September 11, 2019

Atlantic Spotlight, Wk 2

By Contributor

It’s taken two weeks for some of the region’s top teams to right course, while a few other Atlantic contenders clashed in early season tournaments – including squads ranked in’s national preseason standings. Without full bodies of work, it’s hard to determine contenders from pretenders, but for now, we continue to look at a smaller sample size across the Atlantic region.

Muhlenberg holds strong, scores late, gets draw at Messiah

The Muhlenberg Mules (2-0-1) traveled to face the Messiah Falcons (1-2-1) and were outshot 10-2 in the first half while falling behind 1-0. The Mules played the perennial top team even up the rest of the way and got a tying goal in the 86th minute from senior Kevin Hagan. They left town with a better result than most teams do when visiting Grantham, PA. The Falcons are an astonishing 94-5-6 on their home turf this decade.

Mary Washington, Johns Hopkins top Montclair State in Baltimore.

In their three wins to start the season, the reigning New Jersey Athletic Conference champion (and No. 4 preseason pick) Montclair Red Hawks (3-2-0) continued the torrid scoring pace and solid defense they’d shown on their way to a final-eight appearance in the 2019 NCAA tourney. They’d outscored their opponents 22-0 and had yielded only seven shots, two of which were on goal. A trip to Baltimore this past weekend for the Blue Jay Invitational against two top teams would prove a great early season test.

First, the Red Hawks faced the Mary Washington Eagles (3-1-0) from the Capital Athletic Conference. After a tough scoreless first half, Montclair scored in the 55th minute. Soph Anthony Pelaez finished off a rebound in traffic for his first of the year, and while play was even the rest of the way, it was the scrappy Eagles who pushed through two late goals to pull out the win. In the 72nd, Ben Ahrens found Josh Everard in front and in the 80th minute junior Gabriel Soriano went unassisted from the top of box. The Eagles outshot their NJAC opponent 13-10 and put seven on goal.

Next up on Sunday were host Johns Hopkins. The Centennial Conference squad, coming off a 5-2 win over the Washington and Lee Generals a day earlier, decided to keep the ball out of the Red Hawks hands (feet). They spread the field, played from side-to-side, probed here, probed there, and were not hesitant to play it back and start the sequence over again. The ball control strategy paid off as the frustrated Red Hawks committed 19 fouls, were outshot 19-10, conceded nine corners to five of there own, and rarely challenged in the 2-0 Blue Jay triumph.

In the 22nd minute, Junior Julio Quintana sent a long ball to classmate Alejandro Maclean. He touched it to frosh Axel Whamond who touched it right back. Maclean’s blast found the right upper 90 to open the scoring. In the second half, junior RJ Moore sent a thru ball to Whamond who took on and got by a defender before rifling a shot through a tough angle toward goal. MSU junior goalie Michael Mejia got a hand on the shot, but it still deflected into the net. JH junior goalie Xander LeFevre finished with four saves to earn his first shutout of the year.

Stockton over Franklin and Marshall

On Wednesday, September 4, the Franklin and Marshall Diplomats (2-1-0) of the Centennial Conference traveled to Southern New Jersey to take on the NJAC’s Stockton Ospreys (3-1-1). The Diplomats come into the season ranked No. 7 in the preseason rankings and while they controlled the game, limiting Osprey chances to a single shot on goal, that one shot sent the Diplomats home with their first loss of the year.

In the 72nd minute, junior Ervin Gjeli headed home a cross from junior defender Max Bond for his first of the year, and despite constant pressure, F&M were unable to equalize. That’s because Junior Osprey keeper Dino Gromitsaris made six saves to record his first shutout of the year in the win.

Drew gets two late goals, takes down NYU. Wins again on Sunday

Freshman Kyle Bethel scored the first goal of his career to pull the Drew Rangers (3-1-0) even against New York University Violets (0-4-0) in the first game of the Brick City Classic hosted by the Rutgers-Newark Scarlet Raiders on Saturday afternoon. Five minutes later, the Rangers were awarded a penalty kick which was converted by senior Aidan Cserhat. But the game ball probably went to senior goalie Jason Adamo, who saved a penalty kick four minutes later to preserve the 2-1 win.

