The Red Hawks men’s soccer team won a hotly contested game against Haverford College 3-2 after junior midfielder Mike Taranto broke the tie late in the game.
Montclair State (5-0) lined up in its usual 4-2-3-1 formation, with Tyler Daly, John Starner, Joey Barajo and Kyle Goodwin making up the back four.
Taranto and Kevin Simek started in the midfield, while, from right to left, Damian Bziukiewicz, Rafael Terci and Matt Hendrickson made up the attacking 3, while Lucas Terci played up top as the lone striker.
The game was back and forth early, with both teams playing very fast and looking to break when they won the ball back. Montclair State was able to grab an early goal when Bziukiewicz played L. Terci down the right.
L. Terci took a touch and then crossed low and hard, finding Bziukiewicz. He poked the ball from 6 yards out off the keeper, then bouncing again off of a defender and into the back of the net.
Quickly after that, Haverford captain Peter Garosh was played through centrally and found himself one-on-one with Mike Salfraank, who came quickly off his line and smothered Garosh’s first time effort from 15 yards.
Montclair State was able to seize control of the game after about 15 minutes, using its speed and physicality to institute a high press and to continue to pin Haverford in its own half.
In the 18th minute, R. Terci slipped in his brother with a lovely weighted pass, but his shot went inches wide of the left post from about 12 yards.
A minute later, L. Terci was able to make up for his spurned chance, as Montclair State had earned a penalty kick when Matt Hendrickson was taken down in the box. Terci stepped up and slotted the ball hard and low to the right side, beating the keeper, who had guessed correctly.
After Montclair State went up 2-0, they seemed a little complacent, perhaps thinking they would waltz to victory. After a physical, yet uneventful next 10 minutes, an errant backpass from substitute midfielder Brendan Guzman was picked up by Ryan Hill of Haverford at the top of the box, who took a touch and curled a brilliant finish into the side netting from This goal seemed to give Haverford life, as the ‘fords came out pressing high after the halftime break. Haverford soon tied the game at 2 a piece, when Tejan Walcott jumped on a poor Montclair State clearance and slotted home from 10 yards. John Starner had done an excellent job man-marking Walcott for the duration of the game until this point.
Quickly after the restart, Taranto played a sublime through ball from deep in midfield that split two defenders and sent L. Terci clear on goal. He was taken down from behind in a last ditch effort by Haverford center-back Reiss Berger at the top of the 18 yard box. The foul could have justified a red card, as Berger denied L. Terci a clear goal scoring opportunity, but the referee saw otherwise and only gave him a yellow.
The next 15 minutes of the game were very scrappy and physical, with both teams committing fouls and fighting for the ball. The Red Hawks dominated possession but were denied any clear chances until the 70th minute. A Montclair State cross was cleared to the top of the 18, where Taranto trapped it, feinted a shot, took a touch to give himself space and blasted a rising shot from about 20 yards into the top left corner of the goal. This marked Taranto’s first goal for the Red Hawks, having missed his first two seasons due to injury and what a way to open up his account. The shot was pure class.
Lifted by the goal, Montclair was able to buckle down and maintain possession, earning a decisive non-conference victory and improving to 6-0 on the season.