Flashback Friday looks at the top moments from the 2015-16 athletic year at the College of Staten Island.  It’s time to unveil our top moment from the 2015-16 season, owned by senior Samantha Wysokowski and the CSI Women’s Soccer team, who scored an overtime golden goal winner over top-seeded Lehman College, 2-1, in the CUNYAC Championship.  The win catapulted the Dolphins into the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament for the first time in school history and erased the sting of three straight Finals losses.

#1 – Women’s Soccer earns golden goal winner over top-seeded Lehman in CUNYAC Championship
Date:  November 7, 2015
Who:  Women’s Soccer
Where: Brooklyn College – Brooklyn, NY
What Happened:  The College of Staten Island came onto the field against Lehman College in the CUNYAC Championship played at Brooklyn in unchartered territory, a marked underdog for the first time in the big game and having been dealt a heavy, 5-1, loss to the Lightning earlier in the season.  But riding the high of a gritty, 1-0, win days before over Brooklyn in the Semifinal round, CSI took many by surprise when Danielle Alexandrini tallied in the 22nd minute to give the lower-seeds a 1-0 lead.  But the early pounce only served to invigorate the top seeds, as just 12 minutes later and with 11 minutes to go in the first half, league MVP Chelsea Harris scored the equalizer for Lehman to knot the game up.  That set the stage for the war of attrition that would follow.  The chances were few and far between, and still, Lehman dominated play in stretches and when time expired and overtime beckoned, many thought CSI would be better served playing for a tie and taking their chances with penalty kicks.  But the Dolphins had different plans.  From the jump, the Dolphins found another gear in overtime, peppering the Lehman net, and narrowly missing a chance when Samantha Wysokowski missed an open chance with just over two minutes to play in the initial stanza.  The Dolphins failed to relent, however, and with inside of 30 seconds to play, CSI converged on a ball at midfield and defender Krysta Percaccio skied it into the box and delivered it to Wysokowski who threaded two defenders and thundered the ball home, getting swarmed by her teammates while the score reflected the 2-1 overtime win for the Dolphins.  For CSI it was their first Finals win since 2011, when Wysokowski ironically played goalkeeper in a penalty shootout win over John Jay, and it sent the Dolphins to their first NCAA National Tournament appearance in their history.  CSI finished their season with a record of 13-5-1.

4609Q&A…with Samantha Wysokowski

Sam, the team went through some disappointment in the past in the CUNYAC Final.  How intent were you to make sure that this team ended the season differently this time around?  After three years of heartbreak in the CUNYAC Finals my one goal this year was to win it. Our six seniors knew that we had to step up and make sure that we didn’t let anyone down. We wanted to show the new players what it was like to be part of a winning program. We dedicated so much time, effort, and heart to make sure that things would be different this season and that we would be lifting up a trophy at the end.

The team underwent a coaching change this year as well.  How did that impact and effect how you guys approached the year and developed as a team during the year?  Before the season started the girls and I were nervous that the new coaching staff wouldn’t understand the struggles we had gone through in the previous seasons. With that on our minds we knew that we would have to depend on each other a little more during the season. We pushed each other on and off the field because we did not want to lose. The change in coaching staff brought us closer together. We battled together, lost together and won together. We were able to accomplish so many great things because we were such a close team.

During the season, Lehman College handed you a heavy-handed 5-1 loss at their place and they ended up running away with the regular season.  How did the team deal with that loss and how did it leave you during the year?  That game was hard to watch. I had injured my knee again the week before this game and had to sit out and watch my team take on Lehman without me. When the final whistle blew, the girls and I were very upset with the result, but knew that we couldn’t let it happen again. This game was a wake-up call that we needed to step up and work even harder as a team if we wanted to have a successful season and post-season. From this game on we were able to regroup and better ourselves from top to bottom.

In the playoffs you got over a huge hump when you defeated Brooklyn on the road, 1-0, to get to the Final.  How did that win help you or give you confidence against Lehman a few days later?  As soon as we stepped onto the field, we knew that game was going to be a hard fought battle. We had worked extremely hard to get to that point in the season and we were not going to let Brooklyn take it away from us. After winning the game I was so proud of my team. The win allowed us to breathe and focus on what we would need to do to win a championship. The win gave us just the right amount of confidence to send us into the Final.

How important was it to get that early lead against Lehman in the Final?  Did it give you confidence and what were some of the things you felt the team was doing well at that point?  Scoring the first goal was huge. I don’t think Lehman expected us to put up a fight, especially after our loss during the regular season. The goal allowed us to settle down our play, while causing Lehman to play a rushed game in hopes of evening the score. At that point in the game I thought we were working extremely hard and defending very well. We had to continue playing that way if we wanted to win.

They came back to tie and from there, the game was a literal stalemate.  They seemed to dictate play in stretches and the chances were really few and far between for you guys.  On the field in that situation, what goes through your mind and how do you approach things as the time starts to tick down?  After they tied the game you’d expect us to put our heads down, but I think we did a great job of keeping our heads and not letting it dictate our play. I remember telling myself and the team that it wasn’t over. At this point in my soccer career I have learned that anything can happen so as the clock started to tick down the only thing that was going through my mind was “I’m not losing.” I was willing to leave everything I had on the field if it meant my team and I would lift the championship trophy.
In overtime it was almost like the game turned around and now you guys were really putting on more pressure.  Was the team determined to win it in overtime instead of the game going to PK’s?  
I personally did not want to go into PKs. I’m not a fan of them. However, the goal from the start of overtime was to give everything you have. 

Take us through that final exchange in front of the net.  You missed an open opportunity moments before and then with 23 seconds left you powered a shot in to win the game.  What happened?  It was disheartening to miss an opportunity at net in such an important game, but when the ball came to me the second time I knew I couldn’t let this opportunity slip away. For six of us, it could’ve been our last game and I didn’t want that to be the case. I did everything in my power to get to the ball and put it in the back of the net.
Some players go their whole lives without experiencing a moment like that.  What’s going through your mind when you score, what does it feel like to experience that?  It was a moment that I will never forget for the rest of my life. It took a moment to realize what had actually happened, but when I realized that we had won I didn’t know if I wanted to cry, scream, or run, so I did all three. After battling back from my ACL tear it was an incredible way to end my career. I can truly say I left everything on the field and that I could not have done it without my teammates.

Your freshman year you won a championship in goal on penalties and four years later you won another the way you did.  Can you put into words what your career at CSI has meant to you?  My career at CSI has meant everything to me. I am so blessed to have been able to call CSI my second home. To be a part of two championship teams is an absolute honor. Being an athlete at CSI has taught me to not only play for myself, but to play for everyone who has helped me in my journey. I cannot express how thankful I am that I was able to play with such an amazing group of talented players. I will forever be proud to be a Dolphin.

Other Highlights
CSI Game Story
Game Boxscore
Staten Island Advance Coverage
Game Video
Game Highlights
CUNYAC Photo Gallery

Kristy Colangelo registered 6
saves in the win

Danielle Alexandrini scored
the game’s first goal

Wysokowski registerd the game-
winner in the 100th minute