The Berkeley College New York men's soccer team started its highly-anticipated 2019 campaign with a huge victory, coming from behind to defeat the defending USCAA Division II National champions, the Penn State Brandywine Nittany Lions, by a score of 3-2 Friday afternoon in Media, PA.
Penn State Brandywine may have essentially eliminated the Knights from National title contention last November, but today's victory for Berkeley did two things: It helped the Knights extract a small measure of revenge against the Nittany Lions, and it also served as a confidence booster for Berkeley, should it meet Penn State Brandywine in the National tournament in 2019.
Steve DiSipio netted the opening goal of the afternoon, tapping in a beautiful cross pass from Alex Lopez in the 13th minute to give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead. Just 11 minutes later, it was Lopez taking advantage of a crisp cross pass, as Nathan Bowman zipped the ball over to Lopez, who rocketed the ball past Dario Cruz-Sepulveda to make it 2-0 Penn State Brandywine.
The turning point of the game occurred in the 33rd minute of the opening half. With the Nittany Lions holding a 2-0 edge, Penn State Brandywine's Lopez earned a penalty kick opportunity. Lopez, who could have given his team a potentially-commanding 3-0 advantage in this game, had his shot deflected by Sepulveda to keep Berkeley's deficit two goals.
Jean-Gardy Derineau, who was third on Berkeley in goals scored and second in overall point, took over the game in the final 21 minutes of action. He scored on a penalty kick at 68:30. 6:05 later, he tied the game at two apiece, tapping in Meshema Charles' lob pass from the left side (74:35). Then, with 5:03 remaining in regulation, the standout would find the back of the net again, converting on his second penalty kick opportunity of game to give Berkeley a 3-2 advantage, and essentially, the victory.
The victory for Berkeley snapped Penn State Brandywine's 16-game winning streak, and the Knights also ended the Nittany Lions' string of dominance at home, as Brandywine had won 17 consecutive games in front of its home fans and hadn't on its field since September 21, 2017.
Berkeley has now won nine of 14 games on the road dating back to the final game of the 2017 season. The Knights also own a 10-match winning streak in contests where they score three goals or more.
Sepulveda made four saves in this game for Berkeley – including a huge penalty kick stop in the latter stages of the opening half. The Knights' defense as a whole was masterful, as Berkeley allowed just 11 Nittany Lions shots for the afternoon, including only four in the final 45 minutes of play.
Penn State Brandywine netminder Juan Guerrero stopped five shots over 90 minutes of the Nittany Lions, but allowed three goals in a span of 16:17 in the second session (two via penalty kicks)
Berkeley College out-shot Penn State Brandywine by a slim margin of 13-11 in this one. The fouls were nearly even, with the Knights committing 15 to the Nittany Lions' 14.
The Knights will look to make it two consecutive victories and start 2-0 for the first time since 2010 as they'll travel to Takoma Park, Maryland on Sunday afternoon to battle Washington Adventist. Start-time for that contest is scheduled for 4:00pm.