North Branch, NJ -- Camden County College, ranked #3 in the country, scraped by Raritan Valley 2-1 in two overtimes. Denis Hickey beat Ryan Hamblin in the 109th minute to seal the win.
Playing on a hot, sun-drenched afternoon, the Golden Lions got the game's first clear scoring chance, Jhaliyl Stewart shooting tamely at Camden's goalkeeper in the 4th minute. The home side's best chance to take the lead came in the 23rd minute when Geovanny Barboza broke in behind the Cougar's back line and looked certain to score but his shot was straight into the chest of the goalkeeper. In the 32nd minute, Camden made RVCC pay for their misses. The Cougars cut a ball behind Shubhi Oberoi, Dylan Hayes chipping a shot over Ryan Hamblin to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. In an all-too-familiar pattern, the Golden Lions went into the halftime break trailing an opponent.
RVCC again had the brighter start to the half, Jhaliyl Stewart pounding a shot over the bar before getting onto the end of a Geovanny Barboza cross only for his header to be saved. Camden continued to hammer away at the Golden Lions goal registering 11 second half shots but Tristan Gadson-Rigby, Tony Chaparro, Andrew Williams and Shubhi Oberoi, backed by goalkeeper Ryan Hamblin, kept the Cougars from doubling their lead. Raritan Valley finally evened the score in the 73rd minute. RVCC didn't follow the script, instead of rolling over and giving Camden the easy win they expected, the game became increasingly physical and combative until Camden's composure finally broke sending tri-captain Andrew Williams to the penalty spot. For the fourth time in 4 tries, the Golden Lions found the back of the net from a penalty kick, Williams bagging his third goal of the year to draw the sides level at 1-1. For the third straight match, RVCC would need overtime to find a winner.
Ryan Hamblin was credited with 10 saves on the afternoon but none bigger than his save in the first minute of overtime. A questionable hand ball sent Camden to the penalty spot but Hamblin was up to the task, exploding to his right to beat the shot away keeping the sides deadlocked at 1-1. Andrew Williams had RVCC's best chance at a winner during the second overtime, his well-struck free kick was pushed over the bar by Camden's goalkeeper. In the 109th minute, Camden finally found a breakthrough. An injury to Geovanny Barboza forced RVCC to make a substitution, the Golden Lions poorly defended the restart with three players converging on the ball allowing Denis Hickey to run onto a through ball which he tucked just inside the near post for the game winner.
"I'm hoping this is a season-changing moment for our team." Head Coach Gerry Montague commented after the game. "Camden clearly expected to come in here and blow us out but our guys were outstanding and we gave them a lot more than they expected. We need to start scoring goals and winning games in regulation, that's our biggest challenge right now."
The Golden Lions (1-4-1) are back in action on Tuesday, September 30th when they travel to County College of Morris.