Men’s Soccer Wins Two Conference Matches

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Mitch Waxman

The Colgate men’s soccer team has had a bumpy ride recently, winning two vital Patriot League match-ups 1-0 against Holy Cross and Army, yet falling to lowly Syracuse in a tightly-contested 3-2 overtime affair.

The Raiders home game against Holy Cross was as typical a Colgate battle as we have seen so far this season. The Raiders played solid defense in the first half, dominating possession and dictating tempo, but could not find the back of the net. Right before the half, however, sophomore George McFarland found a streaking Shane Conlin in front of the net, and the sophomore forward headed home the goal to give the Raiders the only tally they would need on the day. The defense held strong throughout the second half and Colgate had their fifth win of the season.

With all the momentum on the Raiders side, and a national ranking of 24 in the polls, Colgate made the hour-long trek to take on the rival Syracuse Orange. Much like the Long Island game earlier in the campaign, this was a game that the Raiders were expected to win, yet came out flat to start. Syracuse dictated much of the tempo after an even opening ten minutes, and in the 20th minute Syracuse tallied the game’s first goal, finding success off a beautiful corner kick. Instead of rallying the defense together, as the Raiders have done so well this year, Syracuse came right back down the field and scored a minute later, leaving Colgate in a shocking 2-0 hole. The Orange continued to dominate the game, and Colgate was lucky to go into halftime with only a 2-0 deficit.

The second half started with much of the same, as the ball was almost glued to the Raiders’ defensive side of the field. In this half, however, the defense stood tall and waited until the offense could begin to generate something. In the 75th minute this plan proved fruitful, as sophomore Wade Martin found an open Conlin, who hammered home Colgate’s first goal to make the score a more manageable 2-1.

After this goal Colgate really put the pressure on Syracuse, yet it looked like it would be too little too late. With just five minutes to go, the score remained 2-1. Yet it was at that moment that junior forward Matt Schuber saucered a gorgeous pass to fellow forward Steven Miller who equalized the score at two-all.

As the game moved into overtime, Colgate continued to pick up the pressure, hounding the Syracuse end of the field and giving every viewer reason to believe the Raiders would win. But just as the first overtime period was coming to a close, Syracuse was fouled in a dangerous area at the top of the box. With goalkeeper Chris Miller cheating one way, the Orange took advantage to emerge victorious for only the second time this season. The loss was certainly a tough one, as it dropped the Raiders from the national rankings.

It was important for the Raiders to forget about the Syracuse game, however, because in the grand scheme of things the Patriot League tilts are most important, and Colgate had a tough one on the road against Army.

The first half featured the Colgate recipe of ball control, yet no goal, and this carried the Raiders through until the halfway point. In the second half, Army’s defense continued to stand tall, and although the Raiders were outshooting the Black Knights 15-3, the scoreboard had no tallies. Colgate realized the shot differential, and as the minutes ticked down the Raiders knew they deserved a goal. Finally, in the 86th minute, sophomore Pat Latourneau picked up a loose ball in front of the net and blasted it past the keeper, a clutch goal that would give Colgate a 1-0 win.

In the overall view of the season that goal could prove gigantic, as it was cruicial in helping the Raiders bounce back after the setback at Syracuse and establish a strong position in the Patriot League.