NEWARK, N.J. -- The top-seeded NJIT Highlanders captured its first ASUN Conference Men's Soccer Championship title with a dramatic 2-1 victory over No. 2 FGCU Saturday night at Lubetkin Field at Mal Simon Stadium in Newark, N.J.
At the 85:02 mark of the match, NJIT's Regsan Watkins, the Championship MVP, netted a loose ball in the box and punched it past FGCU goalkeeper Connor Gavigan. Andrew Nino was credited with the assist which put the Highlanders up 2-1. Trailing 1-0 in the second half, NJIT (10-4-4) tied it up in the 70th minute on a score by ASUN Freshman of the Year Alejandro Rabell. Gavigan saved a Thomas Radon free kick from just outside the box but Rabell was there to collect the rebound and slip it into the back of the net for the score.
After a back and forth first half, FGCU's Noah Bushey scored his first goal of the season with just 12 seconds remaining in the half. Bushey took a pass from Titouan Le Menec, turned and scored a nifty shot to the upper left to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead at halftime.
After Freshman of the Year Alejandro Rabell tied the match, Regsan Watkins netted the game-winner in the 86th minute as he slipped it by FGCU goalkeeper Connor Gavigan to the lower left. The assist was credited to Andrew Nino.
- 44:48 - FGCU's Noah Bushey (Titouan Le Menec)
- 69:39 - NJIT's Alejandro Rabell (Thomas Radon)
- 85:02 - NJIT's Regsan Watkins (Andrew Nino)
Inside The Box Score
- FGCU's Ivan Rosales led all players with five shots in the match; Thomas Radon had a team-high for NJIT with three.
- The Eagles held a 15-12 shot advantage while corner kicks were even at three apiece.
- NJIT goalkeeper Samuel Reisgys made seven saves in goal while his counterpart Connor Gavigan had six.
- Attendance for the ASUN Championship title game was 735.
News & Notes
- NJIT becomes the ninth No. 1 seed to win the title since the tournament went to the six-seeded format in 1998 and only the second in the last seven years.
- This was the first ASUN Championship title won by an NJIT team in any sport.
- The Highlanders improve to 8-1-1 in its last 10 matches
- FGCU dropped its first-ever ASUN Championship title match after being a perfect 4-0-0 in its previous four contests.
- The NJIT vs. FGCU contest was the first time the top two seeds met in the ASUN Championship since 2012.
- This was the first meeting between these two programs in ASUN Championship history; FGCU holds a 3-2-0 all-time advantage in the series history.
Regsan Watkins, NJIT (MVP)
Shak Adams, FGCU
Thomas Delplace, FGCU
O'Vonte Mullings, FGCU
Ivan Rosales, FGCU
Noah Gulden, Lipscomb
Ben Locke, Lipscomb
Alejandro Rabell, NJIT
Thomas Radon, NJIT
Rene White, NJIT
Sebastian Chalbaud, Stetson
NJIT earns the ASUN's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament and awaits its opponent and location on the NCAA Selection Show which is scheduled for Monday at 1 PM ET on NCAA.com. The FGCU Eagles conclude its season with a 9-8-2 record.
ABOUT THE ASUN
The ASUN Conference is an NCAA Division I league with nine member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The ASUN meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement through a true balance between student and athlete. Six ASUN schools reside in Nielsen Top 50 national media markets, and all nine are in top 80 markets. The ASUN includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Liberty University, Lipscomb University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of North Alabama, University of North Florida and Stetson University. Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., joins the ASUN for the 2020-21 academic year.