For the first time since 2002, NYU Violets men’s soccer defeated the Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks 1-0 at Gaelic Park. This victory puts the Violets atop their division and adds to a historic 4-0-0 start.
The team has never begun their season with four consecutive victories.
“It’s a great start, but we can’t get carried away,” Violets coach Joe Behan said.
Coming off a 2-1 victory over the William Paterson Pioneers on Wednesday, Sept. 5, the Violets intended to keep their streak running.
“It was our best chance to beat Stevens,” said senior forward Paolo Luciano, who scored the game-winning goal at 58 minutes.
Luciano played through an arm injury he suffered in the 32nd minute, which was treated after the game. Luciano’s one-touch sliding goal was possible thanks to a handball called against Stevens Tech in the midfield. The free kick was taken by defender Tino Kardassis, which led to low a header from forward Kyle Green and finally put into the back of the net by Luciano. Before this, Luciano had not yet scored a goal.
“I’ve had a few rough games, so to put the ball in was great,” Luciano said.
The chemistry between starting forwards Luciano and Green was visible throughout the game, even though Green’s presence seemed to diminish at certain points during the second half. Nevertheless, NYU dominated the midfield and held possession with efficient passing. Sophomore midfielder Nimo Bergstroem made crucial steals and passes.
“After the first 15 to 20 minutes we had it, and we knew it,” Luciano said.
For the first five minutes of the second half, Stevens Tech controlled the ball and stunned the Violets. But in both halves, the Violets maintained defensive pressure and structure that was directed by junior left back Juan Velez. Velez played with a sprained ankle, but was still the main contributor to locking down the lower third of the field. This effort kept Stevens Tech to only three shots on goal and four attempts that missed wide.
The only real danger posed by the Ducks came from a set piece in the 89th minute. Following a late tackle by Velez, who was given a yellow card, a dangerously close free kick was blocked by senior goalkeeper Jonas Poster. The Violets made many offensive mistakes in the final third of the field rather than the Duck’s imposing a stronger defense. Luciano said there were many missed chances for goal scoring.
Both Luciano and Velez believe the University Athletic Association Championship is in the not-so-distant future.
The Violets’ next match will be on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 2:30 p.m. against the City College of New York at Purchase College.
In a previous version of this article, WSN incorrectly reported that this was the first time NYU Violet’s men’s soccer had beaten Stevens since 2006. In fact, it was the first time since 2002. WSN also reported that NYU men’s soccer has never begun its season with four consecutive victories. In fact the team started the season 5-0 in 1994. WSN also reported that the victory put the Violets atop their division. In fact, the team has yet to play a conference game. WSN regrets these errors.
A version of this article appeared in the Sept. 10 print edition. Francisco Navas is a contributing writer. Email him at [email protected]