From GSU Media Relations:
STATESBORO, GA. In a match that was more street brawl than ballet, Georgia Southern took a 1-0 win over New Jersey Institute of Technology in a very physical contest at Eagle Field on Sunday afternoon. The win moves the Eagles two points clear of Hartwick for first place in the Sun Belt Conference standings entering next weekend’s rivalry contest at Georgia State. Super sub Eric Dinka provided the scoring for the Eagles with an 80th minute goal which improved the Eagles to 7-7-0 on the year and 3-1-0 in the Sun Belt.
“We’re really grateful for the result today, we had the ball drop for Eric (Dinka) and he was able to put it away,” said Head Coach Kevin Kennedy. “NJIT was a very good team and very dangerous on the ball as evidenced by the number of saves that Jack Falle made today. We’ve had our backs to the wall over our last few league matches after falling to Howard a few weeks ago. We’re happy to get the three points today and move back into first place with one match left.”
The Eagles had their share of possession in the opening half, penetrating the Highlander defense, but lacked the final touch. Both teams managed four shots in the opening half which included 14 total fouls and three bookings.
Both teams settled in following the halftime break as overtime looked a real possibility. Frantic moments on defense turned to ecstasy as NJIT hit the woodwork and had a ball saved on attach and failed to get enough defenders back. The Eagles countered and got the ball down the left flank, allowing freshman Blake Wilson cross the ball to the box. A dummy at the near post gave Dinka space at the far post from 15 yards. The junior struck the ball true for his fourth goal of the season and three crucial points for the Eagles.
Goalkeeper Jack Falle was exceptional in goal for the Eagles, making eight saves in the match to keep his spot among the nation’s top goalkeepers in terms of saves. He earned his third clean sheet in league play and fifth overall this season.
The Eagles visit in-state rival Georgia State for the regular season finale on Saturday night from State’s Panthersville complex. Kickoff between the Eagles and Panthers is set for 7 p.m. The Eagles can clinch their first Sun Belt Regular Season Championship with a win or a draw in that match against the Panthers.
Georgia Southern hosts the 2014 Sun Belt Men’s Soccer Tournament on November 13-16 at Eagle Field in Statesboro. The winner of the league’s tournament championship earns a bid to the NCAA Tournament.