Men’s Soccer Clinches Playoff Berth

 

 

Evan Xenopoulos

The Colgate Raiders needed a win in order to qualify for the Patriot League Tournament and they did just that by throttling Holy Cross last weekend. While the men controlled their fate at Van Doren Field, Holy Cross was looking to play spoiler and everyone expected a hard-fought game.

The Raiders, who had been in a scoring slump as of late, got off to a fast start with a goal by senior captain Eli Meyers in the fourth minute. Holy Cross would responded ten minutes later, but the Raiders came right back with a goal by junior Eric Anton to go up 2-1. Holy Cross then tied the game at two to end the wild first half of play.

“I felt we were really sluggish and lethargic in the first half,” Coach Erik Ronning said. “I just told the guys at the intermission to settle down and focus on our defensive play.”

The Raiders did exactly what Ronning asked of them and did not give up a goal in the second half, while also scoring four of their own to emerge with 6-2 victory.

First-year Chris Ross scored three minutes into the second half, giving the team a great boost of confidence both offensively and defensively. After several minutes of back and forth play, the Raiders put an exclamation mark on the regular season with three goals in the last twenty minutes. Two of these scores came off the boot of sophomore Matt Leach and Anton finished the scoring frenzy with his second goal of the game.

“The first half was tight, but in the second half we could not stop scoring,” Anton said. “It is great to clinch a spot in the Patriot League Tournament and I’m happy our offense finally clicked.”

The win clinched the third seed for the Raiders in the Patriot League Tournament and improved their overall record to 8-3-5.

“It was a team effort against Holy Cross and I was happy with our defensive play,” Coach Ronning remarked, “Our defense helped create our offensive chances and it was great to see us finishing all of our opportunities.”

By finishing opportunities, the Raiders achieved their goal of reaching the Patriot League Tournament and this year’s team feels they are ready to compete for the championship.

“It is playoff time and now every game is a one-game season,” Coach Ronning said. “We made the tournament last year, but this year I feel we have higher expectations, and we are far more experienced. Last year we were just happy to be there, but this year we feel we can come out on top. We’re facing Lafayette, who we already beat this year, but I’m expecting a tough battle. I think the boys are ready and I’m looking forward to a great weekend.”

The Raiders know there will be no easy victories as they prepare to travel to the host school Lehigh, but the men believe they have the ability to win the Patriot League Tournament. In the words of Journey, don’t stop believing.