By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
EWING — Sixth-seeded Kean University defeated top-seeded TCNJ, 1-0 in double overtime to claim the 2010 NJAC Men’s Soccer Championship. The Cougars, who recorded two road wins and a draw in a six day period, became the first sixth-seeded team in any conference sport to capture a NJAC Championship.
Sophomore Abner Denis scored the game-winner at the 102:25 mark to claim the conference title and earn an automatic into the 2010 Division III NCAA tournament. It is the first NJAC championship for the Cougars since 1998 and first NCAA tournament appearance since receiving an at-large bid in 2001.
The loss ended a 10-game unbeaten streak for the top-seeded Lions (9-6-4).
Kean, who defeated the three top-seeded teams during its run through the tournament, capitalized on its best scoring chance of the game. Sophomore Guilherme Argollo sent a long pass from the back up to sophomore Tiago Goetzke. Goetzke took the ball in on TCNJ goalkeeper Adam Friedman but was forced to the outside. He maintained control, turned, and pushed a pass to Denis running on. Denis hit a first-time shot from 12 yards out to end the game.
The Lions dominated the majority of play in the opening half, outshooting the Cougars 8-1. TCNJ had its best scoring chance with less than two minutes left in the half. Sophomore Vince McEnroe sent a restart into the box. The ball popped out towards the top of the box where senior Mike Razzoli ripped a shot that was partially blocked, and then saved by freshman keeper Tyler Callahan.
Kean’s lone shot on goal in the opening period came from junior Kahree Winslow, who had a clean shot at an empty net, but ripped a shot just wide of the right post.
Both teams traded punches in the second half, but neither team was able to get on the board. Junior Dan Constants entered the game for TCNJ and had a quality scoring chance moments later, but he pushed his shot just to the right of the post.
The Lions had their best shot at winning the game in the first overtime when sophomore Ryan O’Donnell headed a shot off a cross, but Callahan was in position to make the save and keep the game scoreless.
TCNJ outshot Kean 17-6 in the game. Callahan had four saves for the Cougars, while Friedman had one save for the Lions.
The NCAA tournament field will be announced on November 8 at 2:00 PM on http://www.ncaa.com.
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