Vermont Delivers First Loss of the Year

Completing a triumphant week at home with consecutive wins against Albany and Army, the Colgate men’s soccer team extended its unbeaten streak to five games.

The Raiders, now 3-0-2, are the first Colgate men’s soccer team to start a season with a five-game unbeaten streak since 1960. As a result, the men also moved up two spots to number six in the NSCAA/Adidas New York Rankings.

After completing a three-game road trip, the Raiders were excited to return home in front of their loyal fans at Van Doren Field. The men did not disappoint the Colgate faithful – they were able to defeat Albany 2-1.

The Raiders initiated the scoring with a goal by sophomore Eric Anton, who was assisted by classmate Dan Belke. The goal was Anton’s first career goal at home and the third overall of his career.

Before the season started, Head Coach Erik Ronning spoke at great length about Anton’s potential, and Anton is now showing that he will be a formidable striker this season.

After scoring on a questionable penalty kick call by the referee, Albany came back. The two sides went into the half with the score tied at one.

In the second half, with the help of their supportive fans, the Raiders were able to regain the lead after an amazing effort by first-year Jimmy Stephens. The fiery Stephens stripped an Albany player of the ball and sent an great pass off his left foot to junior Devin Deane, who scored with a spectacular header.

The goal was Deane’s third goal in four games. Ronning also praised Stephens’ effort to create the goal andanticipated great things from him in the future.

With a team effort, the Raiders were able to hold Albany scoreless for the rest of the game, and came away with a well-deserved 2-1 victory.

“I felt it was a good game between the two teams,” Ronning said.”Our defense as a team helped limit the other team’s chances, and we did not give them many open looks at the goal. I felt both our goals were off of hard work, and I am happy we were able to come away with a victory at home.”

The men could not rest on their victory over Albany for long. A few days later, they faced off againsttheir first Patriot League foe, the Black Knights of Army.

The team had looked forward to this game because it opened their 2005 Patriot League schedule. Last year, the Raiders lost their first Patriot League game to Lafayette, and this year’s team knew how important a positive start in the league would be.

The men were also glad to welcome back senior captain Sean O’Sullivan, who added a big boost to the team in the midfield.

The Raiders got off to a great start when Deane scored his fourth goal of the season five minutes into the game. Anton’s great hustle on a loose ball in the box allowed him to be credited with an assist on the goal, and it helped give the Raiders control throughout the first half. Although they were unable to add another goal before halftime, the Raiders effectively controlled the half and went into the break with a 1-0 lead.

The Raiders extended their lead early in the second half after a throw-in deflected off a Black Knight and into the net for an own goal. Although Army upped the pressure significantly and scored on a penalty kick goal to cut the lead to 2-1, the Raiders defense again held strong and sealed the win.

With the victory over Army, the team extended its record to 3-0-2, its unbeaten streak to five games, and its Patriot League record to 1-0.

Ronning was happy with the results from the past week.

“It was a very physical affair against Army, but we showed our toughness and we worked hard to get the win,” he said.”Although our defense had one mental miscue, I am proud that they did not break under pressure and held strong to win the game. We still have a long way to go as a team, but as long as we maintain a high defensive level we will continue to get good results.”

Ronning was also happy to see O’Sullivan back and knows he will add a great boost to the team both offensively and defensively.

Despite a Wednesday night loss to Vermont, the Raiders have begun the season on the right feet. The team next faces Buffalo, who is ranked third in the New York region, and a tough Siena team.