Upstate Update - Week 5
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
Ithaca at Stevens
Saturday, October 3
While the SUNYAC and Liberty League received most of the early ink this season, two teams in the Empire 8 have been steadily preparing for the postseason. Ithaca, last week’s team of the week did battle against league powerhouse Stevens in the most important game to date for both teams.
The Season Thus Far
Both teams entered the game experiencing the best of times and the worst of times simultaneously. For Stevens (6-1-2/0-0-2), the joy of a six-game unbeaten streak was mitigated by no wins in two league games. On the other hand, Ithaca (2-5-1/ 2-0-0) were in good shape despite having an overall losing record. While they had the better record, this was a game the Ducks could not afford to lose.
The Ducks came out firing to begin the game by blitzing the travelling Ithaca squad generating several shots in the first ten minutes of the game. Their early pressure would be rewarded in the 12th minute when aptly named senior Harry Kane converted for a 1-0 lead. The Bombers fought nobly, but on this day there was no stopping Stevens. The Ducks controlled the contest outshooting Ithaca 11-4 and won the battle of corner kicks 5-2.
The Ducks (7-1-2/1-0-2) are finding their sea legs at the right time of the season. They are a very good program year in year out, and not many teams will want to face Stevens come playoff time. Ithaca (2-6-1/2-1-0) still holds on to hope and understand that destiny is still in their hands as the third place team in the Empire 8.
Around the Region
RIT 1, RPI 0 - RIT (4-6-0/1-2-0) snapped RPI’s school record 10 game unbeaten streak when freshman Gene Sicoli stepped up and converted a penalty kick in the seventh minute of overtime for his seventh goal of the season. It takes a confident player to step up as a freshman in that situation. This win will give RIT confidence that they are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. RPI (8-1-2/1-1-1) are suddenly in a dog fight to reach the playoffs after a dream start.
Vassar 1, St. Lawrence 0 - Vassar (6-2-2/2-0-0) gains a strong win at home and now sits atop the Liberty League along with Skidmore their next opponent. St. Lawrence (8-2-2/2-1-0) must find more consistency as they travel to a Hobart team desperate for a win.
Clarkson 3, Bard 2 - Bard (5-5-1/0-3-0) have lost all three league contests by a single goal while going nose to nose with opponents. This is a team on the rise despite their league record.
Skidmore 1, Hobart 0 - The dark horse of the Liberty League, Skidmore (7-2-0/3-0-0) have one foot in the league playoffs, but must beat arch nemesis Vassar for that all important fourth win that traditionally clinches a playoff berth.
Team of the Week
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