Upstate Update - Week 8
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
Alfred at Stevens
Saturday, October 22
The footballers of the Empire 8 have gone somewhat under the radar this season, as their neighbors in the SUNYAC and the hectic Liberty League have garnered most of the attention in the region. Two teams that had impressive 2015 seasons locked horns in the marquee matchup this weekend. Last season for Alfred (7-7-2 / 1-3-2) ended with a respectable 10-5-3 record as well as a berth in the ECAC tournament. The Saxons were eager to build on that experience this season. Stevens (9-5-1 / 5-1-0) meanwhile were coming off yet another successful season finishing as Empire 8 champions as well as participants in the big dance.
The Season Thus Far
Stevens began 2016 in the worst possible way, after securing just one win in their first five games. The Ducks would begin to find form utilizing a balanced scoring attack led by midfielder Patrick Masur. The economical senior has mesmerized by scoring 5 goals and 3 assists from just 19 shots this season. More impressive perhaps is that 14 of those 19 shots have been on target.
The visitors, Alfred, started the season on a high and dropped just one of its first eight contests before a mid-season dip in form that coincided with the start of the league portion of the season.
This game could place Stevens firmly in the driver’s seat of the conference playoff picture.
The game began and continued as a hard fought and even affair. Stevens playing like a team eager to punch its ticket to the number one seed in conference playoffs while the Saxons were eager to keep hope alive for soccer in November. The tie was broken 3 minutes before half-time when junior Tommy Dorsay used his head to give the Ducks the lead. The teams would go to the locker room with Stevens holding on to its one goal lead. A few inspiring words was perhaps all Alfred needed as they were able to equalize within 60 seconds from the break knotting the score at one goal apiece. Cody Cronmiller notched his second goal of the season to get his Saxons back into the contest. As the clock wound down the Ducks looked to their talisman Patrick Masur to lead them to victory while Alfred looked to shut him down. Patrick and the other Stevens seniors would be bailed out by a goal from baby brother Andrew Masur, who scored his second goal of the year that would also prove to be the game winner.
Andrew Masur scores the goal of his career, and also has bragging rights over big brother for saving his skin on Senior day in New Jersey.
Alfred must now look to finish the season strong on a positive note while Stevens are peaking at just the right time of year. The Ducks will move on to play Houghton in its final conference game which could be a preview of the conference tournament final.
Around the Region
RPI 3, Bard 0 - RPI (7-6-3 / 5-2-1) has booked its ticket to the Liberty League tournament proving their doubters wrong for the second year in a row. After making the second round of the big dance without qualifying for the conference tournament in 2015, Clinton’s men will be a confident bunch and a handful for whoever they play.
Skidmore 2, Clarkson 0 - Clarkson (6-6-2 / 2-4-1) will not play soccer in November this season yet again. The goal now for Taylor’s men is to finish the season with a .500 record and beat its Route 11 neighbors [Potsdam (8-6-2 / 3-5-1) and St. Lawrence (11-3-0 / 4-3-0)] to close out the season. Skidmore (6-5-3 / 3-1-2), despite losing only one league game so far are still not guaranteed a playoff spot and must continue its winning ways to secure one.
St. Lawrence 2, RIT 1 - The Saints for the first time in four years will not be Liberty League regular season champions and might be in danger of not making the league tournament all together. RIT (4-8-3 / 1-5-1) looks to end its season on a winning note.
Hobart 1, Union 0 (1OT) - Hobart (8-5-3 / 5-1-1) will be playing in the Liberty League tournament and has the best shot of hosting the championship at this point. Union (9-5-1 / 2-3-1) is still alive, but must win its remaining games and hope for help.
Vassar 3, Rochester 0 - Statement game from Vassar (10-3-2 / 3-2-1). Could pull a RPI in 2016.
Fredonia 2, Oneonta 1 - Fredonia snatches third seed in the competitive SUNYAC with an impressive win. Oneonta drops two of its last four regular season games, but these men are experts at winning games they must.
Plattsburgh 2, Geneseo 0 - Plattsburgh (11-5-1 / 4-4-1) secures a win and a much deserved playoff spot. Waterbury’s men will hope they have gotten all the kinks out of the system and are ready to challenge for a conference crown. First up Fredonia.
New Paltz 1, Buffalo State 0 - The SUNYAC fifth seed should surprise no one after a very stellar 2015 season which went largely under the radar. New Paltz (8-3-7 / 4-3-2) are legit.
Ithaca 1, Houghton 1 (2OT) - Ithaca (6-7-1 / 4-1-1) continues its recent trend of being an average team in non-conference games and elite in the Empire 8. Houghton (9-2-4 / 4-0-2) continues its challenge regular season for top dog status.
Team of the Week
A team with final four written all over them.
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