After two wins at home last weekend, men’s soccer looked to build on its winning streak with two tough road games against Princeton and Cornell.
The Raiders coaching staff and players were buzzing after their wins at home against Richmond and Albany, but everyone was focused and ready to continue its great play. Coach Ronning emphasized before the game that he needed everyone to be on top of their games, especially against a Tigers team that had lost its first two games and was hungry for a victory. The Raiders listened to their coach and put on a strong performance from start to finish.
The Tigers earned eleven corners and had fifteen shots on the match, but were unable to sneak one by junior goalie David Cappuccio or the stout defense led by senior captain Dan Belke. While Colgate stayed strong for the entire ninety minutes, it was Princeton that eventually bent and broke in the 85th minute.
Standout junior Matt Leach showed his great anticipation skills by stealing the ball from a Princeton defender to give him a one-on-one with the goalie. The Red Gazelle as he is referred to by the Colgate faithful, put the ball in the back of the net to give the Raiders the deciding goal.
Coach Ronning was impressed with his team’s performance.
“We bent throughout the game, but the key is that we never broke,” Ronning said. “We got stronger as the game went on and we had a great last twenty minutes. Leach took advantage of a golden opportunity and we were able to get a great victory on the road. Our guys still have a long way to go, but we are improving as a team and it is showing with every game.”
Junior Matt Leach echoed Coach Ronning’s team-first attitude.
“It’s always hard to win on the road no matter who the opponent is,” the Red Gazelle said.”Winning this past weekend at Princeton shows that as a team we are continuing to get better and improve, which is important as the Patriot League schedule approaches.”
The win was the Raiders first road victory of the year and their third consecutive victory in a row to push the Raiders record to 3-2.
The Raiders were happy to beat one Ivy League team on the road and were given a chance five days later to defeat another in rival Cornell. The game in Ithaca started off relatively even and both teams had their chances in the first half. However, no one could break through and the game would be decided in the 2nd half.
The Big Red came out firing in the second half and took a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute. The Raiders continued to fight and created a great deal of scoring chances.
Cornell would end the Raiders bid for a comeback with a goal in the 82nd minute. The Raiders would not give up and would split the lead in the 87th minute on a penalty kick goal by senior captain Eric Anton.
The Raiders fought hard to get an equalizer in the last three minutes, but it would be too little too late as the Big Red took the game 2-1.
The loss takes the Raiders record to 3-3 on the season and snapped their three game winning streak.
The Raiders must forget about the loss and prepare for two tough upcoming games against New Hampshire and Vermont. Both games are at home and the Raiders are going to look to continue their great play at home.
The Raiders have bounced back from tough losses, as we saw earlier this season, and there is no doubt that Coach Ronning will have the team ready for these tough two games.