No. 1 Oneonta (16-2) and No. 2 Plattsburgh (11-7) will play for the 2019 State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) men's soccer championship crown, Saturday at 1 p.m. in Oneonta. The Red Dragons will be playing for their 11th overall title while the Cardinals will look to grab their ninth overall conference crown.
Oneonta topped Cortland, 2-0, while Plattsburgh defeated No. 2 Buffalo State, 2-0, Tuesday in the SUNYAC semifinals on campus. Cortland ends its season 8-7-3 and Buffalo State finishes 15-4 overall.
More Details - Cortland at Oneonta
The two teams played to a scoreless first half with the visiting Red Dragons holding a slight 9-7 advantage in shots. Cortland (8-7-3) pressured early but couldn't slide one past Oneonta freshman keeper Nate Hanna (Baldwinsville/C.W. Baker), who picked up his tenth win of the season including his seventh blanking of his rookie season.
Witman Hernandez's (Huntington/Walt Whitman) goals came in the 73rd and 82nd minutes of the match on two incredible efforts.
On the first goal, Hernandez was able to kick the ball loose from Sean Kelly, who was charging out to try and grab it. The ball deflected just outside the left edge of the box where Hernandez took one touch, turned and shot from a tough angle and then watched it roll past a Cortland defender into the back of the goal.
The goal for Hernandez came just 25 seconds after Nevin Numbiar hit the cross bar on a header that bounced over Hanna's head.
On his second goal, Hernandez collected a loose ball outside of the box on the right wing. He then proceeded to carry the ball into the box before dodging a defender to put the ball on his right foot. His shot was low and hard and ended up sailing past an outstretched keeper into the lower left corner of the goal.
More Details - Buffalo State at Plattsburgh
After a first half in which the Bengals had several chances, Plattsburgh State nearly scored the first goal of the game in the 59th minute. Junior midfielder Cameron Richards (Larchmont, N.Y./Mamaroneck) beat a Buffalo State defender just inside the top of the 18-yard box, giving him space to rip a left-footed strike. The Bengals' senior goalkeeper Andreas Queen made a short dive to his right to keep the score deadlocked at zeroes.
A diving save by junior goalkeeper Patrick Feeley (Harriman, N.Y./Monroe-Woodbury) kept the Bengals off the board in the 65th minute. Senior defender Colin O'Keefe crossed a pass in from the right side of the 18-yard box to sophomore forward Theo Pencic, and Pencic one-touched a ball that Feeley denied with a diving save to his right.
Plattsburgh State finally broke through in the 86th minute, scoring on a set piece. Sophomore defender Andrew Braverman (Sayville, N.Y./Sayville) struck a free kick from the far-left wing into the box, and freshman forward Alex Graci (Kings Park, N.Y./Kings Park) got a head on the ball before a sliding Rapaport kicked the ball into the net.
Senior forward Chris Robertson (Thiells, N.Y./St. Joseph Regional [N.J.]) added insurance to the Cardinals' cause in the 89th minute. Rapaport blasted a ball from Plattsburgh State's defensive midfield to just outside the top of the 18-yard box in the Cardinals' offensive third. Robertson beat a Buffalo State defender to the ball and flicked a ball from the left side of the box that dribbled across the 6-yard box and inside the far post.
Despite the loss, Buffalo State finished with the upper hand in shots (16-10) and corner kicks (6-2).
Feeley (4-1-0) posted a seven-save shutout, his fourth of the season, while Queen (12-4-0) had two stops in the loss for Buffalo State.
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