St. Francis Brooklyn has won two successive NEC titles and four of the last five years. (Photo courtesy of St. Francis Brooklyn)
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – It was an all-Brooklyn battle on Sunday afternoon at Pier 5 of Brooklyn Bridge Park with the Northeast Conference men’s soccer title at stake.
The two neighborhood rivals typically play right down to the wire, but this day belonged to St. Francis Brooklyn as the Terriers took control from the start en route to a 5-0 victory over LIU Brooklyn.
It marked the second consecutive title for the Red & Blue and fourth in the last five years.
“This was a complete performance today against a very good team,” St. Francis coach Tom Giovatto said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better and I’m so proud of our guys. “I’m not sure if we learned anything from playing them a week ago, however, I’m glad that we won that game and were able to play on our home field today. The big crowd really helped us and getting a quick goal put a lot of pressure on them knowing that we don’t give up many goals. ”
The five-goal differential tied for the biggest in NEC Championship match history. Fairleigh Dickinson beat Mount St. Mary’s, 7-2, to win the 2008 crown.
St. Francis (14-4-1) picked up right where it left off in Friday’s semifinals when NEC Tournament MVP Ali Tounkara, a junior striker, scored his third goal of the tournament when he was able to get past the LIU defense in the 10th minute.
“It was great to score an early goal,” Tounkara said. “There was a lot of pressure leading up to the game so to score that fast gave us a great amount of confidence and put us in a good position. The MVP is nice but I wouldn’t have been able to achieve it without the help of my teammates.”
Added Giovatto: “Ali was incredible for us. When you have a hot striker you ride him and that’s what we did with him over the last few days.”
Dominick Falanga added another goal in the 24th minute, his seventh of the year, converting a header off of a long service into the box from Marco Torriani.
In the 60th minute, it was Tounkara again slipping past the LIU backline and scoring his NEC record-tying fourth goal of the tournament to give the Terriers a three-goal advantage. It was his league-leading eighth tally of the season.
Junior midfielder Sami Gliguem added a fourth goal, putting home a rebound in the 75th minute.
In the 87th minute, Nadim Saqui scored his second of the tournament on a header to make it a five-goal margin
St. Francis outshot LIU (6-9-3), 18-4.
Goalkeeper Robert Bazzichetto earned his seventh shutout of the season. Anthony Sciola made three saves for the Blackbirds.
The NCAA Division I men’s soccer announcement will air on NCAA.com Monday at 1 p.m. ET.
Ali Tounkara (SFBK), Tournament MVP
Dominick Falanga (SFBK)
Faouzi Taieb (SFBK)
Nadim Saqui (SFBK)
Rasmus Hansen (LIU)
Daniel Quiros Herrero (LIU)
Naeem Charles (LIU)
Jamie Leddy (FDU)
Justin Depardieu (FDU)
Jake Cooper (RMU)
Gustof Moberg (RMU)