Upstate Update - Week 1
By Mani Tafari
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
St. Lawrence v. Fredonia State
This season’s first game of the week took place between two teams who battled for dominance of the region during the mid-1990s. This was epitomized as both powers faced each other during the 1995 and 1996 NCAA playoffs, where they split 2-0 wins. The last two decades have seen many changes for both teams, but the rivalry remains strong. Fredonia State (0-3-0) prepares to challenge the likes of Cortland and Oneonta in the difficult SUNYAC, while St. Lawrence (3-0-0) begins life after the retirement of a coach who was the heart and soul of the program.
The Season Thus Far
Fredonia State entered the game a day after a tough 3-2 overtime loss to Clarkson, while the Saints had just earned a 4-0 result over Rowan and eager to win the annual Lotto Tournament.
In a game that took a while to settle, both teams fought for dominance of the midfield for a majority of the first half in a very evenly matched game. St. Lawrence would take the lead shortly before halftime, when senior center back Harry Copeland scored the first goal of the night. The second half produced more good soccer from both teams before St. Lawrence senior Ryan Grant and freshman Tapshak Augustine each scored to give new coach Mike Toshack three straight wins to start his career.
Despite the loss, there are positive takeaways for Fredonia. A good, young team gained valuable experience that will only help them when the conference games begin later this year. On the other hand, St. Lawrence will continue to fine tune their squad after the loss of last season’s top scorer and leading play-maker to injury.
Around the Region
Buffalo State 2, Rochester Tech 1 - Buffalo State (3-0-0) begins the season with three wins behind seven goals. They only conceded one goal in their first three games. The SUNYAC once again will be strong with many contenders for the throne. With the loss, Rochester Tech falls to 1-2-0 on the season.
Geneseo State 1, Rochester 0 - It’s still the early days of the 2015 season, but it was a statement game for Geneseo State (3-0-0). It was a strong win against a good team, which can only help the confidence as the season progresses.
Rochester 2, Rutgers-Newark 1 (OT) - Rochester (1-1-1) found a way to bounce back and earned a strong win that will count even more come November. Known to be a strong team every year, Rochester will look to make that deep playoff run this year in order to silence the doubters. More wins like this will only help to make this goal a reality.
Hobart 2, Potsdam State 1 - This was a a big game for both teams. Contenders in the Liberty League and SUNYAC, respectively, Hobart (2-1-0) and Potsdam State (2-1-0) must gel in time before what will be a grueling conference schedule. Coach Parker has been on a great ride the last few seasons and will want this season’s version of the Bears to continue the upward trajectory of the program.
Oneonta State 2, Ithaca 0 - The seniors who made two final four appearances may be gone, but the swagger of Oneonta State (3-0-0) has not. This team has not conceded a goal yet this season; Fans may be looking at the new No. 1 team in the country after their early start. Ithaca (0-2-0) looks to improve against Cortland State in their next game
Houghton 4, SUNY Canton 1 - This result was a good win for Houghton (2-1-0) over a hard working SUNY Canton (0-3-0) team. Their next two games feature matches against Franklin and Marshall and Messiah, which will be a good, early tests before conference play begins.
Skidmore 3, Nazareth 0 - Skidmore (1-0-0) seem aptly named for their role as this year’s Liberty League dark horse. They may not have the big names of prior years, but no one will look forward to playing this team when it counts. Nazareth’s loss was the first of three-straight 3-0 results and are now 0-3-0 to start their 2015 season.
Teams of the Week
St. Lawrence and Oneonta State
Good start for both teams as the season gets underway. They could be headed for a collision course come November.