Providence, R.I. – The Johnson & Wales University men's soccer team survived another tough playoff match when they hosted the Great Northeast Athletic Conference fourth seeded University of Saint Joseph's (CT) Blue Jays on Wednesday at the Scotts Miracle Gro Athletic Complex. With a date in the GNAC championship on the line, the Wildcats jumped out early to put three goals across and held the Blue Jays at bay in the second half to advance. JWU will host the Saint Joseph's College of Maine Monks for the GNAC title.
Saint Joseph's CT: 12-6-1 (7-3-1 GNAC)
Johnson & Wales: 16-2-2 (10-0-1 GNAC)
JP Rioux (JWU) : 2 goals, 1 assist
Gaetano LaBella (SJU) : 1 goal
Riley Spotton (JWU) : 1 goal
USJ: John Griffin (L, 7-5-1) 7 saves
JWU: Austin Scoggin (W, 14-2-2) 7 saves
The Wildcats did the damage early in the first half as Riley Spotton headed in the first goal at the 5th minute from a brilliant service from JP Rioux. Spotton's header found the back left corner of the goal with very little the Blue Jay's keeper could do about it.
Rioux's night would continue on the upward trajectory as he would score two more times unassisted. Rioux got his first goal past with a shot to the back corner in the 10th minute. His second goal was off a rebound that found the net in the 12th minute.
With the 3-0 advantage at the half, JWU would need to defend against a very motivated Saint Joseph's club who came out of the locker room with purpose. The Blue Jays broke through at the 55th minute when Gaetano LaBella blasted a shot past Austin Scoggin to the back, left corner of the box.
The Blue Jays would have a couple of more cracks at getting past Scoggins, but in the end the defense for the Wildcats held true and JWU advanced to the conference finals.
JWU held the shot advantage 20 to 11 as well as in corner kicks 7 to 3.
The Wildcats host the Saint Joseph's College of Maine Monks on Saturday for the GNAC Championship. Kick-off is at 1 p.m. at the Scotts Miracle Gro Athletic Complex.