HERKIMER, NY – The SUNYIT men's soccer team won its first-ever North Eastern Athletic Conference Championship after defeating Penn State Harrisburg in a penalty shootout Sunday. The Wildcats are now 13-5-1 overall and will make its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance after earning an automatic bid.
Due to unplayable conditions caused by rain at SUNYIT's Wildcat Soccer Field, the game was played under the lights at Wehrum Stadium on the campus of Herkimer County Community College.
Harrisburg would strike first, scoring a goal at the 14-minute mark when Josh Binter delivered a strike from the close left wing to put the Nittany Lions up 1-0. Just a minute later, however, freshman Diego Montaleza (New York, NY/MLK) blasted a free kick into the net to tie the game at 1.
The scored remained that way through regulation and after two overtimes, forcing the championship to be decided on a best-of-five penalty shootout. SUNYIT would lead things off but would miss its first attempt, allowing the Nittany Lions to take advantage, as they put their first attempt in the back of the net. After both teams would make successful attempts during their next two tries, the Wildcats would make it three in a row while Harrisburg would suffer a failed attempt, leaving the shootout tied at three apiece. SUNYIT senior Daniel Twumasi (Brooklyn, NY/James Madison) would then find the back of the net on the Wildcats' next attempt to give SUNYIT a 4-3 lead, and Harrisburg would then miss its final shot to leave the Wildcats as the 2010 champions.
Freshman goalie Malick Faye (Bronx, NY/MLK) was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after recording six saves and allowing one goal in two playoff contests while also coming up with two huge stops during the shootout.
Dates and times for the NCAA Tournament have yet to be determined. Be sure to check the Wildcat Web site this week for updates.
On the women's side, Keuka College defeated Penn State Harrisburg 2-0 to be crowned the 2010 NEAC Champions. Keuka sophomore Nicole Sharick took home MVP honors after three-game totals of four goals, one assist and two game winners.