Men's Soccer (Semifinal 2): Albany Pharmacy 1, Berkeley 1 (ACPHS advances 4-2 in Shootout)

Men's Soccer (Semifinal 2): Albany Pharmacy 1, Berkeley 1 (ACPHS advances 4-2 in Shootout)

Release courtesy of ACPHS Athletics

ACPHS won 1-1; 4-2 in a penalty shootout with the Berkeley College Knights on Saturday night. The win moves the Panthers to 11-4-2 on the year and sends them to take on the SUNY-ESF Mighty Oaks in the 2017 HVIAC Tournament Championship. Berkeley finishes their season with a record of 8-6-2.

The Panthers first chance came from a nice period of build-up play that gave Arlo Wetherbee (Derry, NH / Pinkerton Academy) space to flash a pass across the face of goal, but it could not be touched in by any of the waiting Albany attackers. ACPHS did get their first goal though just minutes later, when senior captain Kyle Jenkins (Holbrook, NY / Sachem East High School) lofted a long free kick into the Berkeley box that fooled keeper Shane Fokuo. Fokuo came out to punch but could not connect, allowing senior Jack Hanlon (Guilderland, NY / Guilderland High School) to tap the ball into the empty net for his fourth goal of the year.

Berkeley would not go down easily, equalizing in the 25th minute through Marcos Leon. Leon received a cross from his fellow forward Matthew Perreira at the top of the box, took two dribbles towards goal, and unleashed a swerving effort that beat senior keeper Matt Houlihan (Levittown, NY / Kellenberg Memorial High School) at his far post. There was a hint of offside on the entry pass to Perreira, but the flag stayed down which allowed Leon to net his eighth of the year and knot the game at 1.

Two Panthers received yellows along with one Knight in the closing minutes of a half that saw 14 fouls in total called. The yellow card against Berkeley was not for a player though, as head coach Stavros Zomopoulos received it after arguing one of the nine offside calls against the Knights in the half. The teams went into the break even in shot attempts, with five a piece.

Berkeley had the first few chances to break the deadlock in the 2nd half, but Houlihan made two important saves to keep the game tied. The first came when forward Meshema Charles was put through on goal by Emmanuel Poku-Adusei. Houlihan raced out of goal and absorbed Charles' effort well a save only outdone by his next. Charles was once again the shot-taker, but his attempt was partially blocked by Edward Ahanmisi (Vancouver, BC / Bodwell High). Houlihan raced backward and dove to push the ball just wide of the post before it looped behind him into the net.

ACPHS' first real chance came from a corner taken by sophomore Austin Myers (Morrisonville, NY / Saranac High) with 18 minutes left that was again mishandled by the Berkeley keeper. Fokuo's punch deflected directly to Hanlon who had an opportunity for his second goal of the game, but his header begged just wide of the post.
The team's played hard for the rest of the period, but neither could find a second goal so the game headed to overtime. In the first overtime period, only Berkeley had a chance to end the game, but a close range shot from Jovani Guzman was saved well by Houlihan to keep the Panthers in it. ACPHS did have a penalty shout in the closes seconds when Hanlon looked to be fouled in the box, but the referee did not see it that way.

In the second overtime period, Hanlon had a golden opportunity to end the game when the Panthers were awarded a penalty kick after some pushing and shoving found multiple ACPHS players down in the box. Berkeley subbed on a new keeper before Hanlon took the spot kick, but it did not matter either way as he pushed his shot wide of the net which kept the Knights alive.

Then, in a shocking turn of events, the lights went out 10pm. This made both teams wait about 15 minutes before resuming the final four minutes of the game. Berkeley had a chance to win it with the final kick after they got the lights back on, but Charles' kick rattled the crossbar with one second remaining, and the teams went to a penalty shootout.

In the penalty shootout, Houlihan saved the 2nd and 4th penalties to set up a redemption take for Jack Hanlon. Hanlon drilled his shot into the lower right-hand corner to give send the Panthers to the championship and he was mobbed by his teammates.

The game took just over 3 hours to complete but the Panthers will be back at it tomorrow at 3pm when they take on SUNY-ESF who won their semi-final 2-1 against the College of New Rochelle. The two teams earlier meeting ended in a 5-2 win for the Mighty Oaks.

