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Golden Lions clip Blue Jays in OT

North Branch, NJ --  RVCC got their first win of the season defeating Manor College 3-2 behind two goals from Erick Hernandez. The Golden Lions record moves to 1-3 while Manor drops to 0-6 overall.

      The Lions shook off the effects of a physical game against Sussex CCC and jumped out to an early lead. Just over four minutes into the game, tri-captain Raul Otayza buried a free kick from 28 yards out to give RVCC their first lead this season. The home side doubled their lead in the 31st minute when Erick Hernandez took a pass from Rafael Roman, cut inside to his right then struck a shot just beyond the reach Blue Jay's goalkeeper. Center backs Andrew Williams and Tony Chaparro effectively patrolled the defensive third sending the Golden Lions into the break up 2-0.

      Fortunes would quickly change in the 2nd half. RVCC became too comfortable with their lead and within 6 minutes, Manor pulled one back. An unmarked Michael Usher powered a shot past Ryan Hamblin to make it 2-1. The early goal clearly unsettled RVCC and only 5 minutes later, Manor punished the Golden Lions again. Ryan Hamblin allowed a weak cross to roll under his body and a Manor attacker just beat Dave Werner to the ball at the back post to level the game at 2-2.

      A second match in 48 hours took its toll on RVCC and both teams struggled with the pace of a game which became frantic and stretched both teams. Anthony Hernandez picked up a loose ball at the top of his own box and sprinted almost the full length of the field, eventually being dispossessed in front of the Blue Jays goal by 3 recovering defenders, tired teammates unable to get forward quickly enough to support his strong attacking run. Despite the back and forth pace to the game, the Golden Lions carved out several chances with both Rafael Roman and Jhaliyl Stewart firing just over the bar. Geovanny Barboza forced a brilliant save from Manor's keeper to keep the game level at 2-2. Running onto a cross at the far post after the Blue Jays were unable to clear their lines, their goalkeeper made a spectacular, point blank save on Barboza when he looked certain to score. Late in the game, Andrew Williams nearly bagged his third goal of the year, his dipping, left-footed free kick crashing off the crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten. As the half wound down, RVCC was barely hanging on as fatigue and injuries took their toll.

      Tired of good efforts with no results to show for it, RVCC only needed 1:52 of overtime to earn an emotional win. Attacking off a cross from the left wing, a Golden Lion was hacked down in the penalty area and for the 3rd time in 4 matches, RVCC found the back of the net from the penalty spot. After a seemingly endless wait, Erick Hernandez confidently blasted a low, hard shot past the goalkeeper's outstretched right hand giving the Golden Lions a much needed and hard-earned first win.

      RVCC registered 17 shots for the game, Ryan Hamblin was credited with 3 saves and earned his 2nd career win. Erick Hernandez's two goals made him RV's top scorer with 3 goals on the season.

      The Golden Lions (1-3-0 overall, 0-3-0 conference) host GSAC opponent Brookdale Community College (3-3-1) on Tuesday, September 23rd, kickoff is 3:30pm.