By Matt Strauss
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies continue their tour of northeastern cities named Newark as they head into New Jersey for a match up against the Highlanders of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. After suffering their first loss of the season on Friday in Newark, Delaware, the Bonnies will look to right the ship quickly with a 1 p.m. Sunday kickoff in Newark, New Jersey.
The Fightin’ Blue Hens of the University of Delaware handed the Bonnies their first loss of the season on Friday evening in a 3-0 rout. The Bonnies kept it a scoreless tie to the halftime break. Shortly after the intermission, the breakout freshman from Spain, Guillermo Delgado, put one away to put the Blue Hens in the lead. Delaware would add two goals in the last 15 minutes, including Delgado getting his eighth of the year in the 86th minute, to finish it off the 3-0 shutout. The Blue Hens outshot the Bonnies 12-1 in the second half.
However, the Bonnies have a quick turnaround and must have their sights set on walking out of the weekend trip with a win. That will be a test against a cagey NJIT team. The Highlanders, who are at the beginning of only their seventh season at the Division I level, enter the matchup with a 1-3-1 mark overall. Their lone win was their only home game of the early season, a 1-0 shutout victory over Atlantic 10-member George Washington. The Highlanders have also had two very good showings against ranked opponents: St. John’s and Farleigh Dickinson. These resulted in losses of 2-1 and 1-0, respectively. NJIT’s other loss came at the hands of Sacred Heart in another 2-1 loss. Along with the loss to Sacred Heart, the Highlanders other sketchy result was a 1-1 tie against the Virginia Military Institute. VMI has lost each of its other four games.
As for the technical aspect of who the Bonnies are facing, NJIT is a defense-first, conservative group. Whereas Bonaventure has scored 13 goals over their first five games, NJIT has tallied just four in their first five matches. The Highlanders are coming off of a 10-9 season – their first since making the move to Division I. However, they are relatively inexperienced this season having only four seniors on a roster of 28 players. NJIT is a bit difficult to figure out and part of that can be attributed to the fact that first-year head coach Didier Orellana has been mixing things up trying to find out where everyone works the best. 17 different players have made starts in the first five games. Bonaventure has used the same lineup for every game except for one change in the Incarnate Word win.
Even after their shutout loss on Friday, the Bonnies still boast one of the most explosive offenses in the nation. Heading into the weekend, St. Bonaventure and Delaware held the nation’s best mark of 13 goals each in their first four games. Along with that stat, as of Friday, Bonaventure’s Brad Vanino was tied for the nationally lead for total assists as well. The Bonnies hope that these weapons can help them open up a Highlander defense that has only allowed six goals so far this year. With the attack of Vanino through the midfield and fellow senior Nicholas Perillo up top (who was tied for third nationally for total points as of Friday), the Bonnies have a serious offensive threat, which will force NJIT to adjust.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Sunday at NJIT’s Lubetkin Field at J. Malcolm Simon Stadium. Weather.com is predicting a lovely 71 degrees and sunny skies for kickoff, with no chance of rain throughout the afternoon.
New Jersey Institute of Technology Quick Facts – School & Team
- Public university founded in 1881
- Just over 7,000 undergraduates
- An endowment of $77.6 million
- Members of the recently formed Great West Conference (yes, New Jersey and “West” together)
- Nicknamed the Highlanders because campus is located in area of Newark called University Heights, or the Newark Highlands