FLUSHING, N.Y. – Sophomore Cristian Villalta picked a perfect time to score his first goal of the season, recording the game-winning tally for the Queens College men's soccer team in a thrilling 2-1 victory over the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) on Senior Day Saturday from the QC Soccer Field.
The win momentarily put Queens in the fourth and final spot in the ECC Tournament, but NYIT defeated Roberts Wesleyan later in the day to retake the final spot, eliminating the Knights from playoff contention. It was the third straight win for Queens, which finishes the season 8-6-2 overall and 4-3-2 in the ECC, while UDC moves to 13-5 overall and 6-3 in league play.
Just 5:18 into the game, the Firebirds scored on the very first shot of the contest, as Kevin Ortez found Raphael Pacano for a header. Down 1-0, the Knights nearly had an immediate answer, but a shot by Breuer struck the bottom of the crossbar and fell just shy of the goal.
In the 15th minute, Queens threatened once again, as Breuer took a corner kick and sent it to sophomore Paul Hayes, who tied the game up at 1-1 on a header for his third goal of the season.
Coming out of halftime with the game knotted up at one apiece, Queens looked to take the lead early in the second half and kept the pressure on. In the 55th minute, Breuer broke free up the middle and found Villalta on the right side for the game-winner.
The Firebirds made a late push and kept the Knights on their heels with three shots over the final 1:48, but Michael Agboola's shot hit the crossbar. Then with just 17 seconds remaining, Iloka made a tremendous diving save on Christopher Moke's shot, as Queens held off UDC for the victory.
Queens finishes fifth in the ECC standings with 14 points, just one point short of a playoff berth. The Knights' eight wins under first-year head coach Frank Vertullo this season were their most since the 2013 season, when they went 9-5-3.