POSTGAME INTERVIEW – For the first time in over a decade, the College of Staten Island men’s soccer squad was crowned as CUNYAC Regular Season Champions, earning the honor in their regular season finale win over City College of New York, 1-0, this morning at Randall’s Island. The Dolphins improved to 9-8-2 overall and 6-1-1 in CUNYAC, landing them their first title since 2003. The Beavers dropped to 6-9-1, 3-4-1, respectively.
Plating without captain Alfonso Castaneda, CSI did get three players back who did not play in a 0-0 tie against Hunter on Thursday, and that certainly played into CSI being more offensive in this game. Still, the Dolphins had a tough go of it trying to generate chances, despite a 14-3 edge in first half shots. The Dolphins seemed poised to take the lead on a shot by Nermin Kurtesi in the 29th minute, but the sophomore got the ball passed CCNY keeper Maxwell Berkow only to hit the post.
CSI kept knocking at the door, until finally, in the 39th-minute, they got the break they were hoping for. A loose ball found the foot of Daniel Tsygankov, who threaded a ball in to Aldair Ramirez who was left on a breakaway. Ramirez stood calm at punched the ball in passed Berkow to stake CSI with the 1-0 lead that they took into the half.
From there, CSI’s goal was to stiffen and not allow CCNY to get into rhythm offensively. It seemed to work as CCNY was only able to muster one shot in the opening 20 minutes of the second half. In the 65th-minute, the CSI back line was able to save a Stephanos Hondrakis shot that seemed headed towards net. CSI keeper John Gioeli only had to make one save after that, as the Dolphins clamped down defensively to win the game, 1-0.
The Dolphins led the final shot count, 25-10 (9-4 on goal). Tsygankov led all players with seven total shots. Gioeli tallied three saves in the shutout win, his 9th of the season. CSI’s Remiah Rodney and Ramirez picked up yellow cautions in the game.
The win clinched the Dolphins the Regular Season CUNYAC title for the first time since 2003, when the Dolphins finished 7-0-1 in the CUNYAC en route to a 13-3-1 campaign. Despite the success, CSI would go on to lose in the CUNYAC Semifinals that year to Hunter College, 1-0. Their last postseason title came in 1998. The championship means the Dolphins will boast the No. 1 seed in the upcoming CUNYAC Postseason Tournament, and will host the No. 8 seed in the CUNYAC Quarterfinals on Wednesday, October 29, at 3pm at the CSI Soccer Complex. Their opponent is yet to be determined.
The Dolphins win today was the team’s first road win over CCNY since October 19, 1978, and the Dolphins improved to just 2-12-2 all-time on the road against the Beavers and just 7-29-3 against them overall.