Regsan Watkins enjoyed a memorable afternoon on Long Island. (Photo courtesy of NJIT)
STONY BROOK, N.Y. — Senior Regsan Watkins’ hat-trick powered NJIT to a 3-2 America East men’s win at Stony Brook University at Lavalle Stadium Friday afternoon.
The Highlanders sit atop Pod C standings with a 3-2 league record, 3-4-1 overall while Stony Brook, eliminated from postseason contention, moved to 1-3-1, 1-5-1.
With one regular season match remaining NJIT will need a win or draw against UMBC Friday, April 9 to earn the top spot in Pod C. In the first meeting between NJIT and UMBC, the Highlanders record a 2-1 victory March 9. Watkins scored the game-winner in the 76th minute.
Watkins became the second Highlander in the Division I era to register a hat trick. -Senior Rene White scored the program’s first in the DI era against Saint Francis University Sept. 5, 2018. Watkins, a 5-9 forward, netted a career-best four goals during his sophomore campaign at Division II Bloomfield College against Nyack College Oct. 28, 2018.
This season, Watkins has tallied a conference-best seven goals. He also ranks second in points (17) and is tied for second in assists (three).
“I think it was a match with moments of stress,” head coach Fernando Barboto said. “But in the end we pulled out the three points we needed. Our attack had a great match scoring three goals and marginally missing goal four and five.”
Watkins opened the scoring in the 25th minute on a left-footed strike past a diving Stony Brook keeper/ Freshman Jose Escandon was credited with his third assist of the season.
Stony Brook senior Gabriel Fernandes scored in the 42nd to knot it at 1-1.
NJIT regained its lead, 2-1, with 20remaining in the half on a through ball from sophomore Alejandro Rabell to Watkins, whose shot hit off the right post and into the net.
Watkins scored goal No. 3 in the 56th minute. He collected the ball inside the box off the initial shot by White and tucked away into the upper right corner.
Kameron Blaise pulled the Seawolves within 3-2 in the 78th minute.
NJIT goalkeeper Samuel Reisgys made two saves.
Tuesday’s April 6 home match against Fordham has been canceled.
NJIT will honor its five graduating seniors prior to Friday’s match vs. UMBC – Thomas Radon, Nicholas Kozdron, Roberto Adamson Hernandez, Tristan Parker and Watkins.