Giovanni Cortese's penalty kick goal was the game-winner as CSI won 1-1 (5-4)

The College of Staten Island men’s soccer team may have come into the 2012 ECAC Metro NY/NJ Postseason Tournament as a decided underdog, but the visiting Dolphins came up triumphant and will advance to the tourney semifinals via a 5-4 penalty kick win after a 1-1 draw against top-seeded Rutgers-Newark in a game played this evening in Newark.  The Dolphins moved to 11-10-1 on the season and will advance to the semifinal round on Saturday, while the Scarlet Raiders finalized their season at 14-7-1.

Despite their seedings in the eight-team single elimination tournament (CSI came in as the No. 8 team in the field), the Dolphins felt confident heading in, and held their own against the formidable Raiders attack.  Although RU controlled possession, both teams battled in each other’s end for sizable stretches, until finally, CSI caught the break it needed in the 25th minute.  With CSI and CUNYAC leading goal-scorer Nedgy Nazon bearing down on goal, a ball was played by a Rutgers defender on a would-be clearing attempt, and the deflection ended up going passed RU keeper Matt Broomall via an own goal at 25:55.

Now with a 1-0 lead, CSI hung back defensively, not willing to yield the equalizing goal.  The Dolphins attained success to close the first half still on top, but the waves of RU rush proved too much in the 65th minute, when William Munoz blasted in a shot from short range after teammate Diego Morales put in a cross from the goal line, passed CSI keeper Ahmed El-Ghareib.  With 25 minutes to play, the score was knotted at 1-1.

After being out-shot 7-3 in the first stanza, CSI out-shot RU, 7-6, in the second frame, but only one shot was put on goal and Broomall preserved the tie for the top seeds.  That sent the game into overtime.  

From there, the teams stayed scoreless on the sheet, but it was Rutgers’ tern to amp up the pressure, outshooting the visitors by a 6-2 count. Alas, with the score tied, the game moved to penalty kick shootout in the blistering cold.  Rutgers was given the opening shot, and the teams traded blows.  

Harrison Wagner beat El-Ghareib first, followed by Lirim Begai’s blast that laced past Broomall.  Morales then struck for RU, as did CSI’s Brandon Cadmen, to make it 2-2.  Steven Fawzy signaled for RU, and was equalized by Christian Chrinos’ strike.  Nick Kyprianou gave RU a 4-3 lead, but CSI again answered with Alfonso Castaneda’s strike, to knot it up at 4-4.

With one shot remaining, El-Ghareib made the biggest save of the Dolphins’ season, breaking up a Gabriel Avans blast, keeping the score tied.  With one CSI captain making the save, another, Giovanni Cortese stepped in to take the biggest shot of his career.  The senior did not disappoint, firing a missile into the corner of the goal to send the CSI players and coaches into frenzy.

The win for the Dolphins enters them into the ECAC Semifinals for the first time in a decade.  They will await the winner of No. 4 New York University and No. 5 Ramapo College.  That game will be played tomorrow evening at Gaelic Park in Riverdale, New York.  

In the only other quarterfinal played tonight, No. 2 Richard Stockton defeated No. 7 Mount Saint Mary College, 3-0.  RSC will face the winner of No. 3 New Jersey City University vs. No. 6 Brooklyn College.  That game will also be played tomorrow evening.