By Mike Ballard
RAPTOR OF THE WEEK
Junior Ryan Evans continued to step up for the Rutgers-Camden men's soccer team as the Scarlet Raptors posted a pair of ties on the road against national powers this week. Evans, who plays both fullback and forward, was part of the Raptors' defensive unit which shut down powerful Franklin & Marshall College in a 0-0 tie Oct. 18. A few days later, he notched the tying goal with 3:24 remaining in regulation to help Rutgers-Camden tie Ramapo College, 1-1, Oct. 22. It was Evans' second late-game tying goal of the season. On Sept. 20 at Rowan, his goal with 1:01 left in regulation helped the Raptors gain a 2-2 tie.
MEN’S SOCCER (9-4-5 overall/4-2-2 NJAC)
Wed. 25 at New Jersey City University 3 p.m.
With the New Jersey Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer Championships quickly approaching, the final regular-season games are becoming a battle for the top teams to jockey for playoff seedings.
Junior forward Ryan Evans (Medford, NJ/Shawnee) helped Rutgers-Camden pick up a big point Oct. 22, scoring the tying goal with 3:24 left in regulation as the Scarlet Raptors tied Ramapo College, 1-1, in a double overtime NJAC battle.
The tie gives the Scarlet Raptors a 9-4-5 record overall and, more importantly, leaves them at 4-2-2 in the NJAC with one game remaining. With 14 points, the Raptors are two points behind second-place New Jersey City University in the battle for one of the two first-round byes when the NJAC playoffs begin Saturday. Those two teams will decide that race on the field, as Rutgers-Camden travels to NJCU Wednesday for a 3 p.m. contest in the regular-season finale.
Ramapo College, which has been ranked as high as No. 11 nationally in the d3kicks.com Top 25 poll this season, stands at 10-5-1 overall and is 3-4-1 in the conference. The Roadrunners are locked in a three-way tie for the sixth and final playoff spot.
Ramapo is one of eight teams on the Scarlet Raptors’ 2006 schedule which has been ranked in either the NSCAA/adidas Top 25 or the d3kicks.com Top 25 polls at points during this season. The Raptors have gone 2-2-3 against the first seven entering their season-ending game against New Jersey City University, which is currently ranked No. 16 in the d3kicks.com poll and No. 21 in the NSCAA/adidas poll.
Evans scored his third goal of the season on a 12-yard volley, assisted by junior midfielder Pat Baldiserra (Milmay, NJ/Buena Regional). That goal wiped out Ramapo’s 1-0 lead, which came on a goal at 78:55 on a 25-yard shot by senior Jamie Biwald, assisted by freshman David Marin.
The two teams battled through a pair of scoreless 10-minute overtime periods before the Raptors earned their second consecutive road tie. Rutgers-Camden is 4-1-2 in its last seven games.
Rutgers Camden out-shot Ramapo, 17-12, including 4-1 in overtime. The Raptors also held a 9-1 advantage in corner kicks. Raptor senior goalie David Cunningham (Voorhees, NJ/Eastern Regional) made five saves and Roadrunner senior goalkeeper Patrick Jagodzinski stopped 11.
The tie at Ramapo came after another impressive tie on the road Oct. 18 in Lancaster, Penn. Battling a team that hadn’t lost since opening day and was ranked No. 19 nationally, the Scarlet Raptors played to a 0-0 tie in double overtime against the Franklin & Marshall College Diplomats.
Franklin & Marshall, 11-1-2, moved up to 19th nationally in the NSCAA/adidas Division III Top 25 released Oct. 17. The Diplomats haven’t lost since a 2-1 setback against Elizabethtown College in their season opener Sept. 6. The only other blemish on their record before playing the Raptors was a 1-1 tie against Muhlenberg Sept. 27. Since then they had rattled off five straight wins, including four by shutout margins, while outscoring their opponents, 13-1.
Rutgers-Camden, however, held the high-powered Diplomats in check to notch its eighth team shutout of the season. Senior goalie David Cunningham (Voorhees, NJ/Eastern Regional) collected five saves as he raised his record to 7-2-4. It was his fourth individual shutout of the year and the first shutout against Franklin & Marshall.
The Diplomats, who also received seven votes toward the latest d3kicks.com poll, held a 14-7 advantage in shots.
Franklin & Marshall senior goalie Ed Stelz made two saves to record his shutout.
WOMEN’S SOCCER (9-7-1 overall/2-5 NJAC)
On a night where she set the Rutgers University-Camden women’s soccer career record for games played, senior Katie O’Connor (Sewell, NJ/Washington Township) also provided the winning goal.
O’Connor headed in the first goal of the game off a corner kick from senior forward Aubree McDermott (Moorestown, NJ/Moorestown) and the Lady Raptors went on to defeat Wesley College, 2-0, in a non-conference game on a rainy night in Dover, Delaware, Oct. 17.
O’Connor scored her fourth goal of the season at 58:50 off the eighth assist of the season by McDermott. McDermott added an insurance goal at 85:50 off a restart from junior midfielder Brittney Mancine (Mt. Laurel, NJ/Lenape).
O’Connor was playing in her 16th game of the season for the Lady Raptors, giving her 75 games over her four-year career. She broke the program’s career record of 74 games played set by Katlyn Pagaduan (2002-2005).
The victory snapped the Raptors’ two-game losing streak in which Rutgers-Camden scored only one goal in that span.
