The Navy men’s soccer team dropped its second-straight match to start the 2018 season following a 2-1 set back at NJIT on Monday afternoon in Hillside, N.J.
The Highlanders (2-0-0) scored two goals in a five-minute span to take a 2-0 lead over the Midshipmen (0-2-0) after 16 minutes of play. Nicko West was the lone goal scorer for the Mids in the match.
“The effort we gave today to try and come from behind was good to see,” head coach Tim O’Donohue remarked after the match. “We have to learn and improve. I like how we have played as a team, but we have some early lessons to learn from. NJIT was opportunistic early and it was too much to overcome.”
Navy got off to a slow start in the match against NJIT after the Highlanders took a quick 2-0 lead in the first 16 minutes of the contest. During that time span, NJIT recorded three shots in an eight-minute span to put the Midshipmen behind early.
However, Navy started to turn the tide and apply some offensive pressure of its own. Right after a double substitution, Ben Nicholas — who just came on in the 19th minute — forced the Highlander goalkeeper, Victor Pujades, to make his first save of the day.
Less than one minute later, Jacob Williams tried to get the Midshipmen on the board, but Pujades made a diving save at the back post for NJIT to keep the Highlanders ahead by two goals.
The Midshipmen continued to press offensively facing a two-goal deficit as they notched the next six shots in the match following the first three from NJIT.
West scored the first goal of the season for Navy in the 26th minute to cut the Midshipmen’s deficit in half. After Williams placed his second shot on goal, West corralled the rebound and slotted it past Pujades to make it a 2-1 contest.
At the end of the first half, the Midshipmen held a 6-4 advantage in shots and a 4-2 edge in shots on goal.
Right out of the gate in the second half, Navy continued to keep the offensive pressure on NJIT with a corner kick — its fourth of the match — and a shot in the first minute after halftime.
The Highlanders offense came back alive in the second half recording six shots in the final 45 minutes. After firing just one shot toward goal in the first 35 minutes of the second half, Navy tried to make one last push at tying the match in final 10 minutes of action. However, the Midshipmen generated just two shots down the stretch and suffered a 2-1 loss.
NJIT outshot Navy, 10-9, but the Midshipmen held a 4-2 advantage in shots on goal. Following nine corner kicks on Friday against Manhattan, Navy had seven corner kicks on Monday against the Highlanders.
The goal from West was his second career goal after his first collegiate goal came on Sept. 9, 2017, at home against James Madison.
Monday’s result marks the sixth-straight match the Midshipmen have lost a one-goal decision, dating back to last season.
Navy returns home on Friday night to host Air Force at 7 p.m. from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to start a four-match homestand.
-Via Navy Athletics
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