The Berkeley College New York men's soccer team now sits just two victories away from its first USCAA National Men's Soccer Tournament championship, as the No. 4 seeded Knights picked up a huge victory on Thursday afternoon, edging the No. 5 seeded Concordia College-Alabama Hornets by a score of 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the 2015 USCAA Men's Soccer National Tournament in Asheville, North Carolina. With the win, the Knights improved to 15-6 on the 2015 campaign and advanced to the semifinal round tomorrow, were Berkeley will take on No. 1 seeded Bryant & Stratton-Syracuse at 2:00pm. The Hornets slipped into the consolation bracket with the defeat, where they will take on SUNY Delhi at 9:30am tomorrow morning.
Standout Hasan Sezer gave the Knights an early spark in this one, recording an unassisted goal in the 12th minute to give Berkeley a 1-0 advantage. Despite a plethora of Hornet shots – 10 in total including four on goal – the Hornets were held off the scoreboard by the Knights. Berkeley netminder Masahiro Kiuchi accounted for four saves in the opening session, as the Knights held a 1-0 advantage as the teams broke for halftime.
Concordia College-Alabama broke through for the tying goal in the 67th minute of this one, when Diego Bastos found the back of the net with a blast from the right half of the penalty area to knot the game at one goal apiece. Later – in the 79th minute – Kiuchi committed a foul inside the box, as the Hornets' John Eilsee was awarded a penalty kick. Despite the advantage typically favoring the kicker in penalty kick situations, Kiuchi showed just how valuable he has been for Berkeley this season by making an incredible stop on a low liner towards the left bottom of the goal to keep the game tied.
The Knights would take advantage of Kiuchi's sensational stop, as the Berkeley netminder would send the ball up the field to Ali Dahwa who netted a goal in the 80th minute to put the Knights ahead for good. Concordia was unable to handle Berkeley's suffocating defensive strategy in the final 10 minutes of action, as the Knights held on for a thrilling one-goal victory. Following the win, Head Coach Stavros Zomopoulos gave his thoughts.
"Today, our team exemplified the words grit, determination, and resiliency," Zomopoulos said. "This was a status quo victory for us. We had the lead, we allowed the equalizer – and despite doing so – we never lost our focus. Masahiro made an incredible save, and less than a minute later we scored the game-winner. I couldn't be more proud of this team. Our confidence is very high at this moment, and we'll give it our best shot tomorrow against a terrific Bryant & Stratton-Syracuse squad."
Concordia College-Alabama out-shot the Knights 19-11 on the afternoon, but Kiuchi made 10 stops while allowing just the one goal to propel Berkeley to the win. Despite the defeat, Hornets netminder Matt Fallon made six saves. Concordia College-Alabama attempted six corner kicks compared to two for Berkeley.
Berkeley College now moves on to take on Bryant & Stratton-Syracuse in what should be a classic confrontation. Those interested in following live stats for the contest can do so by accessing this link - http://www.theuscaa.com/sports/msoc/2015-16/boxscores/20151106_b6ou.xml
As Always, full coverage of the Knights competing in the National Tournament – including box scores, recaps, and schedules – can be accessed by visiting www.theuscaa.com or berkeleycollegeknights.com.