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Release courtesy of Berkeley Athletics

The Berkeley College New York men's soccer team put forth a valiant effort on Saturday evening in the semifinal round of the 2017 Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament, but the Knights ultimately fell short, losing to the Panthers of the Albany College of Pharmacy in a classic match.

The two league foes were knotted 1-1 from the 25th minute forward – with the fantastic contest staying tied through two overtime sessions before moving to penalty kicks. Once the semifinal moved to kicks, the Panthers converted on all four of their attempts, while Berkeley College was only able to score on two of its four kicks.

The victory sends the Panthers to the championship match tomorrow afternoon, as Albany College of Pharmacy will take on the No.1 seeded Mighty Oaks of SUNY-ESF, who earlier in the day turned back No. 4 New Rochelle by a score of 2-1. SUNY-ESF will aim for its second consecutive conference crown, while Albany will shoot sixth league crown.

For the Knights – Berkeley College will now have to await word on a possible at-large bid to the USCAA Division II National Men's Soccer Tournament. The entire field will be announced on Tuesday, October 31. Regardless of whether Berkeley receives a bid, the Knights will have at least one more game on the season – a November 5 match at Yeshiva University.

Albany College of Pharmacy took an early lead in this one, getting a goal from Jack Hanlon just 9:47 into the match. The goal was Hanlon's fourth on the 2017 campaign, and Kyle Jenkins picked up an assist on the play. That's the way the score would remain until the 25th minute, when the Knights would tie the game on a goal by standout Marcos Leon. The tally was the eighth on the year for Leon, with Matthew Perreira picking up an assist on the play. Both teams were unable to net a go-ahead goal for the remainder of the opening session, and as the teams broke for halftime, the match was tied 1-1.

The Knights and the Panthers both had their opportunities to net a potential game-winner in the second half, with Berkeley College tallying nine shots (including five on-goal), and Albany College of Pharmacy recording eight shots (two on-goal), but neither club was able to find the back of the net. The match would then move to overtime.

The teams would play through two grueling overtime periods, but neither squad was able to find the back of the net. The semifinal round match would then head to penalty kicks, where it all came together for the Panthers.

Berkeley College would strike first in the penalty kick session, with Valon Berisha slipping a ball past Albany's Matt Houlihan to give his team a 1-0 edge in the shootout. The Panthers' Nolan Keith would then even things up, as he tapped a ball into the net – past Osvin Videz-Vasquez – to make it 1-1. Albany College of Pharmacy's next three shooters – Mina Girgis, Kyle Jenkins, and Jack Hanlon – would all convert on their attempts, while two of the next three Knights would fail to score, including Matthew Perreira and Macos Leon (Omario Rosen scored on his shot). The clinching goal came off of the foot on Albany's Hanlon, as he put his team up 4-2 after four rounds of the shootout, essentially ending the match. Following the loss, Head Coach Stavros Zomopoulos gave his thoughts.

"I want to give a tremendous amount of credit to both teams here this evening," Zomopoulos said. "Both squads gave it everything they had, and really gave the fans here this evening a show. As regulation progressed, we knew that the second goal for either squad could essentially prove to be the game-winner. Neither team was able to score that goal, and once it advanced to penalty kicks – they were just the better team. The margin for error once it gets to the shootout is so small, and they performed better than us there. We tip our caps to them and wish them the best of luck in the championship. We will certainly be watching the selection show on Tuesday, and we'll also be ready for our November 5 match against Yeshiva University. I'm certainly disappointed that we're not playing in the league championship match tomorrow, but we will take this as a learning experience and be better for it when this tournament rolls around again in 2018."

Berkeley out-shot Albany by a count of 16-14, and Albany College of Pharmacy held a 7-6 edge in corner kicks. The Knights were whistled for 27 fouls compared to 13 for the Panthers, and Albany College of Pharmacy goalkeeper Matt Houlihan made eight saves in a winning effort for his team.

Berkeley College goalkeeper Shane Fokuo played 102:33, allowing just one goal and making three saves. Videz-Vasquez logged 17:27 and played the shootout, making one save.

Those interested in seeing if the Knights qualify for the USCAA's can do so by navigating to on Tuesday evening.

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