MARCY, N.Y. - The SUNYIT Men’s Soccer Team (16-1-2, 7-1 NEAC) won their third NEAC Conference Championship in four years on Sunday, beating the defending champion Morrisville State Mustangs (10-5-4, 5-2-1 NEAC) in a shootout, 4-2. SUNYIT goalkeeper Malick Faye (Bronx, N.Y. / MLK) made two stops in the shootout to give the Wildcats the victory, and was named the Tournament MVP for the second time in his career.
With the win, the Wildcats received the NEAC Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
In a hard-fought game, neither team was able to find the back of the net through 90 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtimes. In the ensuing shootout, Diego Montaleza (New York, N.Y. / MLK), Josh Kimber (Chittenango, N.Y. / Chittenango), Matthew Wilday (Broadalbin, N.Y. / Galway), and Kurreem Williams (Mt. Vernon, N.Y. / TCI) all netted their tries, while NEAC Goalkeeper and Player of the Year Malick Faye stopped the second and fourth Mustang shots to give SUNYIT the victory.
Faye ended the game with a full-extension dive to his left on a Brian Culkin attempt. The senior screamed in jubilation as he rose to his feet, and was mobbed seconds later by his team.
SUNYIT’s nail-biting victory was even more impressive given that a questionable call in the 86th minute resulted in a SUNYIT red card and the team having to play man-down throughout both overtime periods.
“I just said to the guys we have to have willpower, we have to outwork them, that’s the only thing we can do,” said Faye regarding the Wildcat’s man-down situation.
His fellow senior Montaleza echoed the sentiment, stating “That’s our roll [as seniors].”
The Wildcats also benefited from a key coaching move by NEAC Coach of the Year Peterson Jerome:
“We surprised them with Kurreem [Williams]…we put Kurreem up top to kind of neutralize their backs from coming up and joining the attack like they’d been doing all [game].”
The Wildcats will await word on where they will be headed for their first round NCAA Tournament game (a link to the NCAA selection show will be posted when it becomes available), but for now, the Wildcats are enjoying their championship. Faye summed it up best when asked how he felt after the game:
“Pretty good, to be a senior and to win the championship – it’s amazing”