Men’s soccer exit ECAC Quarterfinals with loss to NJCU

The Ramapo College men’s soccer team’s season came to a crushing end on Sunday as they were defeated in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Quarterfinals of Pod 2 by a score of 1-0 against New Jersey City University (NJCU). With the loss coming in overtime, it is the second time the Roadrunners have been eliminated from a tournament beyond regulation, the first time coming at the beginning of November against Rowan University in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Tournament.

Going into the tournament, Ramapo was ranked as the No. 1 seed in its pod and was rewarded with a first-round bye. This was thanks in part to a 5-0-2 finish to the regular season. NJCU was ranked as the No. 2 seed and defeated No. 3 Saint Elizabeth University in the first round on Saturday by a score of 2-0 in order to face Ramapo.

After neither team scored in regulation, the game extended into overtime where the hard-fought battle continued. However, with just 19 seconds left in the first overtime period, NJCU’s Juan Vizcaino put one past Ramapo’s Nikolai Matthews to secure the victory and push NJCU onto the next round. Danny Tobon was credited with the assist.

Despite losing, the Roadrunners gave it everything they had until the final whistle. The team outshot NJCU 19-8, including leading 12-3 in shots on goal. Ramapo also had fewer fouls than NJCU, having only nine to the Gothic Knights’ 18. The team also collected 10 corner kicks while NJCU only had one.

Thiago Stallhbaum led the Roadrunners with three shots on goal, followed by Ederson La Torre, Osbin Mendez and Nebi Ademi, who all had two each. Matthews played the entire game and recorded two saves of the three shots on goal he saw.

For NJCU, goalkeeper Nick Linebaugh played the first 91 minutes of the game and recorded nine saves in his time. He was later spelled for Khalid Kwaik, who had three saves in the final nine minutes of the game. Jason Salamanca, Tobon and Vizcaino were the Gothic Knights who recorded shots on goal, each with one.

Ramapo ends the season with a 6-7-4 overall record. However, there were many moments in this season that the Roadrunners can hang their hats on. They had a 5-2-2 in NJAC play and rebounded from a 1-6-1 overall record to start the season. Ramapo will use the offseason to rest and recuperate and hope to build off the late-season success next fall.

 Photo courtesy of Ramapo Athletics.