FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Ronaldo Vieira's (Farmington, Mass.) goal in the 72nd minute Tuesday night earned the Sacred Heart men's soccer team a 2-1 win over the NJIT Highlanders at Campus Field. The victory is the Pioneers' first of the 2013 season.
It was NJIT (0-2) that tallied the opening goal of the match as Marko Drljic pounced on a loose ball and cracked a shot from about 20 yards out into the upper part of the goal, giving the Highlanders a 1-0 lead in the 40th minute. Sacred Heart (1-2) had three shots in the first half, the best of which came in the 10th minute when Mahmoud Kafel (Fairfield, Conn.) hit a cross to Aaron Burrell (Tampa, Fla.), whose deflection was stopped by the NJIT goalkeeper.
Kafel had a golden opportunity to level the match three minutes into the second half. He found himself one-on-one with the Highlanders' goalkeeper inside the 18-yard box and chipped a shot over the keeper. The ball hit the goal post but did not go in the net. The sophomore midfield got another chance on target 20 minutes later as Sacred Heart controlled a better part of the second half. Kieran Walsh (River Vale, N.J.) hit a free kick from midfield that found the head of Jamal Vinson (Teaneck, N.J.). Vinson's header was deflected right to an open Kafel, who buried the loose ball to even the game 1-1. The Pioneers then took the lead three minutes later when Walsh played a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box to Vieira, who hit a low line drive that found the back of the net to give the Pioneers' the 2-1 lead. Sacred Heart then held off NJIT for the final 18 minutes for its first victory of the season.
NJIT had 16 shots to Sacred Heart's nine, though both sides each had six shots in the second half. Sacred Heart goalkeeper Tucker Hackett (Madison, Conn.) made eight saves for the Pioneers. Kafel led the Pioneers with three shots as Vieira and Walsh each had two.
Sacred Heart will take on a pair of Philadelphia teams this weekend, beginning Friday, Sept. 6 with a 3:30 p.m. game at Drexel.