ONEONTA, N.Y. - Oneonta (17-2) topped Plattsburgh (11-8), 1-0, to win its 11th overall State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) men's soccer title, Saturday. With the win the Red Dragons earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
The two teams battled to a scoreless first half of play. Oneonta managed to generate five shots total with two ending up on the frame that were stopped by the Plattsburgh keeper.
Witman Hernandez (Huntington/Walt Whitman) broke the deadlock in the 54th minute with his 23rd goal of the season and was name the Tournament MVP. Sophomore Tristan Battistoni (Pleasant Valley/Arlington) carried the ball towards the box out on the right flank before sliding a pass ahead of Hernandez. Hernandez collected the pass, took one dribble and fired a rocket towards the goal. The shot was too hard for the keeper to handle, as it went through his hands before dribbling past the goal line for the score.
The Red Dragons created a couple of more chances late in the game, but couldn't get the attempts on frame. The Oneonta back line held the Cardinals out of range over the remaining 17 minutes of the match.
2019 Men's Soccer All-Tournament Team
Witman Hernandez, Oneonta (MVP)
Matt Howe, Oneonta
Tristan Battistoni, Oneonta
Scott Cebollero, Oneonta
Luke Rapaport, Plattsburgh
Jimmy Marchena, Plattsburgh
Ankit Patel, Plattsburgh
Nevin Nambiar, Cortland
Ivan Dam, Cortland
Badi Smith, Buffalo State
Abdi Salim, Buffalo State
The SUNYAC Elite 20, an award modeled after the NCAA ELITE 90 program, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the conference championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The 2019 SUNYAC men's soccer honoree is Plattsburgh sophomore Sabou Tidjani (Lome, Togo).