Men’s Soccer Defeats Army, Falls to Hartwick

Coming into the season, the men’s soccer team had a lot to live up to. Colgate is the defending Patriot League champion and nearly everyone was predicting the Raiders to take the title home again this year. Even with these expectations, no one on the Colgate team expected things to come easy and their first test came at the beginning of the league schedule. Fresh off a solid non-conference opening to the year, Colgate was handed its first loss on Van Doren Field in two years in its conference opener, dropping a 1-0 decision to Holy Cross, the team nearly universally selected to finish as runner-up for the Patriot League title. Colgate’s response would have to come in their second conference game of the season,at Army.

“We know we have a target on our backs. We just have to show up every time and do what we do best,” senior goalkeeper Matt Barton said.

Over the years Army has dominated this matchup, holding a 32-18-6 advantage in the all-time series. But over the last few years, Army soccer has not been that strong and Colgate has taken advantage of that to win the last seven affairs. Additionally the Black Knights were only 1-7 coming into the game, so the Raiders wanted to set the tempo early and put the game away.

“Every game in the Patriot League is a competitive game. The skill level might vary, but the level of intensity is always there. It was [Army’s] first league game so we wanted to start [the game] on the right foot,” Barton said.

Army’s play in the first half however was not indicative of a team with such a poor record. Although the Colgate squad had the majority of the chances, Army played fairly solid defense, getting a couple nice saves from goalie A.J. Glubzinski. The Raiders headed into the half with the score still knotted up at zero.

“We were a little disappointed, but we knew if we kept plugging away a goal or two would come,” Barton said.

Colgate came out very strong to start the second stanz, and this effort paid off only eight minutes in as sophomore Steven Miller finished off a beautiful goal. Midfielder Jeff Leach played a ball into the box where fellow midfielder Alex Weekes floated a soft header to Miller, who converted from five yards out.

After going down 1-0, Army head coach Kurt Swanbeck urged his team to take more chances in an effort to get the equalizer. Although the Black Knights obliged, Colgate kept up their defense and it was the Raiders who got solid opportunities throughout the rest of the half. Glubzinski didn’t let anything by him again until the 87th minute, when Matt Leach capitalized on a ball from eight yards out off a nice cross from his brother Jeff.

“Jeff has definitely brought a good level of quality to the field. If we get the ball to him he can give us some good chances to score,” Barton said.

2-0 stood up as the final score, although the game really didn’t have to be that close. Colgate outshot the Black Knights 18-5, and Barton was only forced to make one save the entire match.

After the solid conference win the Raiders traveled down to Oneonta to take on Hartwick, a team that Colgate has encountered troubles with recently, in a non-conference battle on Tuesday night.

Unfortunately the beginning of the game did not point towards a good result for Colgate. Only 3:19 into the game Hartwick sophomore Nick Pratico, the beneficiary of a nice play from Hartwick leading scorer John Paul Boyle, slid the ball past Barton for a 1-0 lead.

The early goal meant Colgate had to press for the rest of the game in the hopes of getting the equalizer. The onslaught didn’t fully begin until the second half, but when it did Colgate came out with five unanswered shots. However, Hartwick goalkeeper Jeremy Vuolo did his best Tim Howard impression, stopping each attempt. After those five shots the Raiders were never able to mount another threatening attack and ended on the wrong side of the 1-0 decision.

“We expected them to be a really good team,” Barton said.

Following the loss, Colgate hosts Lafayette tomorrow night under the lights on Van Doren Field at 7 p.m.