For the first time in school history, the Berkeley College New York men's soccer team will play in the USCAA Division II National Men's Soccer title game, as the No. 1 seeded Knights defeated last year's titlists, Penn State Brandywine, by a score of 2-0 Saturday evening in a match played at the Princess Anne Sports Complex in Virginia Beach, VA. The Knights improved to 14-6-1 with the win, while No. 4 seeded Penn State Brandywine dipped to 16-6-1, and was eliminated from the tournament with the loss.
Berkeley College achieved sweet redemption this evening, eliminating the team that essentially bounced them from the National tournament the previous year. The Knights will now have a day of rest, and will next play either Berkeley College (New Jersey), Johnson & Wales (Charlotte), or Penn State Beaver in Monday's championship match (4pm). The Nittany Lions of Penn State Brandywine will finalize their season tomorrow with one final match against No. 5 seeded Southern Maine Community College (2:15pm).
Just like in last season's postseason meeting between the Knights and Nittany Lions, neither team was able to score over the contest's opening 45 minutes. Once the match flipped to the second session, USCAA Division II Player of the Year Amadou Sy took over the match.
In the 63rd minute, Sy buried a kick from right in front of the net after receiving a beautiful lead pass from Tcharly Verna (62:25). Exactly 12 minutes later, the two aforementioned standouts connected again, with Sy slashing another ball home to catapult the Knights to a commanding 2-0 edge. Penn State Brandywine was able to muster three shots in the final 15:35 of play, but the Nittany Lions were unable to capture the magic of their Cinderella run the year prior, as Berkeley College advanced for an impressive 2-0 victory.
The Knights defense has an incredible over the past four matches. Dario Cruz-Sepulveda and Berkeley College's defenders have not allowed a goal in four matches, and have not yielded a score in 405:38. Cruz-Sepulveda, Berkeley's All-World netminder, lowered his USCAA Tournament G.A.A. to 0.16 over four matches. Tonight, he stopped all four of the shots that came his way.
Sy, the Dakar, Senegal product who dominanated teams during the regular season and HVIAC Tournament, had another incredible evening offensively. His two goals have put Berkeley College just 90 minutes away from the program's first National title.
Berkeley College out-shot Penn State Brandywine by a count of 21-10 for the match. The Knights were whistled for 17 fouls on the night, compared to five for the Nittany Lions.