Upstate Update - Week 4
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
Oneonta State at Cortland State
Saturday, September 26
Two teams considered by many to be the elite of the SUNYAC did battle in Cortland, New York. In 2014, Cortland State advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 and are looking to build on their reputation as a power in the conference and region. Oneonta State meanwhile has had a very impressive decade so far and will look to reach their third final four in five seasons.
The Season Thus Far
Both teams entered the game after some early season stumbles with the knowledge that a win would put their season back on track (at least for the next week). Cortland (5-2-1/0-1-0) began the season in explosive form, scoring 11 goals in their opening two wins, but entered the game after a heart breaking 2-1 loss to New Paltz State. Oneonta (5-2-1/1-0-0) had an uncharacteristically poor September as they dropped games to Williams and RPI, but were coming off a positive 3-1 victory against Oswego State.
Early fireworks would decide the contest, as a 5th minute goal by junior Hans Purtell was all Oneonta would need to secure the victory in the battle of the Red Dragons. Cortland would go on to have some very good chances in the game, but were outshot 21-9 by an Oneonta team that looks to have awoken from their mid-September slumber.
Oneonta (6-2-1/2-0-0) has very little time to celebrate their return to the top of the league as they face Geneseo State and Brockport State on the weekend, two teams with eyes on the SUNYAC crown. Cortland (5-3-1/0-2-0) are in a bit of a hole. Games against a resurgent Plattsburgh State and a much improved Potsdam State look more and more like must wins in order to keep playoff hopes alive.
Around the Region
Buffalo State 2, Geneseo State 1 - Buffalo State (6-2-2/1-0-1) is undefeated in league play, which is what is important as the weather begins to get cooler.
Potsdam State 1, Plattsburgh State 1 - For Potsdam (6-2-1/0-0-1) a good point to start league play. Plattsburgh (8-1-1/0-0-1) now sit mid-table in the league after a dream start winning their first eight games of the season.
Ithaca 2, St. John Fisher 1 - Despite a losing record, Ithaca (2-4-1/2-0-0) are atop the Empire 8. They must put their perfect record on the line this weekend against conference favorite Stevens (5-1-2/0-0-2) who will be gunning for their first win in league play.
RPI 1, Bard 0 - RPI (8-0-1/1-0-0) may not be among the perfect anymore, but keep getting results while building for the post season. Bard (4-3-1/ 0-1-0) sent a signal to the entire league by playing a very even game with undefeated RPI. Bard is a much improved squad that will cause headaches for years to come.
St. Lawrence 2, RIT 0 - St. Lawrence (7-1-2/2-0-0) is relying on freshmen to carry the load, and must continue to do so as they travel south to face Vassar and Bard for what will be a grueling weekend to begin October.
Hobart 0, Union 0 - Both teams have big dreams for 2015. Hobart (5-0-1/0-0-1) next face RPI and Skidmore for what will be their most difficult week of the regular season.
Skidmore 2, Clarkson 0 - Skidmore (5-2-0/1-0-0) must win these games in order to play in the post season. The 2013 Liberty League finalists are looking to return to post season play after missing out last season.
Team of the Week
The Bombers prove once again that overall record is much less important than how a team performs against conference foes.
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