Jackson’s hat-trick helps men’s soccer to thrilling 4-3 win at Houghton

HOUGHTON, NY — Freshman Alec Jackson (Virginia Beach, VA/Landstown) tallied a hat-trick, including the game-winner in the 89th minute, to give the RIT (4-1-1) men’s soccer team a thrilling 4-3 win at Houghton College (3-4-0) Tuesday evening. It is Jackson’s first career hat-trick and the second hat-trick of the season for the Tigers. Jared Short (Grafton, WI/Cedarburg) scored three times in a win over Keuka College on Sept. 5.

Jackson tallied three goals for RIT, while Short added a goal. Nick Simone (Hilton, NY/Hilton) tied his career-high with three assists Tuesday night, equaling his output versus Keuka College. Andrew Bussey had a goal and an assist for the Highlanders, while Bryson Robinson took the loss in net, making six saves. Will Sokol (Branchburg, NJ/Somerville) improved to 4-1-1 on the season, making four saves for RIT.

“I am proud of the resiliency shown by our team tonight,” said RIT head coach Bill Garno. “Houghton had good energy and really pressed us, but we had four really nice team goals. Hats off to Alec on his first career hat-trick, and Nick on his three assists.”

Houghton struck first, taking a 1-0 lead on Ben Dicrasto’s goal off an assist from Kenneth Estep in the 16th minute. The Tigers tied the score on Short’s fourth goal of the season in the 32nd minute on the first of three assists from Simone. RIT took the lead on Jackson’s first goal of the game in the 35th minute with another assist going to Simone.

The Highlanders were scrappy, coming back in the second to tie the game at 2-2 on Bussey’s goal in the 53rd minute on an assist from Aldo Rico. The Tigers showed their resiliency on the road, taking the lead back on Jackson’s second goal of the game in the 62nd minute. Once again, Simone had the assist on the play to give the Tigers the lead.

Houghton would not go away. This time, Zach Shilvock scored for the Highlanders, tying the score at 3-3 on his first goal of the season in the 70th minute. The game looked to be headed for overtime, but, in the 89th minute, Ryan Gray (Lima, NY/Honeoye Falls-Lima) fired a ball into the Houghton penalty area that Jackson was able to settle enough to score from eight-yards out to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead. It was his team-leading fifth goal of the season and first game winner of 2018.

It was the first meeting between the two schools since 1984.

RIT will take the momentum from this win into the Liberty League opener on Saturday when the Tigers play at Vassar College. Kick-off from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. is 1 p.m.