EDISON, N.J. -- Sophomore Fitz Jolly (Roseau, Dominica) recorded his first brace (2 goals scored in the same game) of the season to lead Lackawanna to a 2-1 victory at Middlesex County College on Saturday evening at Edison Park.
"This was an important night and I'm delighted for our guys because they worked so hard to pull this result out," said Lackawanna head coach Rudy Roediger. "For them to finally get a result with that effort is pleasing. We got positive reactions from several players that come through in the second half when we needed it. We took our chances when they presented themselves and two were Fitz-Tastic."
Lackawanna (3-10-0) recorded its first win since beating Region XIX opponent Manor College, 4-3 on Sept. 22 at Scranton Prep's Loyola Field, and snapped a six match losing streak that included five teams that have at least received votes or been ranked in the NJCAA Coaches Polls this season.
Middlesex (5-7-1) dropped just its second match in its last four after defeating Valley Forge 4-2 on Thursday night.
The match started with both teams testing the opponents defense but neither could find the breakthrough until the 11th minute when freshman Juan Bautista (Riverdale, Ga.) found space on the left wing and found Jolly who nodded home his third goal of the season to give Lackawanna an early lead.
The two teams would challenge one another but coming off a career-high 17 saves in the loss to number 5 ranked Camden County on Thursday, freshman Vincent Whitmore came up big with five first half saves for Lackawanna while Anthony Auoyb made four saves to see the visitors go into the break with a slim 1-0 lead.
"We have been in that position a number of times this season," said Roediger. "We knew that to turn the corner, we had to dig deep, pull out a result against a team that had a strong attack. They had already tested us a number of times in the first 45 minutes."
As the Falcons dominated stretches of the attack, it was a long-range strike from Jolley that put Lackawanna up 2-0 in the 65th minute. The U20 Dominican National Team player picked the ball up just inside the opposition's half and stuck a laser that beat Paschal Okeke to put the visitors up 2-0.
Directly off the kickoff the Colts attacked and capitalized to bring the game within one (2-1) as Jonathan Franco beat Whitmore to spoil the Freshman's first chance at a clean sheet.
Both teams traded chances throughout the following 25 minutes. Things got especially tense in the dying moments as Middlesex sent players forward looking for the tying goal. A last second save by Whitmore at the back post secured the victory for Lackawanna.
Whitmore recorded seven saves in the win for Lackawanna while Auoyb (4) and Okeke (2) combined for six saves in the loss for Middlesex.
NOTES FROM THE NEST
- The Falcons are 2-2-0 in one goal matches in 2018. All-time Lackawanna is 5-3-0 in such matches dating back to its first season in 2016.
- Lackawanna is one goal away from tying the program's all-time goals scored in a season.
- Montell James is one goal away from tying his career-high mark of six goals in a season set in 2018.
- Fitz Jolley moved into sole possession of the team's lead of game winning goals, with his strike from distance in the 66th minute.
- Ten different Falcons have scored or assisted at least a single goal this season, surpassing the nine in 2017. Of those from 2017 only Fitz Jolley and Montell James are repeat performers with seven freshman and sophomore Jacquan McPherson joining them with their first collegiate points.
- Montell James and Bruno Moreira are the only two players who have started all 13 matches for the Falcons in 2018. Juan Bautista and Tyler St Louis are the only other two who have appeared in all 13 matches with 12 and 11 starts respectively.
- Despite playing one of the hardest schedules in the country that has featured 8-of-12 opponents ranked or receiving votes in the NJCAA Coaches Poll, the Falcons have allowed a program lowest 3.08 goals against average in 2018 – besting the 4.42 GAA in 2017.
The Falcons continue its grueling road schedule with a Columbus Day trip to Boyds, Md., to face the NJCAA Division I Coaches Poll number 13 ranked Raptors of Montgomery College. Kickoff in the non-region matchup is set for 4 p.m. at the Maryland Soccerplex. The contest will mark the eighth opponent the Falcons have played this season against a team who has been ranked or received votes in the NJCAA Coaches Poll this season. For all your news and updates please visit us on Facebook Lackawanna Falcons Athletics, Instagram @FalconsSports, and Twitter @falconssports