The Colgate men’s soccer team opened with a 4-0 loss to Wofford College in the first game of the Colgate Fall Classic on Friday. Early in the game, the Raiders faced a strong offensive-minded Wofford team. Wofford’s senior Alex Hutchins ignited a fi-ery offense, confusing a determined Raider defense. He tore through the Raiders de-fense, passing the ball off to Wofford’s ju-nior Blair Gaines who launched the ball for a goal, putting Wofford up 1-0.
Colgate attempted to rebound from the early deficit with senior Mike Reidy lead-ing the way. Reidy’s electric, Messi-esque footwork allowed Colgate some strong scoring opportunities but the offense could not seem to get by Wofford’s veteran goalkeeper senior Andrew Drennan.
Both teams continued their tough, physical play yearning for more scoring op-portunities as fans watched on the edge of their seats.
An unlucky penalty was called against Colgate with 22 minutes remaining afford-ing Wofford an opportunity to extend the lead. Wofford’s Hutchins kicked a penalty kick to the right corner of the goal, giving Wofford an early 2-0 lead.
The Raiders offensive travails contin-ued as it continued to struggle against Wofford’s goalkeeper Drennan as he commanded a menacing defensive effort.
With nine minutes remaining in the first half, Wofford took advantage of an-other Colgate penalty. Wofford’s sopho-more Carlos Dominguez Gonzalez was kicked Wofford’s free kick, allowing Wofford’s sophomore Forrest Lasso to launch a header into the goal putting Wofford up 3-0 to finish the first half.
Colgate’s Reidy remained resilient, try-ing to rejuvenate a struggling Colgate offensive performance in the opening minutes of the second half. Despite his best efforts, Wofford was able to regain possession with 40 minutes remaining.
Wofford’s first-year Nestor Jaramillo charged through the Colgate defense pass-ing the ball to Wofford’s offensive machine Hutchins who unleashed yet another goal, giving Wofford a whopping 4-0 lead.
Despite the 4-0 hole, Colgate remained steadfast in attempting to tally goals. Even with effective passing and relentless shots on goal, the Raiders offense could not flus-ter a disciplined Drennan. Wofford was able to shut down the Raiders for the rest of the half ultimately securing a 4-0 win.
In the second game of the Colgate Fall Classic, the Raiders took on a formidable University of Vermont team Sunday after-noon. Both teams played physical offen-sively and defensively. Colgate was able to maintain consistent control of the game with Reidy leading the Colgate offense early.
However, an unlucky penalty was called against Colgate giving Vermont an advan-tageous opportunity with about 30 min-utes remaining in the first half. Despite a strong free kick by Vermont’s senior Joe Losier, Colgate’s sophomore goalkeeper Liam Stapleton came up with an electric save keeping the game tied 0-0.
Both teams launched strong of-fensive onslaughts, but the defenses responded impressively.
Colgate’s goalkeeper Stapleton and team senior co-captain Patrick Letourneau com-manded a seemingly impenetrable Colgate defense throughout the first half.
Head coach Erik Ronning was impressed with Stapleton’s goaltending efforts stating, “He managed the game very well” and, as a result of his efforts, allowed Colgate “an opportunity to win.”
Early in the second half with the game still tied 0-0, Colgate continued its electric defense. Its offense, led by senior Shane Con-lin and Reidy, relentlessly pursued scoring opportunities, but Vermont goalkeeper ju-nior Conor Leland was able to strangle any Colgate chance of a goal.
A handball penalty was called against Colgate with 17 minutes remaining al-lowing Vermont a free kick. Vermont’s senior Joe Losier was able to kick the ball in the right side of the goal affording the Catamounts a 1-0 lead.
Colgate responded with its thrilling bursts of speed and physical play passing the ball effectively and taking advantage of opportu-nities. Colgate’s junior Nick Arpey launched a barrage of several successful throw-ins al-lowing the Raider offense to effectively spread the field in pursuit of the elusive game-tying goal.
As the game clock was ticking away, it seemed like Colgate would lose its second and final game of the Colgate Fall Classic. But the team looked the face of defeat in the eye and refused to give up. In the final minute of regu-lation, a penalty was called against the Cata-mounts giving Colgate a free kick. Colgate goalkeeper Stapleton fired a shot near the goal and Colgate’s Conlin took control of the ball passing it off to Letourneau.
A flawless, ‘ESPN Top-10 Plays’ wor-thy header by Letourneau soared past Catamounts goalkeeper junior Conor Leland, tying the game 1-1 and sending the crowd to its feet.
As the crowd roared, Colgate vigorous-ly attempted to sneak in a game-winning goal in the first overtime, but goalkeeper Leland regained control of the Vermont defense. Both teams kept the fans on the edge of their seats as they battled for seemingly evasive scoring opportunities.
The game remained tied 1-1 as the teams continued their fight in the second and final overtime. Both defenses shut down any possible scoring opportunities resulting in a 1-1 tie at Van Doren Field.
Still, the Raiders commanded an ex-tremely well-disciplined, adept team effort against the Catamounts, leading Colgate head coach Erik Ronning to reflect posi-tively, stating, “we just battled. We were a lot more organized [compared to Friday’s game against Wofford] and recommitted ourselves. I’m really proud of these guys.”
Colgate opens Patriot League play against a strong American University team at Van Doren Field at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Contact Matt Washuta at [email protected]