Men’s Soccer Regain National Ranking

Evan Xenopoulos

The Colgate men’s soccer team was happy to have re-entered the national rankings this past week, but were extremely disappointed with their two losses to Lehigh and Brown. Entering the week, the Raiders had an important Patriot League match against a very tough Lehigh squad. Lehigh entered the game undefeated in the league and ranked 18th in the nation. The Raiders were excited to play this game at home on Van Doren Field, as they had yet to lose a game there. Furthermore, a win would give the Raiders a chance to compete for the regular season title and home field advantage in the Patriot League tournament.

The Raiders and Mountain Hawks both came out extremely tentative neither team willing to give up any big plays. The two teams had some decent shots, but the first half ended in a 0-0 tie.

Entering the second half, the Raiders began to pick up their play, but in the 62nd minute everything went wrong. After a foul was called on the Raiders outside of their own box, Lehigh’s John O’Reilly lofted a free kick that grazed the crossbar and bounced into the net. The goal not only put a damper on the Raiders chances of winning the game, but it also snapped sophomore David Cappuccio’s shutout streak at 898:03 minutes. Cappuccio fell 1:58 from breaking the all-time national consecutive shutout minute streak.

All of Van Doren Field stood in shock after this play, but the Raiders fought hard in an attempt to get the tying goal. In the last ten minutes, there was a scramble right in front of the Lehigh net that was somehow cleared away by the Lehigh defenders.

The Raiders would get a few more chances, but the game would end 1-0 in favor of Lehigh. The win clinched the number one seed for the Mountain Hawks and left the Raiders in third place in the league with a 2-1-3 record.

“It is just a really tough loss,” junior Eric Anton said. “I really felt that we had them, but one play cost us. That kind of stuff happens in soccer, but we know that we can get back at Lehigh in the Patriot League Tournament.”

Even though the Raiders lost to Lehigh, the latest national poll placed the Raiders at 24th in the nation for the second time this season. The team was happy to receive this honor, but it had to refocus for a tough game against Brown who were previously in the national rankings.

Unfortunately, the Lehigh loss may have rattled the Raiders, who struggled from the start of the game and allowed Brown to score in the first two minutes. The Raiders tried to settle down, but Brown doubled their lead 20 minutes later, making the score 2-0.

First-year Chris Salmon scored his third goal of the year to cut the lead in half, but it would not be enough as Brown added a third goal to seal the game 3-1.

The loss lowered Colgate’s record to 7-3-5, putting the Raiders in their first two-game losing streak of the year. Despite the loss, the team still controls its own destiny in its final Patriot League game against last-place Holy Cross at home this weekend. But the Raiders know that they must play their best and not over look this team by any means; a win would secure the number three seed in the Patriot League Tournament.

The team has had a tough couple of weeks, but the first season is changing into the second season and all the players are extremely excited. The Raiders know they need a win and they hope to clinch a playoff spot in front of their Colgate faithful.