The College of Staten Island women’s soccer team saw its quest for a sixth CUNYAC title in seven years thwarted on the conference’s final day, as the Medgar Evers College Cougars defeated the top-seeded Dolphins, 3-1, in the Final held earlier this afternoon at Metropolitan Oval in Queens. The win, MEC’s first CUNYAC Championship in women’s soccer, improved the Cougars to 12-7-1 this season, while the Dolphins finalized at 11-5.
In what was a wild start to the game, MEC seized control with a pair of momentum-swinging plays. Exactly four minutes into play, Medgar used a CSI rush and turnover to go on a quick counter, and a Renel Dennis pass found a streaking Shakira Ho-Sang who raced in unimpeded and laced a shot in the lower left corner to stake the Cougars to a 1-0 lead. The Dolphins argued for an offside call but it was not to be. The Dolphins, however, would get a break of their own just over a minute later, when top-scorer Demi-Jean Martorano was spilled in the box by MEC’s Kerissa Harris, and Martorano was awarded a penalty shot. Against MEC keeper Latima Malachi, Martorano tried for the right side, but Malachi just grazed the shot enough to have it hit off of the post, preserving the lead. That appeared to swing momentum in the Cougars direction, and the underdogs never let up.
The persistance paid off at the 19-minute mark, as once again the Cougars counterattacked at every turn. This time a Giselle Morgan cross found Dennis, who calmly hit the far corner of goal to give Medgar a commanding 2-0 edge.
The dagger was inserted right before halftime. With CSI awarded a free kick after a MEC foul just outside their box, Christina Jacobs’ free kick was gathered by MEC’s Kathy Salcedo, who raced down the left sideline and placed a perfect cross in to Ho-Sang, who buried her second goal passed a diving Victoria Donegan to give the Cougars full control heading into intermission, 3-0.
Most of the second half for the Dolphins was spent trying to generate offense, but the team was pushed away at every turn, forced into low-percentage shots and few quality runs.
With 10 minutes to play, CSI seemed to grasp control, getting better opportunities. Lauren Neglia laced a shot from the left side above the goal box that passed a diving Malachi, only to hit the pipe yet again. Moments later, a Natalie Tombasco drive from the left hit the side of the net. Finally, at 83:10, Neglia got off a hard liner from the right side that Malachi was able to stop but not bring in. Cassandra Black was there to hammer home the rebound, giving the Dolphins life. CSI had a few chances after that, including a point-blank stab under one minute later that Neglia put over the crossbar. The Cougars, throwing nearly every player back on defense stifled the Dolphins from there, preserving the win at 3-1.
Medgar won the shot battle, 19-17 (12-10 on goal). Despite Ho-Sang’s two goals, Dennis was named Most Valuable Player, tallying a goal and an assist on five shots. The win by Medgar is their first in five CUNYAC Championship tries, and earned a two games to one season series win over CSI.
Both teams will now await word on a possible ECAC Postseason berth. The draw will be announced on Monday afternoon.