Watkins Hat Trick (Video)
STONY BROOK, NY--NJIT senior Regsan Watkins' hat trick powered visiting NJIT to a 3-2 men's soccer America East Conference win at Stony Brook Friday afternoon at Lavalle Stadium.
With the win, NJIT sits atop Pod C standings with a 3-2 league record, 3-4-1 overall while Stony Brook, eliminated from postseason contention, moves to 1-3-1 in the league, 1-5-1 overall.
NJIT, with one regular season match remaining on the schedule, will need a win or draw against UMBC on Friday, April 9 to earn the top spot in Pod C. In the first meeting between NJIT and UMBC, the Highlanders picked up a 2-1 victory on March 9. Watkins scored the game-winner for the Highlanders in the 76th minute.
He becomes the second Highlander in the Division I era to score a hat trick. Senior Rene White scored the program's first hat trick in the DI era against Saint Francis U on September 5, 2018. Watkins, the 5-foot-9 forward netted a career-best four goals during his sophomore campaign at Division II Bloomfield College against Nyack College on October 28, 2018.
This season, Watkins has combined for seven goals, which tops the America East Conference. He ranks second in points (17) and tied for second in assists (3).
Watkins opened the scoring in the 25th minute on a left-footed strike past a diving Stony Brook keeper to give NJIT a 1-0 lead. Freshman Jose Escandon was credited with his third assist of the season.
Stony Brook senior Gabriel Fernandes scored a late first-half goal to knot the game at 1-1.
NJIT regained its lead, 2-1, with twenty-seconds remaining in the first half on a through ball from sophomore Alejandro Rabell to Watkins whose shot hit off the right post and into the goal for his second goal of the match.
Watkins registered the hat trick in the 56th minute, after collecting the ball inside the box off the initial shot by White and tucked away into the upper right corner.
Stony Brook's Kameron Blaise pulled the Seawolves within one, 3-2, in the 78th minute.
NJIT keeper Samuel Reisgys picked up the win in goal, stopping two Seawolve shots.
Tuesday's scheduled home match against Fordham has been cancelled.
NJIT will honor its five graduating seniors on Friday prior to the match -- Thomas Radon, Nicholas Kozdron, Roberto Adamson Hernandez, Tristan Parker and Watkins.
Stay up to date during the 2021 NJIT men's soccer season by following @NJITSoccer on Twitter and Instagram and liking the NJIT Men's Soccer page on Facebook.