BY Jeff Weisinger
Senior Sports Editor
In a night where everyone is “trick-or-treating” for Halloween, CCNY earned themselves one of the best “treats” possible.
The Men’s soccer team is heading to the CUNYAC Final for the first time since 2013 after a strong 2-0 win over No. 2 seed Brooklyn College Saturday night in Brooklyn.“This is a good opportunity for us to get this win. This gives us confidence that we can win the Final as well,” senior Clifford Leriche said afterwards.
Leriche opened the scoring in the 25th minute, drilling in a shot from just outside the six-yard box, deflecting off of a Brooklyn defender and past a diving Ilya Keygen in the net to put City up 1-0 early. The goal was Leriche’s first of the season.
“Sometimes the ball is coming and you second guess yourself,” he explained about his goal. “My instinct told me to just kick it and I just kicked it so hard and it got deflected at the same time and the ball went into the top left corner.”
Both teams battled throughout the first half, and the entire game, creating chances and battling for possession in the midfield throughout the cool night. However, the Beavers defensive backline stepped up in the CUNYAC semi, let alone all postseason so far, holding the Bulldogs to just three shots on goal all match.
The Beavers outshot Brooklyn 12-10 (7-3 shots on-goal) and created several chances in the second half. City capitalized on a perfect counter attack as Mostafa Haridi scored in the 60th minute right in front of Keygen, drilling the ball past him to put the Beavers up 2-0.
“Before the half, coach put me up top to score the goal,” Haridi said. “That’s not really my position, and I just wanted to do it for the team. I wanted to push harder. I had a few chances before that and I missed them so I wanted to make up for those chances and score.”
City has yet to concede a goal throughout the 2015 CUNYAC championships. Goalkeeper Maxwell Berkow had another stellar night in the net, racking three saves to record his third clean sheet in the last four matches.
“Two years ago we were in the same position, we got into the Final on a few tough games and this time we wanted to seal the deal.” Berkow said of the Beavers’ 2013 run to the CUNYAC Final. “We didn’t do it then, but I think after a down year last year, we showed that we can fight back and we really came on strong toward the end of the season.”
City is riding high going into the CUNYAC Final against the top seed Dolphins of the College of Staten Island. CSI took care of John Jay 5-2 in their semifinal earlier in the day, scoring a pair of goals late in that match to seal the win.
CCNY has won five straight including Saturday night and seven of their last eight, allowing just three goals in during the span.
Both CSI and CCNY will play for the CUNYAC title next Saturday, Nov. 7 at Brooklyn College.