photo courtesy of Ramapo Athletics.