Junior forward Kevin Kozic (Raritan, N.J./Immaculata) had two goals and an assist, and freshman midfielder Michael Bergan (Newtown, Pa./The Pennington School) a goal and an assist as The University of Scranton men’s soccer team picked up an important 4-1 victory over Merchant Marine Academy on Wednesday evening at Fitzpatrick Field.
The win moves the Royals (10-2-4, 3-2-1 Landmark) into a tie for third place in the Landmark Conference with one match remaining. The Royals and Juniata both have 10 points, one more than Merchant Marine Academy; Juniata currently holds the tiebreaker over the Royals by way of their 1-0 overtime win over the Royals on Sept. 28.
Here’s how Scranton’s playoff scenarios now stand:
Scranton also received a goal on Wednesday night from junior midfielder Rich Loeffler (Matawan, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy), and senior forward John Spadaro (Stony Point, N.Y./Albertus Magnus) and senior midfielder Colin McFadden (Ventnor City, N.J./St. Augustine Prep) had assists.
The Royals jumped on top quickly when Kozic fed Bergen for a beautiful shot into the upper right corner of the goal at the 20:15 mark of the first half. Sixty-four seconds later, Bergen returned the favor, crossing the ball to Kozic, who headed it home for a 2-0 lead.
Kozic scored again 2:16 into the second half when he took a header feed from McFadden and sent his own header into the back of the net for a 3-0 lead. Merchant Marine Academy (6-7-1, 3-3 Landmark) scored in the 83rd minute, but Loeffler restored the three-goal advantage in the 88th minute on a feed from Spadaro.
Kozic now has three goals on the season while Bergen and Loeffler each have two. Kozic also has three assists, giving him nine points, second on the team. Bergen now leads the team with four assists while Spadaro has three and Loeffler has two.
Freshman goalkeeper Eric Hintz (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor) made six saves in the victory, his 10th of the season. The Royals outshot the Mariners, 20-13, while Merchant Marine had a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks.
The victory secured double-digits in victories for the Royals for the second straight season, the first time they’ve accomplished that feat since the 1993 and 1994 seasons. Scranton is now 8-3-1 all-time against Merchant Marine Academy.
Scranton will conclude its regular season on Saturday, Nov. 2, when it hosts Catholic on Senior Day at 3:30 p.m. at Fitzpatrick Field. The Royals will honor their seniors with a short ceremony before kickoff.