Men’s Soccer Claims Patriot League Championship

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Ethan Marchetti

The Colgate Raiders are officially the 2016 Patriot League Champions. The third-seeded Raiders stormed into the Patriot League Championship game with wins against Army West Point 3-2 and Loyola 3-1. Colgate ultimately met American in the championship game, where the Raiders took home the trophy in a stunning win on penalty kicks.

Colgate battled against Army in the quarterfinals. Senior forward Ethan Kutler put the Raiders on the board first, with a goal in the 13th minute. Army tied the game just before halftime and took a brief 2-1 lead on a goal in the 57th minute. The Raiders struck back quickly, as Kutler was able to convert on a penalty kick.

In the 67th minute, Kutler scored on a second penalty kick, giving Colgate a 3-2 lead. The Raiders were able to hold off Army’s final push, including a crucial save by senior goalkeeper Ricky Brown with ten seconds left.

After the game, head coach Erik Ronning commented on the importance of Kutler’s hat trick and the team’s relentless play overall.

“Obviously Ethan’s hat trick was phenomenal. It takes some guts to knock in two penalty kicks. A lot of guys stepped up to make plays tonight, and we did what we needed to do to get a win,” Ronning said.

With the win against Army, the Raiders advanced to the semifinals where they would take on two-seed Loyola. Kutler continued his stellar tournament play, giving Colgate a quick 1-0 lead.  However, a Loyola penalty kick evened the score, and the Raiders once again found themselves tied at 1-1 going into the half.

The game was hard fought for much of the second half, but Colgate took the upper hand on senior forward Zach Pagani’s eventual game-winning goal in the 72nd minute. Brown came up again with several big saves to hold the lead for Colgate, and junior midfielder Jared Stroud capped off the win, with one final goal to put the game out of reach.

Coach Ronning again acknowledged the importance of the team’s never-give-up spirit.  

“Our guys fight for each other, believe in each other and trust in each other. They did a phenomenal job from start to finish and battled for 90 minutes,” Ronning said.

The Raiders were set to take on the top-seed American Eagles in the championship game.  After a scoreless first half, Kutler again found a way to score the icebreaker on a penalty kick in the 56th minute. Kutler would eventually be named tournament MVP for his incredible performance. American tied the game in the 75th minute, but the Raiders were not about to back down after getting that far.  For the rest of regulation and through both overtime periods, Brown continued to come up with important saves to keep the game knotted at 1-1. The game went to a penalty shootout and in extraordinary fashion, sophomore midfielder Oliver Harris scored the game-winning penalty kick. Brown saved American’s last shot to clinch Colgate’s sixth Patriot League Championship win.

After the incredible game, several seniors discussed the significance of the win and the importance of team play.

“We really battled today, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this team,” Kutler said.  

Senior defender Zach Tamen added his thoughts on the team’s season thus far.

“Our class has been on an incredible journey,  from our freshman to senior year. We couldn’t have done this without the entire team today. We have a very special bond,” Tamen said.

With the Patriot League title, Colgate will make its sixth NCAA tournament appearance in its first round game on Thursday, November 17 against UCLA at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.