The Colgate men’s soccer team enjoyed a successful week, as they beat Patriot League foe Lafayette 2-0 last Saturday only to be blanked by No. 3 Maryland by the same score this past Tuesday.
The Lafayette win was extremely important to the Raiders’ season. Colgate had just lost a disappointing game to Cornell, and it was vital that the letdown against the Big Red did not affect their more important Patriot League contest. In addition, the win put them at 4-0 in the Patriot League, virtually assuring them a spot in the Patriot League tournament.
As so many Raiders games have started, Colgate controlled the ball throughout the first half, only to see Lafayette turn to a defensive style of play and keep the Raiders out of the net. The biggest highlight of the half came ten minutes before halftime, when senior Jeff Leach got a full head of steam into a shot, forcing the Leopard goalkeeper to make full out dive to parry the ball away.
The Raiders came out in the second half determined to solve the Lafayette defense. Luckily, it didn’t take long. Just two minutes into the second half, first-year Nick Arpey beat his defender down the left side of the field, made a move at the end line, and then passed it to an open Steven Miller in front of the net, who knew exactly how to make the score 1-0.
After that goal, Colgate continued to put the pressure on, having chance after chance. In the 75th minute they struck again, as sophomore George McFarland put a cross into the box and junior Matt Schuber volleyed it home to make the game 2-0.
With the goal Schuber became the team points leader, with eight on the season. The game would end with that score, with the Raiders outshooting the Leopards 16-8.
The Raiders rode the momentum of that win all the way down to College Park, Maryland where they would face off against the University of Maryland. Colgate viewed this game as an ability to see where they are, as the Terps are the third-ranked team in the nation and a legitimate contender for the NCAA title. If an ignorant observer had been watching the first half, however, he probably would have thought that Colgate was the higher-ranked team.
The Raiders came out on fire, pressuring the Maryland end of the field and outshooting their lofty opponent. Unfortunately, while they have been able to overcome their lack of finishing against lesser opponents, Colgate’s inability to tally proved costly this time.
After dominating the game for the first 36 minutes, everything changed on a deflected shot. A Maryland player dribbled to a threatening position outside the box and unleashed a shot which goalkeeper Chris Miller seemed in position to save. The ball took an untimely deflection, however, and just like that the Raiders were in a 1-0 hole. That goal proved to be the needle that pricked Colgate’s momentum.
The second half featured Maryland outshooting the Raiders 14-4, and in the 80th minute the Terps cashed in again, this time off a corner kick, delivered by Matt Kassel. The score would end at 2-0, although the Raiders should certainly take some positives from this game. They hung tough with a high caliber foe, and as they travel to Lewisburg to face Bucknell this weekend Colgate should certainly have all the confidence they need.
The Raiders play again on Saturday, as they face Bucknell on the road in Lewisburg, PA. The game is slated for a 7 p.m. start.