After a thrilling 2-1 victory against Bucknell on Sunday, the Raiders looked to continue their winning ways with two more matches against Hartwick and Navy at Van Doren Field last week. The Hartwick match took place a mere three days later after Colgate defeated Bucknell, and the after effects of that exhausting double0overtime match showed. In the 19th minute, junior goalie David Cappuccio made a stop on a Hartwick shot. Unfortunately, a Colgate defender’s attempt to clear the ball rolled right into the Raider net for an own goal to put Hartwick up by a goal.
The Raiders used the halftime break to settle down and fix the mistakes that plagued them in the first half. Senior captain Eric Anton took it upon himself to get the team back in the match early in the second half by scoring an unassisted goal in the 52nd minute. However, the Raiders could not build on Anton’s goal and found themselves down 2-1 just seven minutes later when Jonathan Garcia-Torres just slid the ball past Cappuccio for Hartwick’s second goal. Fortunately, the Raiders would not concede defeat in their last non-conference match of the season. Colgate’s standout first-year Steven Miller tied the game up in the 84th minute on an assist from Anton. After two overtime sessions failed to yield a goal, the match would finish 2-2, and the Raiders were able to stay unbeaten at home this season with the tie.
Colgate immediately refocused for its final Patriot League game at home against the Midshipmen of Navy last Saturday on a cold and brisk night in Hamilton. Navy came into the match hungry for its first Patriot League victory, while the Raiders were poised to clinch a playoff spot. The Raiders came out strong by outshooting Navy, 12-2 in the first half. However, none of those opportunities turned into Raider scores. In the second half, the Raiders again controlled the run of play and would finally get the deciding goal on a broken play in the box. After Anton took a shot from the left side of the box, sophomore Chris Ross settled the ball and put it in front of the net, where junior Matt Leach redirected it in for the 1-0 lead. The Colgate defense remained strong for the rest of the match, preserving Leach’s second consecutive match-winning Patriot League goal and clinching the Raiders a spot in the Patriot League Tournament with the shutout.
Senior captain Eric Anton was excited after his four-point week.
“This weekend was very exciting for us,” the captain said. “We clinched a playoff birth, which was one of our goals from the beginning of the season. It was a team effort and everyone stepped up against a solid Navy team.”
The win was the Raiders fourth consecutive victory in the Patriot League and increased the team’s conference record to 4-0-1. The win also gave Colgate sole possession of first place in the Patriot League with two games remaining. Colgate’s overall record now stands at 8-4-3 and the team’s record at home has run to an impressive 6-0-1.
The Raiders are happy about qualifying, but they are now prepared to play a road match against third-place American in another crucial Patriot League matchup. If Colgate wins, the team will be at least two points ahead of second-place Holy Cross with only one regular season match left to play, which would put the Raiders in a great position to host the Patriot League Tournament as the top seed.