Men’s and Women’s Soccer Win ECC Titles


For the first time in Mercy athletics history, the soccer programs each won their respective conference titles and can call themselves champions.

Both will not advance this weekend to the NCAA tournament

As the regular season is drawing to an end, Mercy’s men’s soccer team’s elite play is being recognized nationally. They rank No. 14 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll and sixth in NCAA Super – Region 1 regionally ranking.

By doing so, they earned a spot in the NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Championship, playing No. 5 seed Davis and Elkins College in Dobbs Ferry on Nov. 12. 

 The Mavericks hold a record of 12-2-5, going 7-0-1 at home and winning the ECC championship as a three-seed. It was the college’s fifth ECC title and first since 2019.

In the semifinals, Mercy defeated the second seed, Queens College, 3-2  in overtime on Nov. 3 in Flushing. Sophomore Martin Penafiel scored the winning goal in the 92nd minute as it was only his second goal of the season. Freshman Mateo Bacigalupo and senior Vasco Baptista scored earlier in the game fed by assists by sophomore Luis Silva. Eirik Elvestad, a sophomore, made five saves in net.  

Mercy led 1-0 at the half, but found itself behind 2-1 until Baptista headed in a ball with under a minute in regulation. Penafiel scored on a penalty kick in overtime to give the Mavs the lead. 

The last game Mercy had lost was to Molloy on Sept. 24, 2-1, and the Mavs had to avenge that loss to win their championship.  The team would play to a 1-1 draw and Mercy would win 5-3 in penalty kicks to win the championship. Baptista would be named Championship Game Outstanding Player. 

Down 1-0 late the game, it was unlikely Mercy would pull another last minute miracle, but Carlos Fernandes booted a cross that bounced off a defender and scored with 1:20 left to play. Silva, Baptista and Benjamin Van Buren made three penalty kicks but the shootout was still 3-3. Penafield then put the team up 4-3 with a score  to take the lead. Freshman Simon Steffenson entered the game in goal and made a kick save to deny a lead change. Senior David Breitenbach clinched the game with his penalty kick to win the title. 

It was the first year the men’s and women’s soccer teams won the ECC title in the same year. The women’s team finished 13-2-2, 8-0-2 at home, and defeated Daemen University, 2-0, in the semifinals and outkicked Molloy 5-4 in penalty shots after a 0-0 regulation to win the championship. 

The lady Mavs, the top seed in the ECC tournament, jumped out to a quick lead when junior Madison Rosa scored her second goal of the year and recorded her sixth assist by setting up freshman Ancksu Dixon. Freshman Kamhy Anaya recorded her seventh shutout of the season as the defense did not surrender a shot on goal. 

In the finals, the freshman combo of Dixon and Anaya did it again as Anaya made a penalty kick save in goal which was followed by a Dixon penalty shot goal to win the championship. The defense again played outstanding, not letting up a shot on goal again. In the shootout, Rosa, Silva, Nikki Bermudez and Marlene Avalos hit their shots for the first four scores. 

The lady Mavs, the fourth seed, will play Adelphi on Friday, Nov. 11, in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Albany. Mercy had previously beaten Adelphi, 1-0, in September.

To wrap the men’s  season, sophomore Luis Silva  has a team-high six goals and 13 points, and senior David Breitenbach comes in second in goals with five and 11 points. Freshman Mateo Bacigalupo has two goals on the season, recording the game-winning goals in Mercy’s victory over New Haven and against Bridgeport. Junior Daniel Rodriguez has 11 points on the year on three goals and five assists, and Mathias Schilbred-Eriksen  has a team-high six assists. Sophomore Martin Penafiel also has a goal and two assists. Vasco Baptista recorded his first collegiate goal in the win over Daemen and has 12 points on three goals and six assists. Erik Elvestad is 10-1-3 in goal with 38 saves, a .792 save percentage and 0.74 goals-against average. Freshman Simon Steffensen is 1-1 in net with eight saves, a .727 save percentage and 1.20 goals-against average. The Mavs have seven players with five or more points on the season.

Following a 9-5-2 record last season, and a missed qualification for the ECC Championship due to a tiebreaker, the Mavericks have posted a winning record in the past five seasons under head coach Pedro Velazque.

As for the women, they reached the Sweet 16 last year in the NCAA tournament. In 2017, the team made the Final Four. Mercy is currently ranked 21 in the U.S. Coaches Poll nationally. Last season, the team was 12-5-4. 

Dixon has led the team in points this season with nine goals and 11 assists. Kayla Camacho has 11 goals, leading the team, and nine assists. Bermudez has scored nine goals and five assists. Syndey Cooper recorded the most minutes on the field with 1284.  Anaya recorded 39 saves this year with an 84-percent shot-stopping percentage with eight shutouts.