Beavers Start Title Defense With Win in Championship Rematch

By Ralph Chery, Contributor | 

Men’s soccer team opens their 2016 CUNYAC bid the same way they closed it, with a narrow win against College of Staten Island.

Miguel Muniz capitalized on CSI keeper Jake Foeldes’ mistake, allowing CCNY a 1-0 win in their CUNYAC season opener, Saturday afternoon at the CSI Soccer Complex.

The freshman keeper fumbled the ball of a corner kick in front of Muniz, who took full advantage of the glorious opportunity, hitting the ball in a vacant net in the 78th minute.

“I didn’t expect to get the ball at all,” Muniz said about his first collegiate goal. “The goalie made a mistake so I got lucky, but it’s a goal so I’m happy.”

This win puts CCNY on top of the CUNYAC standings and pushes them to a seven-game winning streak against conference opponents.

The Dolphins outshot City 14-8, but couldn’t get the ball past keeper Maxwell Berkow, who finished the game with five saves.

“I would say they [City College] managed to pull out the win by just sticking to it,” Assistant Coach Lee Loradin said after the game. “It doesn’t matter how many shots that you have, it depends on the opportunity that we took. The goalie messed up and we capitalized on that, so the shots really didn’t matter.”

The Beavers didn’t take their first shot of the game until the 54th minute, when Stephanos Hondrakis scissor-kicked Lanfia Diaby’s corner kick to the bottom-right corner of the net. Foeldes dove on his right to make his first save in a conference match-up.

Five minutes later, City had another chance to take the lead. Diaby ran to Kevin Muniz’s through-ball before sending a low cross in the box. An unmarked Hondrakis charged toward the ball but was a split second too late in getting there.

After CCNY’s missed opportunities, the Dolphins would have a couple of their own as well, in the span of one minute. Adrian Cosovic couldn’t beat Berkow in the net from inside the box during the 72nd minute. Just a minute later, after being set by a free kick from Peter Hanna, Dardan Nika shot the ball over the net, even though he was alone inside the six-yard box.

City made CSI pay for wasting their chances later in the 78th minute. Diaby hit a corner kick straight at Foeldes, who spilled the ball in front of Muniz. Muniz got to the ball faster than the keeper and stuck it in an empty net.

The defending champs were inches away from making it two when senior captain, Abdul Abdulai, hit a shot to the side netting from a tough angle after executing a magnificent one-two with Kenan Redzematovic two minutes from the end of regulation.

The Beavers only conceded three goals in their seven-game winning-streak amongst CUNYAC teams. However, they defeated their opponents by only one goal four times, making their defense the leading factor in the team’s success.

The leader of the back four, Syed Haider, mentioned how important it is to stop their opponents from scoring.

“My mentality as a defender, as a last man, is always that if they can’t score then they can’t win the game so that’s how I take every game,” Haider said.

Next up for the reigning champions is a home game against the Lightning of Lehman College, on Wednesday, September 21st, at 4:30 p.m. Lehman drew in their conference opener against Brooklyn College, finishing 1-1. In their sole meeting last season, Lehman overpowered City, defeating them 4-0. The Beavers look to reverse the outcome in the upcoming meeting this Wednesday on Randall’s Island, Field 91.

*Cover photo by Curtis Ashley / CCNY Beaver Beat

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