Koss’ clutch goal earns draw for LIU
Freshman Defender from Norway Registers First Collegiate Tally
In danger of returning home for their season opener with a losing record, the defending Northeast Conference champion LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds got a big goal from one of their newest additions.
Freshman Marius Koss, a left fullback from Oslo, Norway, scored off a corner kick from sophomore sensation Rasmus Hansen with just under 10 minutes remaining in regulation as the Blackbirds battled hard for a 1-1 double-overtime draw with Howard University in our nation’s capital on Sunday.
Koss, whom long-time LIU head coach TJ Kostecky described as “a savvy defender who knows when to push up to support the attack”, did just that after the Blackbirds were foiled on several solid scoring chances by Howard goalkeeper Kenneth Hershey.
After saving first-half attempts by junior standout Na’eem Charles and senior Ryan Herold, Hershey met his match in Koss, who received Hansen’s corner-kick cross at the top of the box and blasted a shot into the net for a 1-1 tie at the 80:27 mark.
“He values possession of the ball and understands how his position on defense and offense affects the rest of his team,” Kostecky said of Koss upon bringing the defensive stalwart to Downtown Brooklyn back in March.
“Marius has the personality to develop into a leader on the team.”
Koss was named the NEC Rookie of the Week for his efforts, marking the second time this season an LIU player has earned that honor. Freshman Giuseppe Barone of Bay Ridge’s Xaverian High School picked up the weekly award back on Aug. 28 after netting the game-winner in a 3-2 victory over Army.
Reigning NEC Rookie of the Year Hansen drove one off the post in the 107th minute and Barone was thwarted by Hershey three minutes later as LIU failed to register it’s third victory on a season-opening five-game road trip, settling for a solid 2-2-1 opening in advance of Friday’s home opener against Rider at LIU Field.
Sophomore Michael Ramsey got beat by Howard’s Joel Pagan in the 23rd minute, but finished with two big saves in his first start in net for the Blackbirds, who remain the favorite to repeat as NEC champs as they continue to gear up for conference play, which begins Oct. 7 at Bryant in Smithfield, R.I.
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Trying to keep pace with the champs are the Terriers of St. Francis Brooklyn, who saw their two-year reign atop the conference come to an end in 2015 with a shootout loss to LIU in the NEC Tournament semifinals.
Coach Tom Giovatto’s unit had lost three of its first four games before also pulling out a 1-1 draw on Saturday night at Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y., as junior Dominick Falanga, a New Utrecht High School alum, scored the tying tally from 30 yards out at just past the 80-minute mark
The Terriers, who are 1-3-1 on the young season entering Wednesday night’s home match against visiting NJIT at Brooklyn Bridge Park, appeared headed for a 1-4 start to their campaign before Falanga stunned Hawks goalie Lenny Wilson with a rocket into the upper-left corner of the net, forcing overtime.
The unassisted goal was the first of the season for Falanga, who was a freshman defender on St. Francis’ 2014 NEC championship squad, delivering a key assist in the Terriers’ semifinal victory over Bryant.
Senior goalie Seth Erdman made five saves for SFC, which is still seeking its first win of the season at BBP after suffering a 1-0 loss to Rhode Island here in its home opener on Aug. 31.
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Late-game heroics with 10 minutes to go were apparently a trend for the local soccer squads this weekend as the Brooklyn College Bulldogs pulled out a 3-2 win over SUNY-Canton on Sunday thanks to junior midfielder Jordy Ortiz’s goal in the 80th minute.
Ortiz, a Brooklyn native, scored without the benefit of an assist to help BC improve to 2-3 on the season heading into Saturday’s CUNYAC opener against visiting Lehman at 2:30 p.m.
Senior defenseman Kevin Bresnan and senior midfielder Andres Pertuz also scored for the Bulldogs, who got seven big saves from first-year netminder Jerron Steele.
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Off the pitch and into the pool, where SFC Brooklyn’s perennial national powerhouse men’s water polo team bounced back from a pair of losses to beat the Air Force Academy, 15-10, on Sunday on the campus of Princeton University.
Sophomore Botond Kadar scored a match-high five goals, including four in the opening half, for the Terriers who had previously lost to UCLA and Cal-Berkeley at the prestigious Tiger Invitational.
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