Brooklyn College women's soccer team captures CUNYAC title
By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Patrick Horne came to Brooklyn College last year hoping to build a solid women's soccer program.
Instead, he built a champion.
The Lady Bulldogs completed an historic run to the CUNYAC Championship Saturday afternoon at BC Field before a partisan crowd of 350, knocking off top-seeded College of Staten Island, 3-1, in the league title match.
"[Saturday's] performance shows how far we've come as a team over this season," said Horne, who founded the program in 2012, leading the Bulldogs to a solid 6-7-1 record during their initial campaign before winning it all this past weekend.
"We worked hard each game and practice and [Saturday] was a culmination of our hard work, as we beat a team that defeated us twice during the season to win the CUNYAC Championship."
And they aren't done just yet.
After knocking off the Dolphins, who had beaten BC in each of the previous four meetings between the schools, the Bulldogs (15-3) earned the right to take on Johns Hopkins in the opening round of the Division III NCAA Tournament this coming Saturday in Baltimore.
Horne, who arrived on the BC campus with a proven track record as a men's and women's coach at the D-III level after playing professionally in the North American Soccer League, saw his strong recruiting skills and training regiments pay almost instant dividends for the still-bourgeoning program.
"Our team is always looking forward to the next challenge," he said. "Our first, it was to make the CUNYAC Tournament. Then the goal was to win the Championship. And now our challenge will be to try and become the first women's team in conference history to win an NCAA Tournament game and advance to the second round."
The Bulldogs, who suffered a humbling 14-4 loss to CSI last season, got off to a quick start Saturday as junior forward Bergelle Louis opened the scoring in the 13th minute.
The Dolphins, however, struck back six minutes later as Demi-Jean Martorano netted the equalizer off a rebound.
In the second half, sophomore midfielder Sayla Flores of Bay Ridge's Telecommunications High School took control. She set up goals by freshman Jordan Kerwin and senior Shani Abrahams to help BC move in front to stay, earning herself game MVP honors.
"Playing with your head and never giving up will take you to the top," said Flores. "That is what we all did [Saturday] and what we will continue to do as a team."
"Once again, just as we did against CCNY [in last Wednesday's 3-1 CUNYAC semifinal victory], we finished when we got opportunities, which had been one of our shortcomings, but we stepped up," added Horne.
Junior defender Janet Rodriguez of Brooklyn's Edward R. Murrow High School didn't get on the score sheet Saturday, but as an original Lady Bulldog, she summed up BC's startling two-year ascension from budding program to league champion quite nicely.
"[Saturday's] win is due to teamwork and shown by my teammates each and every day in practice," she noted. "This win makes all the physical and mental challenges to this point well worth it. It's a dream come true to compete against top schools in the NCAA Tournament, and I'm confident my team will play exactly the same as we did today, with heart and like Bulldogs!"
Read next week's Eagle sports pages for a full recap of the Bulldogs' first-ever NCAA Tournament game at Johns Hopkins.