HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - With an overall team effort on the field Sunday at Wehrum Stadium, the Herkimer Generals Men’s Soccer team finished the season on top, beating Suffolk County Community College 1-0 in regulation for the programs 10th overall National Championship and third consecutive since 2011.
Herkimer (17-1, 4-0 MVC) got to the championship game in large part because of solid defense and timely offense. Stabilizing the team in the back end was 2013 Player of the Year Peter McAvoy (Dundee, Scotland) and now two-time champion goalie Triston Henry (Scarborough, Ont.). Each are always heard on the field coordinating, but more importantly, making the plays needed to win games.
Case in point, in the 24th minute, after freshman forward MacIntyre Felton (Vestal, NY) came close to putting his team up by one, hitting the left cross bar, McAvoy did in the 26th after the team was awarded a free kick when freshman Jermaine Windster was dragged down on the field by a Suffolk defender. McAvoy’s usual side kick sophomore James Wilson (Woodford Green, England) took the free kick and placed it perfectly to McAvoy, just like he did in the Quarterfinal and Semifinal, putting the Generals up 1-0. The goal was McAvoy’s team-leading 15th and Wilson’s team-leading 10th assist, giving the two eight connections on the season.
With McAvoy shining on offense, it was now time for Henry to shine on defense. Twice in the first half the Sharks had good looks deep inside the 18, but were unable to score. The first occurred in the 30th, while the second occurred in the 42nd. Henry finished the game with five saves.
In the second half, the entire defense started to get in the act as they smelled victory. In the 63rd, after Henry saved a shot on a free kick, sophomore Matthew Clinton (Manchester, England) cleared a corner in the 68th, then sophomore defender Jacob Butler-Bowdon (Adelaide, South Australia) cleared another corner in the 73rd.
The biggest stop in either half occurred in the 83rd when Suffolk again penetrated deep into General territory. Making a leaping save, probably his best of the season, was Henry again, after Suffolk tried to hit a shot in the top right of the net. The same happened in the 87th when Henry leaped for the ball, catching it as a Shark defender one-step too slow collided with the goalie.
In the final three minutes, Butler-Bowdon, Wilson and McAvoy cleared balls back to the Suffolk side of the field, never giving the Sharks a chance to ruin the Generals season. As the game-clock struck zero, all players and coaches could be seen rejoicing as they ended the season on an 11-game win streak.
The 2013 journey for the Generals ended on the field it started at the beginning of the season, Wehrum Stadium. Earning MVP honors on that field for scoring four goals in the NJCAA National Tournament was McAvoy. Joining McAvoy on the All-Tournament Team was Jimmy Calderon (New Rochelle, NY), Mitchel White (Leicestershire, UK) and Triston Henry.
For complete highlights of today's game including post game celebration, click on the video above.