The Lehman College men’s soccer team defeated the Hunter College Hawks 2-1 to take the City of New York Athletic Conference Title. It is only the second time in conference history that the Lightning have been crowned soccer champions. The previous time was in 2011.
Midway through the first half the Lightning struck to take a 1-0 lead. Mamadou Talla gathered a loose ball at the top of the box and buried past a diving P Tenfoung. Hunter out-shot Lehman 13-5 in the first half and Lehman goalie Irvin Barreto was called on to make four saves.
The second half was more of the same where the Lightning played low pressure defense allowing the Hawks to penetrate into the offense half of the field while looking for the counter attack. The Lightning doubled their advantage two minutes into the second half when Essoa Aluyi forced a turnover in the offensive third of the field beat a couple of defenders and slipped it under Tenfoung. In the 62nd minute the Lightning almost put the game out of reach. Lehman was awarded a free kick just outside the box and Rafael Emiliano rattled the right post as the ball bounded back out into play. The game remained scoreless until the 85th minute Hunter’s Jesus Patino Muniz drilled a rocket from about 25 yards out to beat a diving Barreto. The Hawks almost tied the game in the waning second as a free kick from 30 yards away tickled the twine after Barreto got a hand on it. However, the referee ruled that the Lightning goal keeper was interfered with.
During the second half the Hawks out-shot the Lightning 15-3. while Barreto was named the Tournament MVP. During the final, the senior goalie recorded eight saves. Then at last, when the final whistle blew the Lehman faithful stormed the field to celebrate with players.
Lehman will now wait until Monday when the NCAA announces the field for the annual NCAA post season tournament.