ALBANY, N.Y. – After a scoreless first half in the 2013 Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men's soccer championship game, a goal by Alex Perry-Ferrari (Rochester, N.Y.) just over one minute into the second half would propel the No. 2 seed Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to a 1-0 triumph over No. 1 seed Berkeley College on Sunday afternoon at ACPHS Field.
The Panthers (10-5, 6-1 HVIAC) captured their fourth conference title in the past six years. Albany Pharmacy also notched a 1-0 victory in their semifinal game vs. Culinary, scoring with 12 seconds remaining in regulation to punch their ticket to their sixth straight championship game.
While the game remained deadlocked at intermission, it was the regular season champion Berkeley (16-5, 7-0 HVIAC) who dominated play and had the best scoring opportunities of the opening 45, outshooting the Panthers, 7-2.
In the 18th minute, Abdelwahab Mohamed (Brooklyn, N.Y.) fired a laser on a direct free kick from 25 yards out that hit squarely off the crossbar. Later in the half, Mohamed took an indirect free kick inside the box that was touched over to him and he blasted through the wall, but was stopped by ACPHS keeper Adam Hoye-Simek (Broadalbin, N.Y.).
But the Panthers, who struggled to find organization in the opening half, caught the Knights off guard early in the frame. Perry-Ferrari found a ball sent into the box by Zach Hecox (New Hartford, N.Y.) and shot it low left past the keeper for the game's only tally.
Although Albany Pharmacy remained on their heels with Berkeley trying to equalize, the lead invigorated the team as the Panthers started to counter attack, which helped limit the Berkeley scoring opportunities. The Panther defense did well to thwart runs by the Knights and Hoye-Simek repeatedly came off his line fearlessly to secure any high crosses.
The Knights ended the game with a 13-5 shot advantage, but couldn't find the equalizer.
Hoye-Simek would finish the game making six saves in a shutout effort and was named Tournament MVP, an honor he also claimed in 2011.
The victory clinched a sweep of the HVIAC soccer championships in front of the home crowd as the Panthers captured women's soccer title earlier in the day with a 3-1 victory over King's.
After guiding the Knights to a perfect record in league play, Berkeley head coach Stavros Zomopoulous was honored as 2013 Coach of the Year as selected by the head coaches in the conference.