The College of Staten Island women’s soccer team was on the short end of a tight and heavily-contested CUNYAC Final, falling to the City College of New York, 1-0, in their Championship Final under the lights at Randall’s Island Field 10 earlier this evening. With the win, the Beavers clinched the CUNYAC’s first-ever entry into the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Champioship Tournament. The Dolphins, who fell to 12-7, are at the official close of their season, awaiting word on a possible extension via an ECAC Metro NY/NJ Tournament berth, which will be announced on Monday.
Chances were at a premium all evening, as neither team wasable to muster much offense, trading spurts of possession but ultimately thwarting several attempts at goal with sound defense at both ends. The teams traded long stretches of time in each other’s end, but the results were fruitless. CCNY, however, was controlling play in the midfield, and winning key 50/50 balls in the midfield that was leading to increased possesion time. That opportunistic play paid off at 20:58, when Dzindzi Asamoah-Wade corraled a loose ball from the top of the box away from a would-be CSI defender. With CSI keeper Jennifer Coughlan bearing down on the ball, Wade chipped her shot high, scoring a goal into what was essentially a wide-open net, staking the No. 2 seeds to a 1-0 lead.
“It was an unfortunate goal and a bad break for us,” said Guagliardo, who noted that the attempted clear-out by the Dolphins was deflected and led to the Wade marker. “That’s one of the ways we didn’t want to get beat tonight, but they seized the opporyunityand made us pay for the mistake.”
From there, the name of the game was defense for the Beavers, as the team put as many as five and six defenders on their back-line, often times doubling and triple-teamming the CSI duo od Demi-Jean Martorano and Samantha Wysokowski, who combined for 48 goals this season, and tallied 9 of CSI’s 13 shots tonight.
The Dolphins earned some better chances in the decond frame, spreading out nine shots in the stanza, but none passed Beavers keeper Nicole Carroll, who made seven saves in the shutout win. Even when Carroll wasn’t making saves, her key interceptions on crosses and corner kicks helped keep CSI’s potent offense at bay.
After a feverish and frantic final minutes, the Beavers weathered the storm, clinching their first title since 2009 and leaving CSI grasping for answers.
“We are disappointed,” said Guagliardo. “CCNY is a tough team and they played exceptionally well tonight, but we didn’t play our best tonight and it showed. We had a very good season but this is a game we will remember for awhile.”
All tolled, CSI finished the game with a 14-8 shot advantage (7-5 on goal), and a 7-2 edge in corner kicks, but obviously, the finalscore was the difference.
For the Dolphins, the 12 wins are the second most in program history, one less than the 13 games the team won in 2011. The loss to CCNY was the first by the Dolphins against a conference opponent since a 3-1 loss to Medgar Evers College in the 2010 Championship Game, ending a 16-game unbeaten streak (15-0-1).
Although the postseason announcements remain to be seen, CSI is expected to be a strong candidate for ECAC consideration. The tournament will begin next Wednesday, with announcements being made on Monday. Should the Dolphins qualify for the ECAC’s, it would mark the third time in program history they have done so.