TOWSON, Md. – Parker Bay and Kevin Tonkovich each netted goals, while goalie Nicholas Stolarz made 10 saves to lift the Goucher men's soccer team to an eventful 2-1 win over New Jersey City. At 4-1, the Gophers are off to their best start since the 2009 squad began the year with five wins in its first six games.
Goucher ended the weekend 2-0 in the Blue Jay Invitational and also remained a perfect 3-0 at Beldon Field this season. Tonkovich, who finished the weekend with two goals and an assist, was named offensive MVP of the tournament.
The two teams managed a combined 21 shots in an action-filled first half. New Jersey City (2-3) held a 14-7 shots advantage before the intermission, and the Gothic Knights struck first with a sixth-minute goal from Aboubacar Diawara on a scramble in front after the game's first corner kick.
The Gophers responded quickly, however, with Bay equalizing on the next shot of the game two minutes after Diawara's strike. Tonkovich raced down the right side and sent a cross in the box towards Nate Margolis. The junior forward passed on to Bay, who had a tap-in past NJC goalie Nick Nardone for his second goal of the season. With the assist, Margolis now has points in all four Goucher wins this year.
Goucher had a chance to add to its lead in the 25th minute after the opposing team's goalie was given a red card for the second-consecutive afternoon. Today's play was nearly identical to yesterday's foul, with Nardone fouling Tonkovich in the box after the freshman forward had been sent in on a breakaway. Nardone's sending off was one of four cards shown in a physical opening 45 minutes.
Margolis, though, was unable to convert from the penalty spot, as new goalie Ruben Morales made a diving stop to keep the game tied.
Prior to the penalty kick, New Jersey City had 11 of the game's first 14 shots. After the red card, Goucher began to wear down the Gothic Knights, with a 16-11 edge for the remainder of the contest.
Tonkovich finally broke through for the Gophers 12 minutes into the second half. Senior Matt Fazekas sent in a deep ball from just in front of the midfield circle which Tonkovich was able to handle and head past Morales for his second goal in as many games. Fazekas, known mainly for his defense, picked up his first point of the season and his first career assist as a Gopher.
Stolarz made three saves in the final 10 minutes to seal the win in his first collegiate start.
Tonkovich was named the tournament's offensive MVP.
The Gophers will look to keep the momentum going under the lights on Wednesday night, as they host Washington (Md.) at 7 p.m. to conclude their three-game homestand. The Shoremen are 2-1 to start their season. The two teams also met in 2012, with Goucher registering a 3-2 double-overtime victory.