LYNDHURST, N.J. – Senior defender Gabe Viana (Lyndhurst, N.J./Lyndhurst) scored a tiebreaking goal with five minutes, 38 seconds, remaining in regulation time to lift Felician University to a 2-1 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference men's soccer victory over visiting Georgian Court University on Saturday night at the Lyndhurst Recreation Complex.
Georgian Court (10-2, 7-1 CACC) entered the night riding a school-record 10-game winning streak. The Lions are ranked No. 17 in the latest national NCAA Division II coaches' poll, and second in the East Region. Felician defeated GCU for the first time since the Lions instituted their program in 2013. The teams tied last season.
Felician (2-8-1, 2-5) defeated a nationally-ranked opponent for the first time in nearly 10 years. The Golden Falcons beat No. 20 Dominican (N.Y.) College, 1-0, on Oct. 28, 2008. Felician also broke an 11-match home winless streak dating back to 2017.
The sides were rarely dangerous on offense in the opening 45 minutes, despite the Lions' 8-4 shot advantage. In the 55th minute, a GCU attacker collected a through-ball and beat charging Felician goalkeeper Joe Sartori (Wood-Ridge, N.J./Wood-Ridge) 1 v. 1 about 35 yards from the net. The Lion continued to dribble, and was chased down by sophomore defender Jason Diaz (Hawthorne, N.J/Hawthorne) to keep the game scoreless.
Felician broke through on the scoreboard in the 63rd minute. Senior Maxi Ojeda (Yonkers, N.Y./DeWitt Clinton) buried a direct kick from the left side into the upper right corner of the net. The Golden Falcons missed out on a chance to pad their lead when junior Chris McLaughlin (Hollis, N.Y./Preparatory Academy for Writers) hit the crossbar with a shot in the 80th minute, and Ojeda saw his offering on the rebound saved by GCU junior keeper Yianni Kavarakas (Oakhurst, N.J./Ocean Township).
Shortly thereafter, the Lions drew even. Sophomore Nicholas Moran (Spotswood, N.J./Spotswood) penetrated the 18-yard box, then pushed a pass to teammate Louis Silva (Union, N.J./St. Benedict's), who finished from about six yards away. The game clock showed 8:35.
After the GCU goal, Felician redshirt junior Dean Wright (Dublin, Ireland/Colaiste Choilm) checked into the game as a substitute. He would play a large role in the game's next few minutes. As the home fans started to ponder overtime, Kevin Valdivia (Hawthorne, N.J./PCTI) played a ball out wide to Wright. Wright served it over the box, and the ball curved over another Golden Falcon's head and to Viana's foot on the left side. He one-timed a 15-yarder into the upper left.
Sartori made a leaping fingertip save of a free kick by Lion senior Vincius Monteiro (Sao Paulo, Brazil) in the 88th minute to preserve the victory. He finished with five saves.
The teams were whistled for a combined 35 fouls and seven yellow cards. The game lasted two hours, eight minutes.
Felician continues a three-game homestand on Wednesday, welcoming Bloomfield College to Lyndhurst for an 8 p.m. kickoff.