Baruch Wins CUNYAC Championship in PKs, Return to NCAA!
Ricardo Llanos scored two second-half goals to tie the match and rookie Kellen Sela defended two penalty kicks in the extra session to help the Baruch College Bearcats win the 2018 CUNYAC Men's Soccer Championship on Saturday evening at Brooklyn College.
The Bearcats win their first CUNYAC title and NCAA berth since 2014. They also win their sixth CUNYAC title in team history and fourth since 2012.
They will next discover their first round NCAA Tournament opponent and bracket on Monday at 1:00 p.m. via NCAA.com. The NCAA first round match is scheduled for next Saturday, November 10.
The top-seeded Dolphins from the College of Staten Island grabbed the lead on a pair of goals scored by Bryant Navarro to go up 2-0 after 59 minutes. That forced the second-seeded Bearcats in come-back mode.
"Staten Island is a solid team, well coached, and work very hard out there, so when they went up 2-0 we knew we had our work cut out for us," said Head Coach Dima Kamenshchik, who has been a part of all six Baruch championships since 2004."We dug in and worked hard to get back into the match. The first goal by Ricardo got us going and from there the momentum carried us."
They say in soccer 2-0 is the worst lead and that proved true tonight.
Llanos scored his first goal on a breakaway off a clever long ball assist by rookie Javier Arellano Crespo in the 65th minute. He tied it and sent the Baruch supporters into jubilation with five minutes left on a perfectly placed assist by Natari Mohammed on the left side of the box.
The two teams did not scored in overtime, forcing the match to be decided by the tension-filled method of penalty kicks.
They each scored on their first three attempts, but Sela helped defend the Dolphins on two of their next three penalty kicks attempts to win the title.
Alexey Arefev, Llanos, Luis Munoz, and Mohammed scored in that order in penalty kicks.
Llanos was named the CUNYAC Championship Tournament MVP