On a chilly Wednesday night, NYU men’s soccer defeated the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy 1-0 at Gaelic Park with a last-minute penalty kick by senior forward Paolo Luciano. This win extends the Violets’ undefeated streak to 7-0-0.
“What a way to win,” head coach Joe Behan said.
With 10 seconds left in the game, the Mariners conceded a penalty kick off a handball in the box. Senior captain Niki Chow, who usually takes penalty kicks for the team, was available to take the kick. However Luciano, who has been performing well offensively, got the chance instead.
“Luciano is the spark,” assistant coach Ryan Finnigan said.
When asked what his thoughts were before taking the penalty kick, Luciano said he “didn’t want to go to overtime.”
“No one wants to have to work extra,” Luciano said.
“I feel sorry for the opposition, but we deserved it,” Behan said.
NYU controlled the ball throughout the game, and the Mariners were unable to penetrate the bottom third of the field.
“We had a couple of shaky moments but we had a strong backline,” Luciano said.
Junior defender Juan Velez, who is one of the most solid players on the field, dominated the defensive line. With his leadership, the Violets have only conceded two goals so far this season.
This shutout adds to goalies senior Jonas Poster and sophomore Forrest Sexton’s combined clean slate, which now amounts to 377 minutes.
Coach Behan’s 3-5-2 formation was an important factor, contributing to this early-season success. The strong five-player midfield directed by Chow and sophomore midfielder Nimo Bergstroem adjusted swiftly and quickly dropped back to aid in defense.
“It is imperative to continue to work hard in order to fulfill our goals of maximizing our full potential,” Finnigan said.
Finningan also commended senior forward Kyle Green, who recorded a match-high five shots, for his great performance.
The Violets return to the pitch on Monday, Sept.24, at 5 p.m. against Hunter College at Randall’s Island Field.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 20 print edition. Francisco Navas is a contributing writer. Email him at [email protected]