Men’s Soccer Shuts Out the Opposition

As of the last edition of The Maroon-News, the defending Patriot League champions were only 1-1 in the league and had lost four out of their past six contests. But since that time the Raiders had gone 3-0, beating league rivals Lafayette and Bucknell and local rival Cornell, all in shutout fashion.

The first of these three games happened on Saturday, October 11 under the lights of Van Doren Field, as Colgate welcomed in the Lafayette Leopards. The Raiders dominated play for the majority of the first half, taking ten shots and forcing Leopard goalie Philip Nelson to make four superb saves. Yet it was actually Lafayette who had the best chance of the half, as in the 29th minute, an open net goal was stymied by Colgate goalie David Cappuccio in rather unusual fashion. Rather than the typical method of making the save, Cappuccio had to take a yellow card in this instance to keep his sheet clean.

“It was a 50-50 ball and we both just kind of collided,” Cappuccio said. “But as soon as I commit I’m either getting the man or the ball. There’s nothing worse than giving up a goal in that situation.”

Both teams went into the half with the score still knotted at zero. The second half featured tighter play from both sides, a far cry from the more open style that had been witnessed in the first half. Lafayette outshot the Raiders 6-4, but the half was devoid of any true chances on either side.

Since both halves were scoreless, the game headed to overtime. Possibly because of the pressure on both squads, the two extra time periods resembled the second half, as neither team took to many chances to get that crucial goal. However, just when it seemed that the teams would have to settle for a scoreless tie, Colgate was able to capitalize. Junior Alex Weekes awarded forward Steven Miller with a beautiful pass that cut through a number of Leopard defenders, leaving Miller with one man to beat before he could get a shot on goal. With a nifty move, the Raider forward found himself alone in front of goal and finessed a shot to the right of Nelson for the win.

“That goal was huge. We only would have been 1-1-1 in league, which would have put us in a tough position. We needed that goal,” Cappuccio said.

The Raider squad continued their wave of success into Lewisburg for their tussle with the Bucknell Bison, who started the game off as if shot by a cannon. Thirty seconds into the match, Mark Schmiegal pounced on a loose ball in the box and fired a shot that narrowly missed the right post, colliding into Cappuccio in the process.

Colgate weathered the early Bucknell storm without allowing a goal, and then in the sixteenth minute, the Raiders unleashed their own flurry. Bucknell goalie Tommy Caso made a save, which started a crazy sequence. The rebound the first shot produced allowed Colgate to place another shot on goal, this one deflected by Bison defender Jason Soto. His deflection was again put on goal by the Raiders, only to be cleared off the line by Soto. Finally the Raiders cashed in on the third rebound, as junior Chris Ross scored his third goal of the season.

After Ross’ goal the game devolved into a highly physical affair. A total of 24 fouls were committed in the contest, 15 from the Bison side. This rough play didn’t produce any great chances the rest of the way, and Colgate was more than happy with that as they escaped with a 1-0 win.

The zero for the Bucknell side had a bit of significance. First of all it ended Bucknell’s scoring streak at 28 games, the longest such streak in the nation.

“It was cool to break the streak, but we’ve always kind of had Bucknell’s number, so we were lucky again to come in, get a goal and get the win,” Cappuccio said.

It also was the 20th career shutout for Cappuccio, tying him with Keith Sipes for the most shutouts in school history. The game moved the Raiders within one point of first place Holy Cross in the Patriot League standings.

Following the Bucknell victory Colgate took a break from league play to host rival Cornell on Van Doren Field. Temperatures were very low at the opening whistle, and a constant rain did nothing to help matters. As can be expected ,the game started out a little sloppy as players did what they could to get used to the conditions. Colgate outshot the Big Red 13-4 in the half, forcing Cornell goalie Steve Lesser to come up with five saves, but both teams went into the half scoreless, knowing they could each play better.

In the second half, Colgate head coach Eric Ronning decided to go to his bench to inject some life into his team, and his substitution paid off. Freshman substitute Matt Schuber broke the scoreless tie at 16:27 of the second half, heading in a free kick off the foot of Ross.

Once Colgate had knocked the lid off the goal, the pressure only picked up. The Raiders fired shot after shot at the Cornell goal, narrowly missing that insurance goal they desperately wanted. Finally, with ten minutes remaining in the game, junior Alex Weekes came through by converting on a gorgeous feed from senior Jimmy Stephens. When the whistle blew, Colgate had continued its trend of shutout victories with a 2-0 decision. And for David Cappuccio it meant that he had vaulted into sole possession of first place on the all-time shutouts list, with 21.

“Shutouts are really a product of the system,” Cappuccio said. “I make one or two good saves a game, but it’s really our defense that does the work. It’s a great personal milestone but it’s going to be broken soon because we have great goalies on our team.”

Colgate now embarks on a two-game road trip, stopping first for a league match with Navy tomorrow before finishing up at Duke on Tuesday, October 28.