WESTAMPTON, N.J. -- Lackawanna men's soccer team fell in its final Region XIX match of the season to the Barons of Rowan College at Burlington County, 5-1, on a chilly Saturday morning at the Westampton Sports Complex.
"Today wasn't the result we wanted, obviously," said head coach Rudy Roediger. "Our guys never made any excuses or complaints, and put in a performance to be proud of and that's all we can ask as a staff. This group is building a tremendous foundation for our program, I can only be proud of the direction we have made this season and the sophomores who put everything into the program both in the classroom and on the pitch. They will see the benefits for themselves personally on where they go next, but they have also helped to establish Lackawanna this season with a schedule worthy of great competitors."
For Lackawanna (3-12-0, 1-4-0) the loss eliminates them from the Region XIX playoffs, but it came down to the final day of the region schedule for the Falcons.
"When you give yourself a chance and have to play shorthanded, but put in a performance that one can be proud of, that's all we can ask of the players who have played one of the most challenging schedules in the country," said Roediger. "To consider we will finish the year playing over half of our season (9-of-16) against teams ranked or receiving votes in the national poll, we have done considerably better than any previous Lackawanna season."
RCBC (7-3-0, 3-2-0) the win secures a top-four position in the Region XIX standing to secure a berth in the upcoming postseason with its third region victory of the season.
The Barons broke through early to get the match going in the 5th minute when Guillermo Duque provided Justin Quintero his third goal of the season to give the hosts an early 1-0 lead.
The Falcons nearly equalized when Anderson Italian (Spring Valley, N.Y.) pointed pass found Dominican U20 National Team Player, Fitz Jolly (Roseau, Dominica) in the 19th minute. Only an outstanding stop by Vojin Veselinovic thwarted Jolly from his fifth goal of the season.
Guillermo Duque continued his impressive playmaking as he found Mickael Rodriguez to extend RCBC's lead to 2-0 in the 25th minute before Diego Aguilar scored unassisted in the 29th as the hosts would take a 3-0 lead into the break.
Duque added two more assists to Quintero to give the hosts a 5-0 lead with goals in the 59th and 72nd minutes.
The Falcons who have shown resilience in 2018 scoring 11-of-20 goals in the second half never went away. After near a miss by Montell James (Roseau, Dominica) on a cross from Bruno Moreira, (Boca Rotan, Fla.) Tyler St Louis (Bowie, Md.) was able to pay paid dividends in the 81st minute. The Falcons, for the record breaking 12th time in a season, netted at least one goal when St Louis found James inside 12-yards. The Dominican youth international made a great touch before slotting home past Veselinovic.
"The guys showed great battle today," said Roediger. "We never gave up and while we could have grabbed a few other goals on another day, we never stopped attacking."
Vincent Whitmore recorded eight saves in the loss for Lackawanna while Vojin Veselinovic made five saves, allowing just his second goal in his last 270 minutes and only his 8th goal of the season in the win for the Barons.
NOTES FROM THE NEST
- Lackawanna set the program's single-season goal scoring mark with its 20th on the season.
- Montell James tied his program single-season mark of six goals set in 2017.
- Fitz Jolley leads the team in game winning goals (2).
- 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.
- Sophomore Montell James and freshman Bruno Moreira are the only two players who have started all 15 matches for the Falcons in 2018. Freshman Juan Bautista and Tyler St Louis are the only other two who have appeared in all 15 matches with 14 and 12 starts respectively.
- Despite playing one of the hardest schedules in the country that has featured 8-of-15 opponents ranked or receiving votes in the NJCAA Coaches Poll, the Falcons have allowed a program lowest 3.20 goals against average in 2018 – besting the 4.42 GAA in 2017.
The Falcons conclude the 2018 season with Sophomore Day against NJCAA Division III Preseason Coaches' Poll Number 10 Ranked Titans of the County College of Morris in a non-region match. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. at Scranton Prep's Loyola Field. Following the contest, the Falcons will honor their trio of sophomores (Fitz Jolly, Montell James and Jacquan McPherson). The contest will mark the ninth opponent the Falcons have played this season against a team who has been ranked or received votes in the NJCAA Coaches Poll this season.