On Sunday, Drew and the Pfeiffer Falcons (1-2-0) were close through 60 minutes before the Rangers pulled away with three late goals, Bethel assisted on two of them in the 5-1 win.

NYU’s struggles continued as they fell to the Rutgers-Newark Scarlet Raiders (3-2-0) on Sunday afternoon. The teams fought through a scoreless first half before rookie Dino Brianco scored the first goal of his career after the restart, gathering his own rebound and rifling it into the back of the net.

NYU pressured throughout, but the Scarlet Raiders defense did not break. Sophomore goalie Andres Medina would collect five saves for his first complete shutout of the year in a 1-0 win.

Cortland State gets split against NJAC teams

The Cortland State Red Dragons (3-1-0) participated in the 19th annual Cialella Soccer Classic this past weekend. The Red Dragons enter 2019 as No. 2 in the preseason rankings. On Saturday they faced off against the Rowan Profs (3-1-0) while the host Rutgers-Camden Scarlet Raptors (4-1-0) were their Sunday opponent.

Prof freshman Jay Vandermark has had an instant impact to start the season. He scored two goals in each of the Profs first two matches (both wins) and in the 7th minute against the upstate Red Dragons headed home a restart from junior Mohamed Elgayar. The goal held up for the balance if the match, as goalie James Weinburg made five saves for his first complete game shutout of the season. Vandermark is not the only youngster impressing for the Profs, as they started five freshman and two sophomores against the highly ranked Red Dragons.

Cortland’s Sunday matchup against the Scarlet Raptors was just as competitive. In a thrilling game that appeared heading to overtime, Red Dragon senior Miguel Tunas broke the deadlock in the 80th minute. Tunas took a serve from senior Jake Keller and tucked one inside the right post passed Scarlet Raptors senior goalie Kyler White. The hosts threatened late, but the Red Dragons defense was tight, and senior goalie Sean Kelly made an 86th minute save to preserve the shutout.

Salisbury season starting well.

After opening the season with a tough 2-1 loss the Salisbury Sea Gulls (4-1-0) have run off four straight wins. Junior Dolph Hegewisch has led the way, dolling out five assists while netting two goals as well. Fellow junior Josh Woozley leads with three goals. This past weekend they took out the Kean Cougars (3-2-0) as well as Bridgewater (Va.) Eagles (1-4-0) while participating in the Seahawks Classic hosted by St. Mary’s (Md.).

The Sea Gulls needed a comeback against Kean, as the NJAC school got on the board in the 10th minute. Sophomore Matthew Almeida ripped a screamer off a feed from fellow soph Fanor Aragon. The goal held up for nearly 50 minutes, until senior Quincey Tyler set up junior Luke Ahalt for the Sea Gulls in the 59th. It was Hegewisch pushing through the game winner in the 77th minute, with senior Matt Hawkins getting the assist.

In the Sunday game, the Sea Gulls controlled play against the Eagles as they ran up three first half goals and only surrendered a late tally on their way to a convincing 4-1 win. Woozley netted two, Hegewisch assisted twice, and three Sea Gull keepers made saves while sharing the win.

Games with impact this coming week

Moravian @ Montclair State, York (Pa.) @ Johns Hopkins, Mary Washington @ Lynchburg, Mary Washington @ Roanoke, Ramapo @ Moravian, Muhlenberg @ Drew, Randolph Macon @ Catholic, Christopher Newport @ Trinity (Texas), Rowan @ Chicago


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Atlantic Spotlight


The weekly Atlantic Spotlight will survey the top Division III men's conferences and teams in the combined NCAA Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic Regions consisting of fifteen states.  The primary ones are Pennsylvania (45), Virginia (18), New Jersey (14), Maryland (10, North Carolina (9), Georgia (8), and New York (7). The remaining states are home to three or fewer schools with conference ties elsewhere: Alabama, Arkansas, D.C., Delaware, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee.


With so much territory to cover in a single column, we will focus primarily on the tradionally stronger conferences such as the CAC, Centennial, Landmark, Commonwealth, and the NJAC.  Expect to see contests involving teams in our Top 25 typically against perceived stronger opponents along with teams on the rise.


We will look at some of the key match-ups, results, and standout performances, identifying who is trending up and who is trending down each week.

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