The lights shined bright on a brisk October night as the Red Hawks took the field. The stands were filled with loud Montclair State University fans as fireworks shot off in the background, which created vibrations that echoed to the bleacher seats. Though it might have been a cold evening, the weather did not have any effect on the tempo and energy the men in white brought.
The Montclair State men’s soccer team defeated their division opponent Rutgers-Newark on Saturday night 3-0. Freshman forwards Oscar Sanchez, Erick Chicas and freshman midfielder Justin Goldberg all found the back of the net. The Red Hawks now have nine wins, four losses and a perfect home record of 8-0.
Montclair State were on the offensive end for the majority of the first half, not letting Rutgers-Newark get too comfortable. Multiple opportunities came to Montclair State, but it wasn’t until the 20th minute, where Sanchez crouched all the way down and headed the ball into the bottom right corner, netting his eighth goal of the year.
Colin MulIigan, senior midfielder and team captain, talked about Sanchez’s impact on the team.
“He’s been putting in goals that we need, we love having him,” Mulligan said.
The pace for Montclair State continued, but things began to escalate in the closing minutes of the first half. Although the Scarlet Raiders only had a handful of possessions on the offensive end, the team had multiple chances to tie-up the match before heading to halftime. The box started to get crowded as attempts began to flourish by the Scarlet Raiders.
Despite being challenged by the opposition, junior goalkeeper Michael Mejia and the Red Hawks defense deflected the ball and stopped anything from getting into the net. The crowd gave a loud roaring cheer as the ball was finally cleared out of traffic.
Things didn’t go in favor for Rutgers-Newark, but for the Red Hawks, Goldberg scored a goal with four seconds left which gave the opponents a crushing blow headed into the half.
To begin the second half, tensions increased, tempers flared and the game began to get more physical. Mulligan prefers his teammates to keep their composure and stay focused in order to play to the best of their ability.
Between all of the aggressive play, in minute 69, Chicas wound up and hit a strike to the back of the net from an assist from Sanchez, putting the game out of reach for the Scarlet Raiders.
Mulligan, along with the team, only have two home games left. When asked about the thought of taking the field for the final time in his college career, he was left puzzled.
“I’ll take it one game at a time and appreciate every game I have on this field and enjoy every moment I have here,” Mulligan said.
Montclair State jumped from the ninth seed to the sixth seed in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) standings with the win on Saturday, and have an even record of 2-2 in conference play.