Leach, Miller Lead Men’s Soccer to Season-Opening Win

Leach, Miller Lead Men's Soccer to Season-Opening Win

Mitch Waxman

The men’s soccer team began its season with a 1-0 win over the visiting Long Island Blackbirds last Tuesday. However, although one can never complain too much after a win, the defending Patriot League Champion Raiders could not have been satisfied after only defeating the lowly Blackbirds by a goal.

Early in the game it seemed that Colgate would cruise easily to a win. The ball was continually on the Blackbirds’ side of the field, and the Raiders kept narrowly missing on through balls that would have sent them on their way to a goal. Twelve minutes in Colgate’s lucked changed, however, and they were able to find the back of the net. Senior Alex Weekes got control of the ball around the midfield stripe and dribbled forward, drawing the defense towards him. As the defense approached he deftly passed the ball to junior Jeff Leach, who took the pass in stride and headed towards goal. With only the goaltender Adam Janssen to beat, Leach waited until the last second as the keeper charged, and then flicked the ball over Janssen’s head, giving the Raiders a 1-0 lead.

“It was a great chip by Leach,” sophomore goalkeeper Chris Miller said. “He saw the keeper charged and I guess he saw an opening.”

One would hope that the Raiders would have built off that initial tally, but instead it was Long Island that applied the pressure, pestering Miller with three shots after Colgate’s goal and forcing the keeper to make some nice saves. Miller’s best save of the match came with under three minutes to play in the first half. Blackbird Sophomore Steve Jakubowski kicked a shot high above Miller’s head, and he was forced to make a leaping save, punching the ball over the crossbar.

“It’s always nice to make the types of saves that keep your team in the game,” Miller said.

The second half featured more back and forth play. Colgate and Long Island both played the ball far ahead and hoped a forward would make a play towards goal. Normally these attempts were cleared away by both defenses, save for the occasional weak shot towards goal. Luckily for Colgate, the Raiders had a 1-0 lead, and they were able to sneak away with the win.

“Winning is always fine, because winning is winning,” Miller said. “We obviously could have played better and there are things for us to work on, but if we can come out of a game with a win we will take it. Now we’ve started off the season well and we need to build on that.”

The Raiders will play at Binghamton Saturday night before hosting Syracuse Monday night.