Rutgers-Camden junior keeper Kristen Cargen (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill East) collected two saves to record her first shutout of the season. The Raptors have six shutouts all together, with five of them split between Cargen and sophomore Jayme Gatti (Delran, NJ/Delran).
For Wesley, junior goalie Brittany Block made nine saves, including seven in the first half.
Rutgers-Camden out-shot Wesley, 16-2, and held a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks.
The Raptors also had a commanding advantage in shots in their second game of the week, but none of them found the net as they lost in double-overtime against New Jersey Athletic Conference foe Ramapo College Oct. 21 in Camden. The loss, coupled with wins that day by both Kean and William Paterson, eliminated the Raptors from the NJAC playoff hunt.
Ramapo junior midfielder Jessica Giordano scored the only goal of the game with 33 seconds remaining in the second overtime to power the Roadrunners to a 1-0 NJAC victory.
With time winding down in a scoreless battle, Ramapo senior midfielder Nicole Giancaspro sent a cross from the right wing to an open Giordano, who carried into the top of the box and hit a shot inside the left post for the winning goal. It was her second goal of the year and first game-winning goal. It also was the second assist for Giancaspro.
The victory was the second straight for the Roadrunners and their first over Rutgers-Camden since a 1-0 win in 2000. It evened the all-time series at 3-3-2.
Rutgers-Camden had the better chances throughout most of the game as it held a 19-9 advantage in shots and an 8-5 edge in corner kicks. The Roadrunners cleared one dangerous Raptor chance on a flurry in the box in the last few minutes of regulation.
Ramapo’s best chance prior to its winning goal came when junior Chrissy Giordano hit a shot off the top of the left post with 19:43 remaining in regulation.
Cargen made five saves for the Raptors in the loss. Ramapo junior keeper Samantha Gribben had 10 saves to earn her fifth shutout of the year.
VOLLEYBALL (6-16 overall/1-7 NJAC)
Sat. 21 at Widener University tri-match
The Rutgers-Camden volleyball team snapped a nine-match losing streak during the week when it swept past Chestnut Hill College, 30-23, 30-17, 30-21, Oct. 19 in Camden. The Lady Raptors didn’t fare as well in the rest of their matches as they were swept at New Jersey City University Oct. 17 (15-30, 12-30, 25-30) and lost a tri-match at Widener University Oct. 21, being swept by both Neumann College (14-30, 27-30, 16-30) and Widener (11-30, 26-30, 19-30).
In their win over Chestnut Hill, junior setter Julie Grochowski (Williamstown, NJ/Williamstown) had eight kills, 26 assists, 20 digs and two solo blocks to pace the Lady Raptors.
Rutgers-Camden rallied from an 11-3 deficit in the opening game, finally taking the lead for good at 16-15. In the second game, with Chestnut Hill taking an early 5-3 lead, Rutgers-Camden bounced back to take the lead for good behind the strong serving of freshman middle/outside hitter Heather Pohorely (Lebanon, NJ/Hunterdon Central), who finished the game with five kills, four aces and 11 digs.
Rutgers-Camden built a big lead in the third game and closed out the sweep.
Freshman middle hitter Marci Polite (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill East) collected five kills and 12 digs, while freshman middle hitter Natalie Powell (Williamstown, NJ/Williamstown) added four kills, 12 assists and 20 digs.
Freshman opposite Deanne Linen (Williamstown, NJ/Williamstown) also had a strong match, collecting five kills, two service aces and six digs, while sophomore setter Nikki Cosico (Sewell, NJ/Washington Township) notched a match-high 22 digs and added one service ace. Sophomore outside hitter Kathleen Dreitlein (Berkeley Heights, NJ/Governor Livingston), playing in only her fourth match since joining the team, led the Raptors with five solo blocks, while adding two kills.
For the Griffins, junior outside hitter Lisa Doria collected eight kills, five aces, 11 digs and four blocks, while sophomore middle hitter Marianne Finfrock had seven kills, four aces, 13 digs, one block and one assist.
In their New Jersey Athletic Conference loss at NJCU, the Raptors watched junior middle blocker Lizzelle Cintron collect 18 kills and hit .727 to move into 17th place in Division III history in kills. Sophomore setter Sofia Gutierrez added 17 assists to reach the 2,000-plateau for her career for the Gothic Knights.
Cintron, who has dominated the NJAC Player of the Week awards this season by winning five of the seven honors, entered the match with 2,022 kills in her career. She vaulted past three players into 17th place in Division III history with 2,040 kills.
Camden received a team-high 11 kills (11-5-22), two aces and a .273 percentage from Polite. Grochowski had 13 assists, six kills (6-3-14, .214), five digs, and two solo blocks.
(Town & Country Golf Links, Woodstown, NJ)
The golf team will close the fall season when it hosts the Rutgers University-Camden Scarlet Raptors Fall Invitational on Friday, Oct. 27.
The Scarlet Raptors took the week off from competition and will race again Saturday, Oct. 28, in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championships at Richard Stockton College.
Sat. 21-Sun. 22 Head of the Charles Regatta
Collegiate Fours Women
Rutgers-Camden, 24:53.363 (25th of 27 teams). Winner: Bucknell University, 20:27.227
The Rutgers-Camden crew team finished 25th out of 27 teams in the Women’s Collegiate Fours race Oct. 21 at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Mass. The Lady Raptors posted a time of 24:53.363 in the race won by Bucknell University (20:27.227).
The Raptors close their fall season Oct. 28 in the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta in Philadelphia.