The Colgate men’s soccer team continued its unbeaten ways this past week, earning a 1-0 victory over visiting Hartwick and a 1-1 tie at Villanova in its first road trip of the season. Senior co-captain Mike Reese scored the winning goal in the first game, while senior co-captain Steven Miller tallied against the Wildcats. The Raiders took 20 shots against Hartwick and 17 against Villanova, making it 52 total shots taken throughout the first three contests of the year.
“We have had a lot of quality scoring opportunities in our first three games, which is always a good thing,” Miller said. “Although our 52 shots have only resulted in three goals, we are happy with the way we are attacking. We have been very unlucky not to score more than one goal in each of our games. We will continue to work on our finishing touch, and it is only a matter of time before we start getting some favorable bounces and start scoring more goals. As long as we keep working hard and producing scoring opportunities, the goals will come.”
Last Wednesday against the Hartwick Hawks, the game started similarly to how the first game had. While both squads enjoyed a period of mutual study, it was Colgate that took the initiative and grabbed possession of the ball and slowly yet surely asserted its game plan on the field. While the Raiders failed to score in the first half, their dominance was reflected in ball possession and shots taken. ‘Gate took nine shots in the first frame, five of which were on net.
In the second half, Colgate once again took the initiative and controlled the ball. When it was needed, the defense did its part and stopped any attack on the Raiders’s end, to the point that Hartwick only took three shots in the frame and a single one of those was on net. While Colgate took nine shots total and two on net in the second half, it was unable to convert on its scoring opportunities, thus the contest went into overtime. In the first overtime, the Raiders kept their game plan and dominion of the ball, not allowing the Hawks to create any offense. Colgate, however, found itself unable to score either, which forced a second extra session. Just when it seemed as if the contest was destined to end in a draw, Reese managed to find the net with 46 seconds left in the second overtime to give the Raiders their second victory of the young season.
“Our win against Hartwick was a complete team effort,” Miller said. “We had a lot of chances early on in the game that we did not capitalize on, but we knew a goal would eventually come if we kept working hard. We played great team defense the entire game, which gave us the confidence to send numbers forward into the attack. We battled the entire 109 minutes and the hard work finally paid off when Mike Reese found the back of the net in the last minute of overtime. It was a great victory for us against a tough Hartwick team.”
Four days later, Colgate took its first road trip of the campaign, traveling to Villanova, Pennsylvania to take on the Villanova Wildcats. The contest was hard-fought from beginning to end. In the first frame, the Raiders kept doing what they had in the previous two contests, maintaining possession of the ball and controlling the motions of the game. The Wildcats, however, did not stand back and fired seven shots throughout the half to Colgate’s four. Neither squad, however, was able to score.
A third of the way through the second frame, a window of opportunity opened up for the Raiders. At the 59th minute, Miller inaugurated the scoreboard with a header off of a corner kick. Given that Colgate had yet to receive a goal in the young campaign, it seemed as if the Raiders were about to get their third consecutive triumph. Villanova, however, did not back down and in the end it paid off. Late in the contest, at the 86th minute, the Wildcats knotted the game at one, sending it into overtime. Neither team was able to damage the other throughout the two extra sessions and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
This upcoming weekend, Colgate will travel to Burlington, Vermont to participate in the Vermont Tournament, taking on the University of Vermont on Friday and the University of New Hampshire on Sunday.
“Vermont and New Hampshire will be very difficult challenges for us this weekend,” Miller said. “Our style of play rarely changes with our opponents because we are confident that we can beat any team that we play. Our team defense has been our strength so far this season, and we will continue to stay organized and play tough on the defensive side of the ball against Vermont and UNH. On the offensive side of the ball, we will look to move the ball quickly, get quality service from the flanks and finish our opportunities in the box. If we continue to work hard for each other like we have in the first three games, we should have a very successful trip against two very good teams.”
The contests are slated for a 4 p.m. start on Friday and 11 a.m. on Sunday.
Contact Jaime Heilbron at [email protected]