Men's Soccer Headed Back to NJAC Championship Game

Montclair, NJ (11/4/08) – The Cullen family, twin brothers Joseph and Michael (Clementon, NJ / Highland) accounted for all three goals as third-ranked and top seed Montclair State is headed back to the NJAC Men’s Soccer Championship Game for a third straight season as the Red Hawks topped No. 4 seed and 22 nd-ranked William Paterson, 3-1 on Friday evening.

Junior John Esposito ( Hillside, NJ / Hillside) had a pair of assists as the Red Hawks, now 19-0 this season, moveon to the title game and will face third-seeded Rutgers-Camden for the NJAC crown on Friday, November7 at Sprague Field beginning at 7:00 pm. Rutgers-Camden edged No. 2 seed Richard Stockton, 2-1 in double overtime in Pomona in the other semifinal.

MSU, the two-time defending champion, will be seeking their ninth conference crown as well as the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Montclair defeated Rutgers-Camden, 4-1 back on October 4.

Sophomore Steve DeMatteo (Piscataway, NJ / St. Joseph’s (Metuchen)) scored for William Paterson, which fell to 13-5-2 and must now wait to see if they receive one of the at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament. The Pioneers also suffered their second loss to MSU in the last 11 days as WPU fell 1-0 in overtime to the Red Hawks in Wayne on October 24.

DeMatteo gave William Paterson as 1-0 lead 11:44 into the contest as he collected his fifth goal of the season. Julian Valerio ( Manalapan, NJ / Manalapan), the league’s leading assist man dropped a free kick to DeMatteo, who banged home a header past goalkeeper Nick Mele ( Delran, NJ / Delran) for the early Pioneers advantage.

And the Pioneers would make that lead hold up the rest of the first half as Dan Peragallo ( North Brunswick, NJ / North Brunswick) made five saves in the first half.

In the second half, Montclair would get the equalizing goal at the 59:58 mark. Tyler Masterson (Long Valley, NJ / West Morris Central), the NJAC Offensive Player of the Year, flipped a pass along the right side to Joe Cullen, who rifled a shot from 20 yards out into the upper left corner of the goal for his seventh of the year and a 1-1 tie.

Sixty two seconds later, it was Michael Cullen’s turn as he put MSU ahead to stay registering his seventh of the season off an assist from Esposito. Mele and Peragallo made saves to keep the game at 2-1 before Montclair added an insurance goal with 3:45 to go. This time is was Esposito connecting with Joe Cullen as Montclair State took the two-goal lead.

Peragallo finished with six saves while Mele had one. Montclair State outshot the Pioneers, 17-6 and also held a 5-2 edge in corner kicks