By Jigar Surati
Last Saturday at 5:00 PM, the Highlanders faced off against the visiting Saint Francis Brooklyn Terriers. Previously, the Terriers had only allowed a single goal in the last nine games. However, this did not daunt the Highlanders as we came out shooting. Scoring a phenomenal amount of three goals in only the first half, the Highlanders cinched a 3-2 victory over the Terriers.
The men of NJIT assaulted St. Francis’s veteran senior goalkeeper Jack Binks from the get-go. Binks, who came into game leading the nation in goals against average, save percentage, and shutouts, was a force to be reckoned with, but the Highlanders did not back down. Playing an extremely aggressive game, the men constantly pushed forward and did not give the Terrier’s defense any chance to breathe. In the 17th minute, Tommy Osipitan scored the first goal of the game off a corner kick from Rickardo Oldham. Although NJIT pulled ahead earlier, they did not ease up the attack. The Terriers struggled to advance up the field as the ball was stolen multiple times to end any chance of a rush towards Marco Luna, the NJIT goalkeeper.
Another stunning goal from NJIT came in the 28th minute. The Narayan Taterway rushed forward and made a shot on the goal which was caught but then immediately dropped. Ansel Ueshiro took the opportunity given to him and scored off the dropped catch. This game was Ueshiro’s first start as a Highlander iHhhdfand this goal was also his first college goal. This goal gave NJIT fans the insurance they needed to be at rest during the game.
The last goal of the half was also scored the home team as Joshua Mercer scored an unassisted goal from over 20 yards back. This goal was Mercer’s 14th career goal and now he is tied with Franco Gamero (graduated in ’14) for NJIT’s career Division I list. NJIT was steamrolling past the opposition until Victor Kausch was given a red card in the 44th minute. This effectively threw him out of the game and made NJIT play with one person down for the rest of the match.
As the second half began, the Terriers turning up the heat and used NJIT’s handicap to their advantage. They rushed towards the goal and at Luna to instantly put fans on their toes. Well in the second half, the Terriers bared their fangs. In just five minutes, St. Francis scored twice. Federico Curbello and John Makaya both ate away at the deficit (63rd minute and 67th minute respectively), causing fans to be worry for the Highlanders. However, Marco Luna and team captain Jimmy Myers rekindled some of the waning faith of the fans by saving the ball and making expert defensive plays to keep the Terrier at bay. However, as the battle went on, the Terriers corralled the Highlanders by completely overshooting them in the second half 12-0.
With well-timed saves and solid defense, the Highlanders made sure that an equalizer was never a possibility. The final game score came out the 3-2 with the Highlanders on top. This win marks the second time that NJIT’s men’s soccer team scored an upsetting win—the last one begin against Army which ended in a 1-0 shutout. The next time the Highlanders play will be away from home at Central Connecticut State on Wednesday at 7:00.