Montclair, NJ (11/07/08) – Senior forward Tyler Masterson (Long Valley, NJ / West Morris Central), the NJAC Offensive Player of the Year, scored 2:22 into the match as third-ranked and top seed Montclair State captured its third consecutive New Jersey Athletic Conference championship with a 1-0 victory over third-seeded Rutgers-Camden at Sprague Field on Friday evening.
Junior Michael Cullen ( Clementon, NJ / Highland) assisted on the game-winning goal as the Red Hawks remained perfect on the season while tying the single-season for victories as MSU is now 20-0-0. Montclair, which matched the 2006 squad with 20 wins, also earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament which gets underway next week. Bids will be announced on Monday, November 10. Last year, Montclair State advanced to the Elite 8 of the tournament before falling to Messiah College, 1-0.
The win also capped off another perfect NJAC slate for MSU, which went 11-0 against league competition for the second time in three years. Montclair, which had defeated Rutgers-Camden 4-1 at home on October 4, is 31-2 versus the conference the last three years, including the tournament. The Red Hawks also became the first team to win three straight conference tournaments since its inception in 1999 and the first school to three-peat since Rowan from 1991-93.
Freshman goalkeeper Tim VanLiew ( Deptford, NJ / Deptford) made four saves for the Scarlet Raptors, who fell to 16-4-2 with the loss, their first since a 2-0 defeat against then No. 3 ranked York College (PA) on October 11. Rutgers-Camden will wait to see if it earns one of the at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament. The Raptors were ranked second behind MSU in the latest NCAA Regional Rankings.
The lone goal in the game came 142 seconds in as Masterson collected his team and conference-leading 14 th of the year. Cullen served a ball 20 yards down deep to Masterson, who then chipped a shot over VanLiew for the 1-0 lead.
Rutgers-Camden would come right back and get a chance, but goalkeeper Nick Mele (Delran, NJ / Delaran) stopped A.J. O’Malley (Westmont, NJ / Haddon Township) 56 seconds after the goal and he then made a save on Stan Reahm’s (Deptford, NJ / Deptford) attempt at 9:08 as the Raptors got off just three shots in the first 45 minutes. Montclair would get seven, including two solid opportunities that were saved by VanLiew. Also William Griffin ( Bloomfield, NJ / St. Peter’s Prep) had a shot clank off the crossbar at the 32:39 mark.
In the second half, Montclair’s defense, ranked fourth in Division III, shut down the Raptors offense allowing just one shot, which came at the 51:36 mark. Meanwhile, MSU looked to extend its lead and it collected eight shots in the final period.
Montclair State finished the game with a 15-4 advantage in shots and led in corner kicks, 6-3.Mele had two saves as he posted his 10 th shutout of the season and Montclair State’s 13 th in 20 contests.