By JULIAN BELL
(TEANECK) – The men’s soccer team was evenly matched against The Blackbirds on Oct. 30, when they tied at 1 in a double overtime thriller. The Knights have since clinched an NEC Tournament spot.
Fairleigh Dickinson (10-4-3), third overall in the NEC, was aggressive in the first period. They scored within the first eight minutes of the contest after freshman forward Jacob Labovitz scored his sixth goal of the season.
LIU Brooklyn (5-8-3, 4-2 NEC) searched for an answer, but were unsuccessful. Junior defender Filip Nordström shot at the goal, but was blocked. The Blackbirds sought after the goal, but the Knights’ defense held them o . Sophomore mid elder Giuseppe Barone was next to attack, but FDU freshman goalie Jahmali Waite was already there to make a play.
Both teams went back- and-forth for the remainder of the first period, with FDU up 1-nil.
The Blackbirds were looking for daylight at the start of the second. Sophomore mid elder Chris Solbakken put up a shot that was saved by Waite, who made three that evening. LIU found their opening 11 minutes in, when Solbakken hit his target with a low shot, making good for his third goal of the season.
The Knights wanted to close out the game in the final minutes of the second period. Junior forward Ahu Obhakhan went for a shot that was blocked, with nine minutes remaining before overtime. Both teams were tied at 1 and the rest of the period was a tug-of-war.
The Blackbirds were the aggressors at the start of the extra period. Junior forward Ahmad Elfaham took a shot that missed wide 94 minutes into the contest. The Knights regained possession two minutes later and a shot by FDU freshman forward Jacob Labovitz was right on target, but the save was made by Blackbird goalie Anthony Sciola. He had three saves on the night.
The Knights went after the goal again before time ran out. Sophomore mid elder Daniel Lasarte nearly made a goal in the last minute of additional play, but The Blackbirds held on and made another save on the goal. Both teams were still tied at 1.
FDU started o the action in their final opportunity to seal the game. Labovitz went after the goal with a shot that was too high. Labovitz attacked the goal again to close out the game just minutes later, but LIU remained disciplined in front of the box and made another save. The match was declared a draw after neither team scored in the final period of extra play.
The Knights and the Blackbirds each finished with 10 shots each and three saves on the goal. FDU had more fouls than their opponent with seven, while LIU had six. The Blackbirds saw two yellow cards versus The Knights, who were only issued one.
Freshman Jacob Labovitz led FDU in their tie game, finishing with four shots, three of which were on the goal, and one goal. He was recently named NEC Player Rookie of the Week after his dominant performance in the regular season. Daniel Lasarte was another impact player that night, with two shots, one on the goal, and one assist to help Labovitz score. Obhakhan went after the goal twice.
Chris Solbakken led LIU Brooklyn with two
shots on the goal and his lone goal in the second period. Filip Nordstrom and Rasmus Hansen were a good supporting cast each finishing with two shots on goal and one assist for the night.
The Knights have since clinched an NEC Tournament berth with a 3-0 win over Sacred Heart on Nov. 3, entering as the number three seed, with the Blackbirds as the second seed. The two teams will meet in the NEC Tournament semi finals on Friday, Nov. 10 at LIU Brooklyn in Brooklyn Heights to decide who will get a chance to play for the NEC title.