For the second time this season, the College of Staten Island men’s soccer team fell to Lehman College, 1-0, only this time the loss was much more painful, as it ends the Dolphins’ quest for a CUNYAC title at the semifinal stage. The top-seeded Lightning (9-3-3) will move on to the CUNYAC Championship next weekend, awaiting the winner of No. 2 Hunter and No. 6 Baruch, while the Dolphins’ season is stalled with a record of 11-7-2 overall.
In the regular season contest, Lehman was out-shot in the contest, 14-7, but in the 61st minute, Essosa Aluyi was able to register the game-winner. This time, Lehman tallied in the 26th minute and never looked back, despite being out-shot by CSI, 17-6. For the Dolphins the story was not being able to find the target, as only three of their 17 shots were on goal, a percentage of just 18%.
CSI’s best chance may have come early, when at 2:16, Mike Arellanes almost changed the game by getting a shot past Irvin Barreto of Lehman only for it to hit off of the crossbar. CSI continued to win balls and mount possession, but a series of shots did could not find the twine. CSI forward Dardan Nika powered three towards net, but one was blocked, another saved by Barreto and a third sailed high of target.
That led into the midway mark of the first stanza. On just their second attempt at goal of the game, Ramone Rowe bent a gorgeous cross into the box that Aluyi punched in via the header past CSI keeper Jake Foeldes, his eighth tally of the season. From there, Lehman had the momentum and now with a lead, they held a tight back line and CSI was able to get off just one shot, a header high of goal by Ruben Diaz in the 36th minute.
Knowing it had to put out all the stops to score, CSI was seemingly anxious in the second half and it showed, and they constantly pressed for an equalizer. Five minutes into the frame, however, Barreto was up to the task of saving a Matthew Bessler header, and in the 61st minute, Barreto turned aside a Ryan Layman shot.
CSI would not get a shot on target the rest of the way. They did have their chances. In the 75th minute, Vasyl Fedortsi sent a screaming shot wide of net and the Dolphins just could not get a decent attempt off of eight corner kicks in the second half, squandering a host of opportunities from in close.
After a final flurry, the clock expired, clinching Lehman’s trip to the final and their third over CSI all-time in the CUNYAC Tournament. In addition to the shot count, CSI led the final corner kick count by a huge, 17-1, margin.
For now, the Dolphins’ season is over, but they are eligible for the ECAC Metro Championship Tournament if they are selected. Those bids are offered on Monday, November 7. The Dolphins will be idle until then, hoping for advanced play to their season. For Lehman, they will await either Hunter or Baruch who play this evening in the Final that will be played at Brooklyn College on Saturday, November 5.