NEW ROCHELLE, NY – The Iona College men’s soccer program earned its first win at home Saturday afternoon, taking down the Drexel Dragon’s, 2-1. Iona’s comeback victory was catalyzed by the reigning Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the YearMarcos Nunez. The junior forward assisted on the game-tying score, then netted the unassisted game-winner.
The first half began at a pedestrian pace with just five total shots between both team in the opening 20 minutes. The tempo quickened and resulted in the Dragons getting on the board first in the 37th minute. Sophomore defender Ilai Shvika was able to guide in a header off a long throw in by fellow defenseman, senior Jameson Detweiler.
Iona’s best scoring chance in the first half came prior to Drexel’s score in the 30th minute. Junior midfielder Luis Mendoza was able to create some space just inside the penalty box. He fired a rising line drive off his right foot that ricocheted off the crossbar. Junior forward Maties Correa had a solid shot to score in the closing moments off the half, but his attempt went wide.
Despite trailing at the end of the first period, the Gaels and Dragons each had five shots and three corner attempts in the first half.
13 fouls were committed in the first twenty minutes of the second half, and as a result it slowed the overall pace of play. Iona found itself having to play down a man when senior defender Jonathan Proctor was given a red card in the 72nd minute.
The disadvantage in man power may have lifted the Maroon & Gold’s fighting spirit. Just moments after the disqualification, the Gaels got on the board with a score from sophomore forward Killian Colombie. The quick-striking forward knocked home the game-tying strike off an assist from Nunez on the right side.
The 2015 MAAC Offensive Player in Year was not done. Nunez took it upon himself in the 83rd minute, dribbling through the Dragon defense and letting loose a rocket from 17 yards out that rattled the net.
Nursing a 2-1 lead and down a man, the Maroon & Gold defense huddled in a defense stance and without a few late attempts from Drexel. Junior Xavier Hernandez and sophomore Armin Efendic each had an attempt to tie the score, but both didn’t challenge Iona goalkeeperKellar Sirstins.
Sophomore Daniel Huertas had three shots, one on goal. Sirstins was not forced to make any saves in goal.
Iona and Drexel each finished with 12 shots. The Gaels had seven shots on goal compared to just one for the Dragons.
The Maroon & Gold will look to continue their momentum in their next game on Tuesday, Sept. 7 at Delaware. Kickoff between the Blue Hens and Gaels scheduled for 7 PM.