The No. 1 seeded Berkeley College New York men's soccer team is one victory away from a trip to the USCAA Division II National title game, as the Knights this evening outlasted the No. 5 seeded SeaWolves of Southern Maine Community College by a score of 1-0 in double overtime at the Princess Anne Sports Complex in Virginia Beach, VA. With the victory, the Knights are now 13-6-1 on the 2019 campaign, while the SeaWolves, who came in winners of 13 of their previous 14 contests, fell to 13-3 on the year.
The win for the Knights means the program is in the exact same position it was in one year ago, needing a triumph over Penn State Brandywine in order to qualify for the USCAA Division II National championship game. Should Berkeley suffer a loss to the Nittany Lions tomorrow, Berkeley would need to wait on the outcome of Sunday's Southern Maine Community College-Penn State Brandywine confrontation to learn its status.
After 45 minutes of scoreless soccer, the Knights came out extremely aggressive in the second half, registering 20 shots, including seven on-goal, but Berkeley was unable to find the back of the net. The Knights also hit the crossbar twice, and a SeaWolves defender also came up with a huge save in front of the net as well. Time expired in regulation without a goal being recorded.
The first overtime session didn't feature a golden goal, but 1:58 into the second overtime, Knights veteran Ryuji Sugiyama would convert on a blast from 35 yards out (from Anthony Mejia), as the ball found the top left corner of the net to give Berkeley the victory, and send the entire Knights team into an ecstatic state. It was Sugiyama's first goal of the 2019 campaign, and his fourth career goal overall.
The aforementioned game-winning goal scored by Sugiyama ended Berkeley's scoreless streak in USCAA Tournament games at 208:30.
Southern Maine Community College gave Berkeley College everything it had tonight, pushing the No. 1 seeded Knights to their limits. The Knights did have a 34-14 edge in the shots category, including a 20-7 difference in the second half, but the Seawolves did a fine job bottling up USCAA Division II Player of the Year Amadou Sy, yielding only two shots from Sy in 101:58 of action.
Knights netminder Dario Cruz-Sepulveda faced four shots and saved them all. In three career USCAA Tournament games, the USCAA First-team All-American has a 2-1 record, stopping eight shot, allowing just one goal, and posting a G.A.A. of 0.21. His defenders in front of him have also only allowed a total of 26 total shots in three tournament contests, an average of 8.6 per match.
Southern Maine Community College netminder Joshua Nagle was sensational despite the defeat. He registered nine saves and allowed just one goal in taking the loss.
Berkeley College and Penn State Brandywine's match at the Princess Anne Sports Complex begins tomorrow at 4:45pm. Keep it posted to www.BerkeleyCollegeKnights.com and www.theuscaa.com to continue to follow the Knights in their quest for the program's first USCAA Division II National title.