The No. 3 seeded Berkeley College New Jersey men's soccer team had its quest for a USCAA Division II National title come to an end on Sunday afternoon, as the Knights were stunned by the No. 6 seeded Nittany Lions of Penn State Beaver, losing to the Nittany Lions by a sore of 3-2
By suffering a defeat, Berkeley's fairly successful 2019 campaign wrapped up at 11-7-1. The Knights were eliminated from the "B" pool in the tournament by virtue of Johnson & Wales University-Charlotte owning the best goal differential. Penn State Beaver entered the afternoon needing a four goal victory over Berkeley to advance, so despite the victory, the Nittany Lions were bounced from the tournament as well.
The USCAA Division II National title will be decided tomorrow at 4:00pm, as No. 1 seeded Berkeley College (New York) will take on No. 2 seeded Johnson & Wales University-Charlotte at the Princess Anne Sports Complex.
Things looked promising for the Knights in the opening half, as freshman forward Esteban Pedrueza recorded goals at 25:35 and 28:16. Marcos Hidalgo registered an assist on the first goal, with Gennaro Vittorioso getting credited with one on the latter of the two scores. As time expired on the first half, Berkeley College held a 2-0 advantage.
The momentum of the match swung in the 63rd minute. Penn State Beaver's Danylo Yakymov drew a foul in the box on his team's corner kick, resulting in Yakymov receiving a penalty kick opportunity. He would bury the kick (62:19), slicing the Nittany Lions deficit in half at 2-1. 10:55 later, Penn State Beaver would tie the game against Knights backup netminder Angel Sanchez, making it a 2-2 match (at 73:04).
The Nittany Lions would take the lead for good with 3:33 remaining in the match when Romaine Thompson would score what turned out to be the match-winner (from Yakymov).
Penn State Beaver out-shot Berkeley College by a count of 23-19 for the match. Each team earned three corner kick opportunities in the match.
Despite not capturing a USCAA Division II National crown, Berkeley College still accomplished plenty this season. For the Knights, they qualified for their second USCAA Tournament appearance, and registered double-digits in victories for the third time in four years. In addition Gennaro Vittorioso and Marcos Hidalgo were tabbed as First Team All-Americans, Robert Parker was named a Second Team All-American, Carlos Goncalves, Jordan Bailey, Arturo Layza, and Julian Penta earned Scholar-Athlete honors, and Salaimon Sarwari was announced as an Honorable Mention All-American.
The Knights will now will reload, regroup, and focus their efforts on the 2020 season, as Berkeley College will take aim at winning the program's first USCAA Division II National crown.