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Athlete of the Week: Kay Banjo

By Subir Nigam

Staff Writer

Senior forward Kay Banjo drew a penalty and scored the game-winning goal in the 2-1 victory against conference rival University of Massachusetts Lowell at Retriever Soccer Park this past weekend. With 14 total points, Banjo is the top player in points and assists per game in the America East Conference (AE). His five goals this season leads the team in that category.

The match was scoreless at halftime, but in the 61′ Banjo was taken down in the opposing penalty box, earning a penalty kick for the Retrievers. Banjo did well to get his body in front of the ball, and with his back towards the goal he was clearly fouled and taken down by a UML defender.

The penalty kick was taken by senior midfielder Mamadou Kansaye, giving UMBC a 1-0 lead. This lead would not last long though, as the River Hawks answered with a penalty kick of their own, equalizing the match at one goal each.

Both teams continued to exchange chances throughout the match, but in the 75’ Banjo tucked a well-placed shot past the UML goalkeeper which would prove to be the game winner. Junior midfielder Michael Scott used some slick one-on-one moves to beat his defender and find a pass to Banjo who was able to turn with the ball and get off a right-footed shot at the top of the box.

After the game, Banjo explained how this goal happened.

“I took a quick glance back and the defender was not there so I turned and took my chance and it went in,” Banjo said.

With this victory, UMBC improves to 5-4-2 overall and is on a two game winning streak. As the first conference matchup of the season, this victory was all the more important. The Retrievers have dominated conference play going back to last season, as they have gone unbeaten in their past 13 AE matches (11-0-2).

Banjo now has 20 career goals, and his decisive goal against UMass Lowell is his second game winner of this season. His stellar play continues to translate into success for the Retrievers, as his team and conference leading statistics prove his consistency on the field. UMBC will continue their conference play as they welcome Hartford University to the Retriever Soccer Park for the Homecoming game on Oct. 11.