Men's Soccer Falls Short in NJAC Championship Bid

Box Score

Montclair, NJ (11/2/11) – Rutgers University-Camden men’s soccer co-captain Chris Edelschein (Medford Lakes, NJ/Shawnee) spent the first two years of his collegiate career winning New Jersey Athletic Conference championships at Montclair State University.

In a twist of fate here Saturday afternoon, it was Edelschein’s goal that brought down his former team and lifted Rutgers-Camden to a 1-0 victory for the first NJAC title in program history.

The senior midfielder headed in a restart from sophomore forward Mitch Grotti (Milmay, NJ/Millville)  13:19 into the second half as the Scarlet Raptors broke through to capture their first title after losing 1-0 decisions in the NJAC championship game in both 2005 and 2008.

The 2008 loss came against perennial power Montclair State, which won four straight titles from 2006-2009. Edelschein contributed to the Red Hawks’ 2007 and 2008 championships.

Rutgers-Camden, which was the top seed in the NJAC playoffs, improves to 16-2-2, tying its program record for wins set in 2008, and earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Championships, which begin next week. The Raptors, who will be making their second appearance in the NCAA tourney and first since 2008, will learn their opponent when the brackets are announced Monday afternoon.

Montclair State, the second seed in the NJAC tournament, falls to 15-3-3. The Red Hawks also await the NCAA selection show on Monday to see if they will earn an at-large berth.

Rutgers-Camden, which entered the game ranked No. 10 in the NSCAA Division III Top 25 poll and No. 13 in the poll, improved its unbeaten streak to 14 games (12-0-2) while recording its fourth consecutive shutout. Scarlet Raptor senior goalie Tim VanLiew (Deptford, NJ/Deptford) extended his current scoreless streak to 423:05 as he made four saves to notch his 10th shutout of the season. It was his 30th career shutout, extending his program record.

Montclair State, meanwhile, entered the game ranked No. 25 in the NSCAA poll and No. 21 in the poll. The Red Hawks, who saw their seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1) snapped, hadn’t lost a game since a 3-1 setback on the same field against the Scarlet Raptors Oct. 8. Montclair State also hadn’t dropped a NJAC playoff game since losing to Ramapo in 2005, going 10-0-1 in the conference tournament since that time.

In a matchup featuring two of the top teams in the country, let alone the NJAC, scoring opportunities were limited on both sides. Montclair State held a slight advantage in shots, 14-12. The Red Hawks held a 9-5 edge in the second half, with the bulk of that margin coming after falling behind by a goal.
Rutgers-Camden held a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks.

Locked in a scoreless battle, a Montclair State foul gave the Raptors a restart about 35 yards out on the right side of the field. He sent the ball to the far left post, where Edelschein ran onto the play and headed in his second goal of the year.
Montclair State nearly tied the game with 6:45 remaining in regulation when senior Dan Hernandez (Englewood, NJ/Paramus Catholic) sent a long ball toward the far right post. It just eluded the sliding foot of freshman Maxx Wurzburger (Glen Rock, NJ/Glen Rock).

Prior to Edelschein’s lone goal, Putmon barely missed breaking the scoreless game with a shot barely over the crossbar in the 55th minute. The Red Hawks, meanwhile, had a near goal moments later when a shot by senior midfielder Kevin Zalewski (Parsippany, NJ/Parsippany) just sailed over the bar.

Junior Anthony Rogic (Boonton, NJ/Morris Catholic) finished with one save for Montclair State.