North Branch, NJ -- RVCC Men's Soccer dropped to 0-2 on the season after a 5-2 loss at Cumberland County College in Vineland. The Dukes repeatedly took advantage of Golden Lion mistakes to run their record to 5-0 while RVCC remains winless on the season.
The game started well for the visitors with RVCC creating opportunities to get forward but a glaring 8th minute miss set the tone for the Golden Lion's day. A strong run by Jhaliyl Stewart allowed him to beat his man and turn towards goal forcing Cumberland's goalkeeper to close him down, Stewart slotted the ball back across goal to a wide open Rafael Roman who blasted over the bar from close range with an empty goal at his mercy. That miss would turn costly for RVCC midway through the first half. Center back Dave Werner misplayed a back pass allowing Cumberland in for an easy finish past Ryan Lauder to go up 1-0. The Golden Lions again played provider for hosts later two minutes later when another bad turnover gifted the Dukes a clear scoring opportunity to push the lead to 2-0. RVCC created chances throughout the half but few shots found the frame leaving the visitors trailing 2-0 at the break.
For the second straight game, a halftime deficit provided a spark for RVCC, Facundo Galante on the left and Raul Otayza on the right side of midfield continually creating opportunities to get into the attack. One of those attacks got the Golden Lions back into the game through a penalty kick. From an RVCC corner kick, Raul Otayza was fouled in the box while trying to get on the end of an Erick Hernandez service, Hernandez buried the resulting spot kick past the goalkeeper to cut the deficit to 2-1. With the Golden Lions back in the game, another self-inflicted injury allowed Cumberland to regain a 2-goal lead within two minutes. A punt from Cumberland's goalkeeper bounced through the RVCC back line and was coolly finished to make the score 3-1 in the 54th minute.
RVCC pushed players forward in search of an answer and again it was a corner kick which provided the goal. Raul Otayza bagged his first of the season, heading in an Erick Hernandez corner to cut the lead to 3-2 inside the final half hour. As the rain picked up making every shot a challenge for both goalkeepers, RVCC kept pushing numbers forward looking for an equalizer but were twice caught out on well executed counterattacks by Cumberland pushing the score to 5-2. Ryan Hamblin, making a rare appearance as a field player, just missed getting on the end of a Raul Otayza cross at the back post which would have cut the deficit. A third Lion's goal was only prevented by a great play from Cumberland's goalkeeper, taking Otayza's cross at full stretch with Hamblin racing in at the back post. Ryan Lauder finished the day with 10 saves. RVCC was credited with 8 shots on goal for the match.
A clearly unhappy Head Coach Gerry Montague commented after the game, "We knew coming in Cumberland could score goals, we didn't need to give them any help. Joe Colodne ran a great walk through on Friday, we executed a lot of what we wanted to do but experienced players are making unacceptable mistakes and we're dealing with too many issues of individual accountability and commitment. We have good players, we're starting to gel as a team and we'll get a few banged up guys back in the line-up next week. We have a very short schedule this year, we're quickly running out of time to make an impact in the conference standings, the next couple of matches will be big for us."
The Golden Lions (0-2-0 overall, 0-2-0 conference) travel to Sussex County Community College for their next match on Tuesday, September 16th, kickoff is scheduled for 3:30pm. They play their 2014 home opener against Manor College on Thursday, September 18th.