Men's Soccer Begins 2018, Loses 4-2 At NYIT

Men's Soccer goal celebration.
(Courtesy NYIT Athletics)

OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. – New York Institute of Technology scored three consecutive goals in the first 26 minutes of period two to snap a 1-1 halftime tie and move on to a 4-2 non-conference men's soccer victory over visiting Felician University on Thursday afternoon at President's Stadium. The match marked the 2018 season opener for both schools.

All three second-half NYIT scores game from senior Simon-Peter Oomba (London, England). Classmate Martin Sundell (Stockholm, Sweden) picked up two assists.

Senior transfer Niko Iloski (Garfield, N.J.) and junior forward Chris McLaughlin (Hollis, N.Y.) tallied the Felician goals. Golden Falcon junior goalkeeper Joe Sartori (Wood-Ridge, N.J.) was credited with six saves.

The Bears needed only 3 ½ minutes to take the lead, as senior Dan Lembo (Hicksville, N.Y.) placed a free kick from 25 yards away past Sartori and into the net. Felician caught a bit of back luck in the 13th minute when a McLaughlin shot bounded off the crossbar and the Golden Falcons were caught offside during the scramble for the rebound.

The visitors equalized shortly thereafter, however. Junior Kevin Valdivia (Hawthorne, N.J.) pushed a pass to Iloski in the middle of the 18-yard box. Iloski turned and used his left foot to get the ball past the goalkeeper at the 17:41 mark.

With game-time temperatures hovering above 90 degrees, the teams stopped play for a mandatory NCAA water break in the middle of each period. The offenses failed to find success after the first-half break, and the sides entered intermission knotted at 1-1.

Oomba quickly sparked the hosts following the second-half whistle. In the 52nd minute, he left-footed a ball over Sartori's head that nicked the left post before finding its way over the goal line. Just over eight minutes later, Sundell led a counter-attack before putting a ball ahead to Oomba to finish for a two-goal advantage.

NYIT took full control with 19:25 remaining when Oomba again beat Sartori high.

Felician pressed on, pulling to within 4-2 on McLauglin's marker with exactly 17 minutes left in regulation. Freshman Carlo Gonzalez (Pompton Lakes, N.J.) was credited with an assist. But the Bears held on after keeper Andrew Pereira (Mineola, N.Y.) stopped a Junior Borja (Kearny, N.J.) shot in the 86th minute. Borja was the first man to the rebound, but his second offering was cleared off the goal line by a defender.

Pereira faced 14 shots, including five by McLaughlin, and made four saves. Oomba led all players on the day with six of his side's 18 shots.

Felician returns to action on Saturday when it hosts East Stroudsburg University at 7:30 p.m. The game will be played at Riverside County Park (South Area) in Lyndhurst, N.J.