It’s safe to say that the men’s soccer team ended the Colgate Adidas Classic on a high note after its dominant 4-0 win against Rider. Colgate was undefeated for the year, had a goalie who seemed more akin to a brick wall and had utterly dominated a game in which they cashed in on all its chances. Sure enough, when the NSCAA Northeast regional poll came out on Tuesday, September 9, Colgate had jumped from eighth overall to fourth. Riding this wave, the Raiders arrived in Hanover, New Hampshire for the Dartmouth Classic.
Colgate was penciled in for two games in the Classic, with the first coming last Friday night against the Yale Bulldogs. The solid play the Raiders had shown in previous games was evident from the outset in this one, as Colgate, especially sophomore Steven Miller, came out on fire. In just the fifth minute, Miller nearly cashed in on an early shot, requiring Yale defender Eric Meyer to make a tremendous play. Miller would not be denied however, as in the 23rd minute, Miller cleaned up the rebound of junior Alex Weekes’ shot and deposited it into the corner of the net. The Raiders kept the intensity up, and although the halftime whistle blew with the lead still at one goal, Colgate was at it again shortly after intermission. Sophomore Jeff Leach had the ball thirty yards from the goal and simply decided to crank a shot, placing the ball beautifully into the far corner. From there it was time for the Patriot League Preseason Defensive Player of the Year David Cappuccio, to take over. The senior goalie made key saves off three dangerous Yale shots, preserving the 2-0 shutout victory. Once again the Raiders had used a strong offense and stingy defense to win the game. As the Raiders left the field they began to turn their attention to the big showdown against No. 25 Dartmouth College just two days later.
In what has been a common theme the past few games, Colgate came out firing against the Big Green. Just 1:23 into the game, Miller had a breakaway on Dartmouth goaltender Sean Milligan, but somehow, Milligan made a tremendous point-blank save of the initial shot and managed to clean up junior Chris Ross’ rebound opportunity. Although the Raiders kept the pressure up for the next few minutes, Milligan’s early save was a huge momentum shift in the game. Dartmouth slowly began to move the play towards the Colgate goal, and when they were rewarded a free kick from twelve yards out, first-year Lucky Mkosana banged home a low and hard shot into the left corner. Miller had one final chance before the break to tie the game for the Raiders, but once again Milligan was up to the task.
The pep talk at halftime seemed to renew Colgate’s energy, as the Raiders came out firing again. Much like the first half, they had a golden opportunity in the first few minutes, but Miller just missed high with his shot in the 51st minute. The difference remained at one goal for the majority of the half, but Mkosana eventually proved to be too much for the Raiders, as his goal in the 79th minute essentially put the game out of reach.
Next up for the Raiders will be a two-game road trip to New England, as they will face American East powerhouses Boston University and Vermont. Colgate then opens up Patriot League competition at home against Holy Cross on Saturday, September 27.