In program’s third year, Brooklyn College soccer wins second straight championship
The Brooklyn College women’s soccer program is just three years old, but it has quickly become the top team in the CUNY Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) as it won its second consecutive title on Saturday and let everyone know that last season was no fluke.
“Last year we were the underdogs, and nobody really expected us to win,” said senior Bergelie Louis. “This year we came into the season as the defending champions. We had a target on our backs, and we just showed everyone that this is a great team. We’re not going anywhere, and we’re going to come back and try to win it all over again next year, too.”
In a rematch of last year’s CUNYAC title game, the Brooklyn College Bulldogs beat the College of Staten Island Dolphins (CSI) 1-0 in Midwood on Saturday. They have now won back-to-back CUNYAC championships. Louis netted the game winner in the second half and was named MVP.
“This was a tough, close match that we really had to fight for,” freshman Isabelle Lalami said. “We were getting chances to score, but they were making it hard for us. It was frustrating. We felt like we were the better team and that made us want to keep fighting. Eventually, we knew it would come.”
Goaltending highlighted the first half. Brooklyn’s Jordan Kerwin had a shot sail just wide right during the 15th minute. CSI’s Kristy Colangelo had a golden opportunity in the 34th minute, but Rebecca Harmata made a diving stop to keep it scoreless. Teams exchanged scoring opportunities in the final eight minutes of the first half with CSI’s keeper Victoria Donegan making a sliding save, and Harmata making her second diving stop.
“Becky is amazing,” Louis said of Harmata. “She’s a freshman and we can keep her for three more years. That’s a big advantage for us. She’s dynamic and unstoppable. The majority of our season is thanks to her and her crazy saves.”
Brooklyn made an adjustment in the second half to get Lalami more involved in the offense. The move paid off as the playmaking freshman made a cross pass to Louis, who buried it into the back of the net just 1:29 into the half to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
“We weren’t getting Isabelle Lalami the ball enough in the first half,” head coach Patrick Horne said. “She’s very quick, and she creates opportunities for herself and her teammates. We knew that if she had the ball more that something would happen.”
Brooklyn College had a tough non-conference schedule this season with games against Stevens Tech, Montclair State and NYU. That scheduling paid off as it prepared the Bulldogs, who then went 5-0-1 in conference play and didn’t allow a goal to any CUNYAC team all season.
“These girls work hard and they’re fit,” Horne said. “In most games this season we caught our stride in the second half because we were in better shape and outworked teams. That tough schedule was a big part of that. The girls got their licks against tougher teams, but they were ready for this game because of it.”
The Brooklyn College men’s soccer team wasn’t as lucky in its championship match later in the afternoon and lost 1-0 to Baruch College. The win makes Baruch the three-time CUNYAC champion and it was the second time in three years that it beat Brooklyn College in the finals.
Baruch scored in the 11th minute and then played strong defense the rest of the way for the win. On a corner kick, Baruch’s Danny Goldberg sent the ball into the box where it eventually found Charles McConnell, who headed it into the back of the net.
“We are very disappointed in conceding the goal in the way that we did … ” said head coach Rawle Hensford. “Nevertheless, I’d like to congratulate Baruch and thank all of our players, especially our seniors, for their hard work and dedication over the course of the season.”
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