Five second half goals lift the Dolphins over the Cougars to move on to the semifinals of the CUNYAC Postseason tournament which will take place on Saturday in Brooklyn, NY. CSI also improved to 10-8-2 with the win while Medgar Evers season came to a close with an overall record of 4-11.
The Dolphins came out flat in the first half of the game as nerves tend to run high during playoff games. Medgar came out looking like a determined team as they were able to find open gaps in the Dolphins defense which left CSI scrambling around trying to find their form. The Cougars found the break they needed as Dave Henry chipped a through ball over the top of the Dolphins back line and connected with Zeakiel Daley who found himself one-on-one with John Gioeli and put the ball over Gioeli into the top of the net to put the Cougars up 1-0.
CSI had its fair share of chances in the first half but none were really putting the keeper under pressure as he was forced to only make one save in the first half. One of the Dolphins’ chances looked to surely be a goal after Nermin Kurtesi was able to dribble around the goalie and take a shot to the low near post which was cleared off the line by a Cougar defender for a corner kick. Alfonso Castaneda had a chance to score off the corner after a poor clearance by the defender who was only able to clear the ball as far as the 18 yard line and Castaneda would shoot it over the goal for a goal kick.
At the half the Dolphins looked frustrated and out of sync as they were coming off the field but they did not count themselves out. A few changes at halftime and an inspirational speech by Coach John Tardy seemed to invigorate the Dolphins as they would go out in the second half looking like a different team.
It took the Dolphins just 15 seconds to score in the second half as Daniel Tsygankov received a through ball from Dardan Nika who was able to tuck the ball under the goalie far post to even the game at 1-1. Then just 39 seconds later Castaneda would steal a pass intended for a Cougar defender and would shoot a low driven shot which also found its way under the goalies arm for the second goal and eventually game winning goal of the game.
CSI was firing on all cylinders as they started to connect passes and possess the ball, things they were having trouble doing in the first half. The Dolphins’ leading goal scorer, Nicholas Bacarella, would find his way onto the score sheet as Remiah Rodney sent in a perfect diagonal through ball from right to left over the Cougar’s defensive line where Bacarella settled the ball and rifled one upper 90 near post to increase the Dolphins’ lead to 3-1.
Castaneda’s day was not finished as in the 58th minute of play CSI was awarded a corner kick where Castaneda tricked the goalie and scored from the corner kick to give him his second goal of the game. Kurtesi would score the final goal of the game when Noble Hadgu sent in a free kick to the back post where the Cougars’ goalie misjudged the ball and he found himself with an easy header for the games last goal.
CSI led the shot count 25-8 (9-4 shots on goal). Castaneda led the team with seven total shots and Ruben Diaz was issued a yellow card for his sixth of the season.
The Dolphins will move onto the CUNYAC Semifinals on Saturday at 2:00pm and play Baruch College in Brooklyn, NY.