MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – It wasn’t only the end of a memorable season for Long Island University Brooklyn, it was the end of an era as well.
The Blackbirds’ memorable men’s soccer season came to a close Thursday night as they dropped a 4-2 decision to 18th-ranked West Virginia University in the first round of the NCAA Division I tournament.
LIU senior Rasmus Hansen tallied twice in the opening 10 minutes of the game, giving visitors the lead for more than 30 minutes. WVU 14-6), which scored twice in the final 17 minutes to snap a 2-2 tie, will face Georgetown in the second round.
Due to a university decision made in October, the Brooklyn and C.W. Post (Division II) will be merged for the 2019 season as the team will call Long Island and not Brooklyn home.
“It’s been a remarkable season,” said head coach TJ Kostecky, whose team finished at 13-6-1. “We had a nine-game winning streak at one point. The university is going through some changes right now that we found out about in the middle of the season the season, and the guys stuck together and believed in each other. Often times we talk about family, how teams are families. Some are dysfunctional families, and some are healthy families; well, this was the healthiest family I’ve ever coached in 20 years.”
The weather would prove to be a challenge for both teams, as a slushy, snowy mix made the field slippery, wet and cold. The conditions, however, didn’t stop LIU from striking first. Hansen shocked the Mountaineers when the senior scored in the third minute. Junior Giuseppe Barone had the ball on the right side of the penalty area, dribbled around a defender and passed it off to senior Filip Nordström in the corner of the box. Nordström crossed the ball right in from of the net as Hansen knocked it in.
Five minutes later, the Blackbirds stunned the Mountaineers once again. Sophomore Fredrik Mathisen crossed the ball to a driving Barone down in the box near the end line. Barone knocked it back to the top of the area where Mathisen one-touched it behind his back to a cutting Hansen at the top of the 18. Hansen rocketed a shot, hitting the left post and bounding in for a 2-0 advantage.
The hosts, however, rallied in the 15th minute on a header as Logan Lucas headed in Albert Andres-Liop’s corner kick. The Mountaineers knotted things up at 2-2 in the 34th minute on a controversial play in which the Blackbirds thought a WVU player was offside behind goalkeeper Sam Ilin, but the referees ruled he was not as Tsubasa Takada was credit with the goal
Jorge Quintanilla scored the go-ahead goal in the 73rd minute off a corner kick to take a 3-2 lead before Joey Piatczyuc drilled home a 21-yard free kick for an insurance goal in the 80th minute.
“It was a challenging way to lose a game, to go up 2-0 and feel a little confident and then give up goals on corner kicks, which is something that we have not done this year,” Kostecky said. “So it’s a bit challenging to be sitting here and know we could have done better than that. But West Virginia fought really hard. I give them credit. At the end of the day, soccer is about individual battles; ultimately the team that wins most of those battles is going to come out ahead. And I think you saw that today, that’s what happened on those corner kicks, they out-battled us and they won those balls.”