The impenetrable defense of the Colgate men’s soccer team led the Raiders in another successful weekend, during which the Raiders extended their unbeaten streak to six games.
After beating Yale the previous weekend, the men were given a great boost of confidence going into their Patriot League schedule. With five consecutive shutouts and a 3-0-2 record, the men traveled to West Point to play against a hard-working Army squad.
Facing the winless Army, Colgate had to diffuse some of Army’s frustration.
The Raiders did not let the hostile conditions affect their play, though, as junior Eric Anton rang one off the goalpost and senior Devin Deane came within inches of scoring.
After many close encounters at the net, the Raiders finally netted a goal after sophomore Matt Leach carried the ball down the left side and fed a header to first-year Chris Salmon, who earned Patriot League BRINE Offensive Player of the Week honors.
The goal came near the end of the first half and it would be all the Raiders would need to win. Army fought hard to get a tying goal, but that has been the story of all the opposition the Raiders have faced. Teams have scrambled to score and come back, but the team’s defense has shut the gate on all opposing squads.
The win was the Raiders sixth shutout in a row and the fourth shutout of the year for sophomore goalie David Cappuccio, who earned him the Patriot League BRINE Goalkeeper of the Week. The win extended the Raiders unbeaten streak to six, increased the Raiders overall record to 4-0-2 and gave them a Patriot League win to open their schedule.
Anton expressed his excitement about the team’s start. “It’s great to start off the Patriot League with a win, as it sets the tone for the rest of the season. It was a tough three weeks on the road, but we are looking forward to this weekend at home.”
Coach Ronning agreed with Anton, summing up the game by saying, “I felt we controlled a lot of the flow of this game. We had many chances to score in Anton and Deane, but Salmon came up big with the goal. The guys showed tremendous team defense again and we showed we can handle playing away. More importantly, this was another team victory and everyone had a hand in this win.”
The win capped off the Raiders four-game road trip, in which the Raiders earned two wins and two ties, showing that they can succeed in intimidating environments. Even a road trip couldn’t dislodge the Raiders from their top national spots in most defensive categories.
Even with this great start, Coach Ronning has stayed consistent with his preparation, “We have played great, but I never change my tactics or preparation for games. It is a big game against Lafayette this weekend, but all Patriot League games are big. If we continue to do the things we have been doing, we will definitely have an opportunity to be successful. It is business as usual for us and we will definitely want to protect our home field against the defending Patriot League champs.”
The men’s soccer team has fought long and hard on away soil, but this weekend the men return home. The soccer program has not beaten Lafayette in three years, but this year’s squad is brimming with confidence, and they have a great opportunity to reverse that trend. The men are beginning to get glimpses of the national spotlight, but all they have in their sites is Lafayette and the prospects of a second Patriot League victory.