When the Roadrunner men's soccer team took the field against long-time rival Camden County College Tuesday afternoon at home, both teams just received news they had earned spots in the NJCAA Division III National Rankings -- the Cougars at No. 7 and the Runners at No. 9.
The match on the field did not disappoint either. Camden County's Luca Mingrino ended it midway through sudden death overtime when he slipped past a defender and drilled in the game-winning goal to clinch a 2-1 triumph. Earlier, the Roadrunners' Justin Phy gave the home team a 1-0 lead, collecting a goal with an assist from Francesco Fazzolari at 30:30 of the first half. Just six minutes later the Cougars knotted it at 1-1- on a goal by Benjamin Penayo, and that's where the two teams ended in regulation following a tight defensive struggle in the second half.
But Mingrino's winning goal ended the marathon and dashed the Runners' spirits -- RCSJ Gloucester suffered its first loss of the season after a 3-0 start. The Cougars improved to 3-1 overall.
"We knew we had a tough early season schedule, and this game really pushed us to the limit, just as we expected," said Coach George Hobbins. "For the most part, we played well. But we told the players to figure out what their mistakes here were, and to learn from them. We will likely see Camden County College down the road and we have some battles ahead against some tough teams."
Phy, a sophomore out of Triton Regional High School and returning Region all-star, was hopeful the Runners would hold on to the early 1-0 lead against the talented Cougars.
"It hurts, no question," he said of the stinging loss."We missed some opportunities after that first goal, and you have to take advantage of everything against a team like Camden County. Hopefully we'll improve and have a chance to redeem ourselves against them down the road."
"Defensively we played well, including our goalkeepers," said Hobbins. "We need to learn from this outcome and keep moving forward."
Next up for the Roadrunners will be a key Region and conference game at home against County College of Morris Saturday in a 12 noon start.
Game Day Preview
Roadrunner men's soccer will play a home match Tuesday, September 10 when Camden County College makes a visit to Deptford, NJ.The Roadrunners are off to a flying 3-0 start following a weekend win at Sussex County Community College. Leading the way for the Runners this season has been sophomores Justin Phy and Tyler Liberkowski, along with freshmen Brandon Daisey and Andrew Seary. Goalkeepers Connor Rink and James Bartolotto have also performed well.
Kickoff is at 3:30 pm.
GAME DAY INFORMATION
RCSJ-Gloucester vs. Camden County
September 10, 2019
Rowan College South Jersey, Gloucester
George Hobbins, RCSJ Gloucester
Kevin Nuss, Camden County
Roadrunners: 3-0 overall, 1-0 Region
Camden CC: 2-1 overall, 1-0 Region
Watch Live at RCRoadrunners.com