Upstate Update - Week 8
By D3soccer.com contributor
The Upstate Update brings you up to speed on Division III men's soccer in the "Upstate" New York region, home to the SUNYAC, Liberty League, and Empire 8. Several key matches will be recapped each week along with a more in-depth look at a Game of the Week.
Game of the Week
Skidmore at Hobart - Friday, October 17
One of these teams will play in the post season and one will not. The strength of the Liberty League in 2014 means that a good team will not get a berth in the conference tournament. The nine team conference offers only four playoff spots with the highest two seeds hosting the semi-final rounds. A team that fails to make the conference tournament has virtually no chance of being invited to the NCAA tournament.
Skidmore and their amazing senior class have made noise in the league over the past three seasons, climaxing with a conference finals appearance in 2013. The Thoroughbreds are looking to add to their impressive recent history but to do so had to face a determined Hobart squad. The Statesmen have always been a power player in the conference, but in the last few seasons have found themselves in an unfamiliar mid-table position. A win against Skidmore offered a chance to get a foot into the conference tournament while knocking out their biggest challenger for that last playoff spot.
The Season Thus Far
The Statesmen had a tough start to the season, but have bounced back to be in prime position to qualify for postseason play. Skidmore has had some quality results against good teams this season. The Thoroughbreds were in danger of missing the postseason altogether with a horrible start to conference play, but has the confidence and talent to beat any team in the conference tournament. But first they must get there.
Both teams came into the game desperate and played like it. Goalkeepers saw plenty of action as 44 shots and 11 corner kicks were evenly split throughout the game. Despite the goal mouth activity, the game ended in a well fought 0-0 tie.
After 110 minutes of fierce competition not much changed. Hobart (8-4-3/2-2-2), with their Satruday tie versus RPI, and Skidmore (8-4-3/2-2-1), with their Satruday win over RIT, are still competing for the final Liberty League playoff spot. Skidmore must now turn its attention to St. Lawrence who comes to town in a few days for a rematch of last season’s conference final. Hobart meanwhile must find a way to beat the up and down Clarkson who continues to be the enigma of the league.
Around the Region
Clarkson 1, Vassar 0 - In a battle of the teacher and the pupil, Clarkson’s (7-7-1/2-3-0) coach Taylor comes out on top handing Vassar (9-4-1/3-1-0) its first conference loss of the season. The first person to congratulate him was his mentor Coach Jennings.
St. Lawrence 1, Vassar 1 (2OT) - The Brewers bounced back to snatch a point from the conference leading Saints. Vassar (9-4-2/3-1-1) were only ten minutes away from securing all three points in Canton for the first time since 2009, but an 80th minute header from sophomore Rob Brandell kept St. Lawrence (12-2-1/5-0-1) unbeaten in conference play.
Bard 1, Clarkson 0 - The men from Bard (6-9-0/1-5-0) secured their first conference win in team history. A gutsy effort was made even more satisfying as it came on the road against a much improved Clarkson team (7-8-1/2-4-0). Bard will continue to improve in the coming years and should take a lot of confidence from this victory.
Ithaca 1, St. John Fisher 0 - Ithaca (4-6-2/4-1-0) has a very good conference record and still looking to make a late season run.
Geneseo State 1, Cortland State 0 - Geneseo State (8-6-2/3-3-1) got a quality win over a good opponent and will look to ride this victory into the conference tournament. Cortland State (11-3-2/6-1-1) comes back to earth, but remains a threat to win the conference tournament.
Oneonta State 1, Hamilton 0 - Hamilton (5-6-2) continues to play a very good non-conference schedule despite being in the powerful NESCAC . Oneonta State (13-0-2) is one of the best teams in the country for a reason. They seem to only be getting better.
Plattsburgh State 4, Fredonia State 0 - Plattsburgh State (8-7-1/3-4-0) knows that it can win the SUNYAC tournament as long as they make it there. Of course, it's going to require more consistancy than they've shown to date (e.g. Sunday's loss to Buffalo State) to get three consecutive results in the tournament to nab the automatic berth. Fredonia State (8-4-3/2-3-2), who would go on to lose a third straight game Sunday versus Potsdam State, has picked the worst time of the season to experience a slump.
Teams of the Week
Bard and Oneonta State
Coach of the Year honors should be considered for Bard’s Andy McCabe who is steadily strengthening the Raptor program in a tough conference. There is not much left to say about Oneonta State who completed seven weeks of play as one of only three undefeated teams across the nation.