NEWARK, NJ--NJIT, the top-seed in the 2019 ASUN Conference Tournament had three players net a goal in the Highlanders' 3-2 victory over fourth-seeded Stetson in the ASUN Conference Men's Soccer Semifinals on Sunday afternoon at Lubetkin Field at Mal Simon Stadium.
NJIT, which moves to 9-4-4 on the season, notches the programs first win in ASUN Conference Postseason action behind goals from 2019 ASUN Freshman of the Year Alejandro Rabell, 2019 ASUN Player of the Year Rene White and junior transfer Regsan Watkins.
The nine wins for the Highlanders under ASUN Coach of the Year Fernando Barboto are the most wins since the 2012 season, when the Highlanders went 10-9.
NJIT is 7-1-1 over its last nine matches of the season, which guided the Highlanders to the top-seed with four of those seven victories being shutouts.
The home team struck first in the 15th minute after a goal by Rabell's blast to the opposite post inside the box from Thomas Radon, giving the Highlanders a 1-0 lead. Rabell notched his fourth goal of the season while Radon tallied his fourth assist of the year.
In the 18th minute, Stetson nearly scored a goal on a dangerous shot by 2019 ASUN Defensive Player of the Year Ian McCauley which was a single-handed punch away by 2019 ASUN Goalkeeper of the Year Samuel Reisgys.
A sensational save by NJIT's Diogo Ferreira on the backline in the 37th minute kept the Hatters off the board on a clean sliding tackle.
The Hatters outshot the Highlanders in the first half, 7-4, paced by ASUN first-team selectee Sebastian Chalbaud. Four different players for the Highlanders registered a shot.
NJIT scored three minutes into the second half on a goal by White, his 34th of his career assisted by Andrew Nino. White raises his season-mark to 17 goals and becomes the single-season leader in the NJIT Division I era. His 17 goals ranks tied for first in the nation with UCLA's Milan Iloski.
Stetson responded a minute later on a header by Lewis Scattergood crossed into the box by Chris DeGrance, cutting the Highlander lead to one, 2-1.
A close opportunity for the Hatters in the 58th minute came on a strike by McCauley, getting behind the Highlander backline but Reisgys again made a diving left-handed save.
NJIT increased its lead to 3-1 in the 80th minute on a goal by Watkins, his fifth goal of the season after receiving a pass from Radon. Watkins shot was fired to the right of the Hatter keeper and deflected into the back of the net. Radon picked up his second assist of the match and fifth of the season.
A late goal by Stetson's Sebastian Chalbaud was scored in the 89th minute. Stetson's Gabriel Diniz took the first shot of the sequence, which was saved by Reisgys but Chalbaud followed up with a rebound, pulling the Hatters to within one, 3-2.
NJIT's Reisgys finished with five saves in the win between the pipes.
The Highlanders will host No. 2 FGCU in the 2019 ASUN Conference Championship on Saturday, November 16 at 7pm on Lubetkin Field at Mal Simon Stadium.