ALBANY, N.Y. — The No. 3 seed SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry earned their first Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s soccer championship upsetting the No. 1 seed College of New Rochelle, 3-1, on Sunday afternoon at the ACPHS Soccer Field.
The Mighty Oaks (10-4-1) also become the lowest seed to win the title in the last 10 years of the tournament and complete a sweep of the Soccer Championships, following in the footsteps of a 2-1 upset of top-seeded Albany Pharmacy in the women’s title game.
New Rochelle (15-3) entered the post-season as an overwhelming favorite after outscoring the league by a 46-2 margin en route to the undefeated regular season title. They also entered the final game on a 10-game winning streak and riding seven straight clean sheets.
As expected, the Blue Angels struck first on Gabriel Lopez's goal in the 29th minute but the Mighty Oaks quickly responded three minutes later on Mickael Myagkota's marker that kept the game deadlocked at 1-1 after the opening 45 minutes.
Despite playing against the gusting wind in the first half, CNR outshot ESF 10-5 and held a 5-2 edge in corners.
But the Mighty Oaks caught the Blue Angels off guard on a counter-attack less than two minutes into the second stanza when Joe Marino dribbled the deep into the CNR box and passed the ball across to a streaking Jorge Guarin whose initial one-touch shot was blocked by the defense but the senior collected the rebound and buried it into the back of the net. For scoring the eventual game-winner and adding another tally in the semifinal, Guarin was later named Tournament MVP.
With a high-scoring offense that averaged over four-and-half goals a game this season, CNR still had plenty of time to equalize—also aided by with the wind in the second half—and they managed their share of opportunities.
In the 72nd minute, league-leading scorer and 2016 Player of the Year Jovanni Garcia appeared to score the equalizer slipping past the defense and finishing on a 1v1, but it was negated by a razor-thin offsides call. Just two minutes later, Garcia gained a free kick attempt from just outside the 18, which he fired over the wall, but rang squarely off the crossbar.
CNR finished with an 11-6 shooting edge in the second stanza and an 8-2 discrepancy in corners, but the Blue Angels never found the equalizer. ESF tacked on an insurance goal in the 82nd minute off the foot of Joe Marino to help seal their first championship in only their second year in the league.
With the victory, SUNY ESF earns the conference's automatic bid to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships to be held on November 10-14 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The Mighty Oaks will find their tournament seeding when the tournament field is announced on November 1st. More information can be found at http://soccer.theuscaa.com.
# # #
2016 HVIAC Men's Soccer Championships
Semifinals - Saturday, October 22
Championship - Sunday, October 24
#3 SUNY ESF def. #1 New Rochelle, 3-1 | Box
Jorge Guarin | SUNY ESF | Senior | Forward | Mexico City, Mexico
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Tournament Runner-Up and Regular Season Champions
The College of New Rochelle