Must-See Game of the Week: Men’s Soccer vs. Richmond

Max Yadin

Colgate men’s soccer will take on the University of Richmond Spiders this Friday in the home opener at Van Doren Field. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. After losing the first two games of the season, the Raiders will need to capitalize on home-field advantage and get this season on the right track.

“I challenge the Colgate student population to come out in droves and support this group,” Head Coach Erik Ronning said. “Their attendance can make the difference. Having that 12th man is always important.”

There is little doubt that Colgate will need a little something extra on Friday because the Raiders will be without senior forward Eric Anton, who is sitting out a one-game suspension after receiving a red card against Northern Illinois last Sunday. Anton, who scored six goals and three assists last season, is one of many key components in the recipe for victory. Another important player to watch is returning senior defenseman/midfielder Dan Belke. Belke, who was named first-team all-Patriot League last year and is sure to play an integral part in the Raider effort to trip up the Spiders offensive machine. But in the end, victory or defeat will rest on whether or not the Raiders come together as a cohesive unit.

“We’re a team, and I won’t single out any player,” Ronning said. “One of our best attributes is that we have 11 amazing student-athletes who will rally around one another. And our guys are hungry [for victory].”

One may say that a psychology of defeat may set in amongst the Raiders after the Lakeside Classic setback. It is easy to feel downtrodden after two consecutive losses, and that defeat can sometimes cause a self-perpetuating string of defeats. Coach Ronning, however, strongly rejects that notion. He maintains that his players are strong willed, growing, and ready.

“This past week was a great one for Colgate soccer. We learned a lot about our players,” Ronning said. “We competed against some of the best teams in the country. I don’t know how prepared we were for Northwestern … [but] we now know our mistakes are correctable. We know we are capable of performing.”

Friday evening’s game will be one of the more critical contests the Raiders play all season. Furthermore, it will be a great opportunity not only for Colgate to turn things around early in the season, but also for the Colgate student population and surrounding Hamilton community to attend en masse. Though the 12th man may be on the sidelines, he will play an integral part in this week’s game. Go ‘Gate!