GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Richard Stockton College hosted a “blackout” soccer doubleheader Wednesday in which both the men’s and women’s teams played New Jersey Athletic Conference rival Rowan University.
The women won 1-0, and the men lost 2-1 in overtime.
Stockton students and fans were encouraged to wear black and more than 400 people had arrived by the beginning of the women’s game.
The women began the doubleheader by beating the Profs on a goal by junior Jacque Becker.
After a conservative first half in which each team registered only one shot on goal, Stockton came out firing. The Ospreys controlled the play in the second half, keeping the ball consistently in the offensive zone and outshooting Rowan 8-0.
Becker was able to break through with 32 minutes, 26 seconds remaining when a shot by Briana Fischer got deflected inside the box. The ball took a high bounce to where Becker and
teammate Jessica Balnis (Buena Regional High School) each attempted to play it, and Becker got off a header that beat Rowan goalie Maria Dorris.
“One of our defenders kicked it on a throughball and Balnis and I each went up for it,” Becker said. “We both called for it, so it kind of confused the goalie and I was able to get it past her.”
After the goal, Stockton did not let up and continued to control the play. With 19 minutes remaining, Dailey Todd (Millville) took a turnaround shot from the six that forced Dorris to make a quick save. With six minutes remaining, Becker had another chance that hit the crossbar after Dorris made a jumping save. With 4:30 left, Balnis took a header from in close where Dorris made a diving save.
As time ran out, the Stockton fans in the “blackout” cheered and congratulated the women as they improved to 7-2-1 on the year. Rowan fell to 5-2.
“Stockton people are great people,” Stockton women’s coach Nick Juengert said. “We appreciate them coming out. It makes our girls player harder.”
Becker said a large crowd is fun to play in front of.
“We were definitely amped up,” Becker said. “We heard them, and from the beginning we wanted to win this thing, because we deserved it.”
Fans continued to filter in for the men’s game that followed. By halftime, more than 200 additional fans had filled the stands, bringing the official total to 626.
The first half of the men’s game also moved at a conservative pace with Rowan recording the only shot on goal. Stockton had a chance to score with 5:40 remaining in the half when a long shot hit traffic inside the box, but the Ospreys could not get a clean shot on net.
The second half moved much faster and Rowan struck first just under four minutes into the half. Christian Fountain found the back of the net for the Profs when he converted a cross from Shane Dooley with a header.
“We had one defensive breakdown early in the second half,” Ospreys coach Jeff Haines said. “It’s what we talked about at halftime. We said if they’re going to score, it’s going to come from that spot and it did.”
The Ospreys carried the play for much of the rest of regulation and peppered Profs goalie Michael Fanz-Huster (Hammonton) with shots. At the end of the second half, Stockton had a 17-6 shots advantage.
The Ospreys got the equalizer with 13:36 remaining in regulation when a corner kick caused a loose ball inside the box and the Ospreys’ Peter Turowski was taken down while trying to get a shot. Stockton was awarded a penalty kick that Pat Rafferty converted into the bottom right corner.
“There wasn’t much going through my head right then,” Rafferty said. “There was a big crowd and we were down a goal so there was some pressure. I just tried to stay calm and scored the goal.”
Rowan scored with 3:53 left in overtime when Dave Schwartz scored on a header off a throw in by Ryan Gordon.
The loss gave the Ospreys a split in the rivalry doubleheader, but the players found solace in the atmosphere created.
“I loved it,” Rafferty, a junior, said of the crowd. “This was the first time since I’ve been at Stockton that we’ve had a crowd this big. We were out here playing in front of all our peers, faculty and friends.”
Contact Jeff Sporer:
Rowan University 0 0 0
Richard Stockton 0 1 1
Goalies—Dorris (8) R. Hinkle (1) S.
Records—Rowan 5-2 (2-1), Stockton 7-2-1 (2-1).
Rowan University 0 1 1 2
Richard Stockton 0 1 0 1
Goals— Fountain, Gordon R. Rafferty S.
Goalies—Fanz-Huster (5) R. Millar (3) S.
Records—Rowan 5-4 (1-2), Stockton 4-4-1 (2-2).