The Colgate Men’s Soccer team has clinched the Patriot League title for the third year in a row. As they prepare for the NCAA tournament in the wake of this championship, let’s take a walk through their road to glory.
Following their first-round win over American University on Tuesday, November 6, at home in Hamilton, the #3 seeded Raiders hit the road. They traveled to Loyola University Maryland, where they would face the #2 seed, Lehigh University, on Friday, November 9.
Colgate was seeking revenge heading into this game. The Raiders had lost to the Mountain Hawks by one goal when they faced off earlier in the season. Junior midfielder Kentaro Morrison commented on the significance of the matchup.
“We lost to Lehigh in the regular season and we really wanted to show them [that] we were better [than them],” Morrison said.
This game saw another one goal difference, except this time around, it was in favor of the Raiders. At first, it seemed as though the last game’s results would be repeated: Colgate let in a goal only five minutes into the match, putting them in a 1-0 deficit way earlier than they would have liked. Nevertheless, the Raiders showed that no amount of adversity could deter their competitive fire.
“It was disappointing to give up the early goal, but I am proud of the way our team responded,” Head Coach Erik Ronning said.
And quite the response it was. Senior midfielder Oliver Harris scored two goals (21:44 and 30:07), both of which went unanswered. The first of Harris’ goals was assisted by senior forward Freddy Jonsson, and the second was off of a penalty kick.
By the 30 minute mark, it was a 2-1 game. By the 90 minute whistle, it had remained a 2-1 game and the Raiders secured victory.
The lead was protected by junior goalkeeper Jacob Harris, as well as senior defender Aram Ouligian and junior defender Christian Clarke. Together, they worked to successfully shut down Lehigh’s Mark Forrest, the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year. Colgate’s Ouligian earned the honor of Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, making the two upperclassmen the perfect on-field matchup.
The victory over the Mountain Hawks earned the Raiders a spot in the championship game on Sunday, November 11 against the Army West Point Black Knights, the #5 seed. Coming into the game, Army had beaten Boston University (#4) in the quarterfinals and Loyola University Maryland (#1) in the semi-finals. In their regular season matchup against Army, Colgate won 3-0.
While this match had fewer fireworks than the team’s previous game, it yielded the same result for the Raiders. Within the first 6 minutes of play, senior forward Steven DeLeo scored a goal, assisted by Jonsson, that would give Colgate their 1-0 championship victory. Morrison commented on the performance that secured the Raiders their third straight Patriot League championship.
“[The] defense stood strong and [DeLeo] scored a really important goal for us. It’s been a real pleasure playing on this team and playing with these seniors and we’re just trying to keep this journey going,” Morrison said. “It was a team effort this whole season to get this championship and I love this team.”
This title made them the first team in Patriot League to win three consecutive titles, as well as the first men’s team in the history of Colgate Athletics to win three consecutive titles.
After a stellar season, Oliver Harris was honored as the team’s MVP. He, along with Jacob Harris, Kentaro Morrison and Christian Clarke, was selected to the 2018 Patriot League All-Tournament Team.
The Raiders will face off against the University of New Hampshire in the first round of the D1 NCAA tournament. In 2017, the Raiders made it all the way to the quarterfinals of the national championship, defeating Michigan in the process. Lying in wait for the Raiders should they defeat UNH is #1 Wake Forest on November 18. Tune in to the live streams to see for yourself if the Raiders can repeat the postseason magic of last year.
Contact Isabel Van Wie at [email protected]