Men’s Soccer Inches Closer to Hosting PL Tourney

Men's Soccer Inches Closer to Hosting PL Tourney

Mitch Waxman

After winning three straight contests in shutout fashion, the men’s soccer team felt it was riding a wave right into the postseason. However, that wave was quickly squashed with a disappointing 1-1 tie to Navy and then an unfortunate 1-0 loss to Duke. In the Patriot League, postseason berths need to be earned, so the second-place Raiders needed a win to make a quick turnaround and secure such a position. Furthermore, the first-place American University Eagles came into Hamilton with a better league record then Colgate, so the game represented somewhat of a must win for the Raider squad in terms of vying for the right to host the Patriot League Tournament. After a hardfought battle, the Raiders got back to their winning, shutout ways, downing the Eagles, 1-0. This win awarded Colgate a berth in the Patriot League Tournament and a three-way tie for first place with just one Patriot League match to go.

The magnitude of the game was felt right from the opening whistle, as both teams came out playing extremely hard. Colgate, however, came out with just a bit more energy, which paid dividends almost immediately. About four minutes into the game the Raiders were on the attack, pressuring deep in the American end of the field. Some fans complain that just being on the attack isn’t enough and that a team must have legitimate chances. However the first Colgate goal proved those people wrong.

American had just gained possession of the ball deep in its own end and was frantically trying to clear it down the field. Their attempt went right to Colgate forward Alex Weekes, who got a clever touch on the ball and zipped it through the deflection of American goalie Matt Makowski.

Immediately after this goal, American seemed to grab the fire that had sparked the Raiders to their first goal. Eagle forward Mike Worden had a clear shot on goal seven minutes after Colgate had gone up 1-0, but goalkeeper David Capuccio, who would be named Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week for his efforts in the game, was there to make the save and keep the game 1-0 heading into halftime.

When the teams emerged from the locker room, American continued to keep up the pressure. The Colgate defense kept up its staunch play, preventing numerous chances, although American almost tied the game on a shot by Jamie Davin that hit the top of the far post.

With about sixteen minutes to go in the contest, Colgate was finally able to move the ball down towards the opposing goal, this time in the form of a breakaway for junior Chris Ross. After niftily getting by two Eagle defenders it was just Ross and American goalkeeper Matt Markowski, but Makowski was able to just tip the ball wide.

Although Makowski’s save kept the game close, Colgate was able to hold on for the rest of the contest, earning the 1-0 win. To say this game was close would be an understatement. American had an advantage of one in both shots and corner kicks. Furthermore, only five fouls were called in the contest, although this was because the referee decided to let the teams play, rather than call fouls. This did create a bit of an issue however, because American Head Coach Todd West believed his player had been fouled in the box with 20 minutes left in the game. After no foul was called, West proceeded to run about five yards onto the field, throwing his winter hat and yelling and screaming for a good two minutes. Somehow, the coach was not admonished for his actions.

This win awarded Colgate a berth in the Patriot League Tournament, but that does not mean that the Raiders can mail in their final game against Lehigh, as a win and a Holy Cross loss or tie gets them the right to host the tournament. The game is set for Saturday night at 7 p.m. under the lights at Van Doren Field.