November 1, 2016

Upstate Update - Week 9

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

Skidmore at Union

Saturday, October 29

The heated rivalry between Skidmore (7-6-3 / 4-2-2) and Union (10-6-1 / 3-4-1) will be our final regular season GOW of the year. Skidmore entered the game with their playoff hopes on the line, knowing that a win would allow them an opportunity to improve on last season’s tournament final appearance where they fell just short of being crowned Liberty League champions. Union meanwhile were playing for pride. It seems like a recurring nightmare for the Dutchmen to do well in the non-conference part of the schedule only to struggle in the Liberty League. Despite not contending for a playoff spot, Union entered the game determined to end 2016 on a good note.

The Season Thus Far

Union began the season winning seven of its first eight contests while outscoring opponents 27-3. Skidmore began the year with back to back losses and struggled early while figuring out the right formula for success. A very competitive Liberty League season meant that entering the final day of the regular season final teams and seeding had yet to be sorted out.

Skidmore entered the game knowing that a loss and a St. Lawrence win over Clarkson would eliminate them from post season play.

Game On

Skidmore began the game in inspired form after paying tribute to their six graduating seniors before the game. Junior Austin Akoye scored his seventh goal of the season to put the hosts in front. The score remained at 1-0 Skidmore as the teams entered the locker room for intermission. Union kept on pressing however, and Andrew Fontaine would equalize in the 60th minute setting up a wild finish to an amazing game. The fireworks would resume in the 84th minute when Kevin Santos looked to have given the Thoroughbreds the win with a goal from an assist by Akoye. The lead was short lived as less than a minute later Union’s Vincent Oliveto once again tied the score at two goals apiece. The game seemed destined for overtime when Kienan Smith, Union’s 6 foot 5 inch defender, rose above the competition to head in the game winner 17 seconds before the final whistle.

Union gets a great win to wrap up the season while Skidmore moves on to compete for a league title.

Take Away

A hard fought game by both teams. Union finishes the season with a well-deserved home win while Skidmore aims for a championship and an invite to the dance.

Around the Region

RPI 1, Keene State 0 - RPI (8-6-4 / 5-2-1) are the third seed in the Liberty League tournament and now look to win the league championship while riding a 5 game win streak. RPI received a Pool C invite in 2015, but in order to dance this season they will have to add the tournament crown to their regular season success.

Clarkson 1, St. Lawrence 0 - Clarkson (7-7-2 / 3-4-1) defeats St. Lawrence (11-4-0 / 4-4-0) for the first time since the 1993 season to claim its first top 6 finish in the league in a long time. St. Lawrence meanwhile fails to make the Liberty League tournament for the first time since 2009.

Vassar 2, Bard 0 - Vassar (12-3-2 / 5-2-1) next takes on RPI for a trip to the championship game. A win will place them solidly on the tournament bubble; a loss may spell the end of the season.

Hobart 1, RIT 0 (OT) - Hobart (9-5-3 / 6-1-1), a team that started out 0-3-1, are Liberty League regular season champions, and will face its old nemesis Skidmore for a chance to play for the championship and win the double. RIT (5-9-3 / 1-6-1) looks to regroup in 2017.

Lycoming 3, Oneonta 2 (2OT) - Oneonta (13-5-1 / 6-2-1) could be in danger of missing out on NCAA football if they fail to defend their SUNYAC championship.

Buffalo State 2, New Paltz 0 - The dream ends for New Paltz (8-4-7 / 4-3-2) in the first round of the SUNYAC playoffs. This team is one to watch for the future. Meanwhile Buffalo (11-6-1 / 5-4-0) next looks to shock Cortland (15-2-0 / 8-1-0) and continue its march to the dance.

Fredonia 0, Plattsburgh 0 (2OT) - Fredonia (11-6-2 / 5-4-0) advances 5-4 on penalties and next takes on mighty Oneonta (13-5-1 / 6-2-1) in the SUNYAC semi finals.

Stevens 1, Houghton 0 - A top of the table clash in the Empire 8 sees Stevens (11-5-1 / 6-1-0) edge Houghton (10-3-4 / 4-1-2) for the top seed in the conference playoffs and home field advantage throughout.

Alfred 2, Elmira 1 (2OT) - Alfred (8-7-2 / 2-3-2) concludes the regular season on a positive note to get to the right side of .500 for the season.

Ithaca 2, St. John Fisher 1 - Ithaca (7-8-1 / 5-1-1) looks ready for post season play as it continues its trend of dominating conference opposition.

Team of the Week

Union

The Dutchmen ended the year well and played with tremendous heart. They will be a dangerous team in 2017.

 


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Upstate Update

 

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.

 

Columnist

Mani Tafari

Mani Tafari graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2001 with a History degree after four seasons playing for Bob Durocher that included the Saints untied, undefeated national championship season in 1999. Mani subsequently earned his law degree from Pace University School of Law (2009). He currently works as a criminal defense attorney and coaches soccer. He remains passionate about Division III soccer and is a loyal St. Lawrence alumus. In the summer of 2018 he shared his experiences as a player in his series, "Saint 4 Years, Saint 4 Life". [see full bio]

 

Mani Tafari in action

1999 National Champion with St. Lawrence.

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Nov 8: Upstate Update - Week 10
Oct 31: Upstate Update - Week 9
Oct 24: Upstate Update - Week 8
Oct 17: Upstate Update - Week 7
Oct 10: Upstate Update - Week 6
Oct 3: Upstate Update - Week 5
Sep 26: Upstate Update - Week 4
Sep 19: Upstate Update - Week 3
Sep 12: Upstate Update - Week 2
Sep 5: Upstate Update - Week 1
Nov 8: Upstate Update - Week 10
Nov 1: Upstate Update - Week 9
Oct 25: Upstate Update - Week 8
Oct 18: Upstate Update - Week 7
Oct 10: Upstate Update - Week 6
Oct 3: Upstate Update - Week 5
Sep 26: Upstate Update - Week 4
Sep 19: Upstate Update - Week 3
Sep 12: Upstate Update - Week 2
Nov 8: Upstate Update - Week 10
Nov 1: Upstate Update - Week 9
Oct 25: Upstate Update - Week 8
Oct 18: Upstate Update - Week 7
Oct 12: Upstate Update - Week 6
Oct 4: Upstate Update - Week 5
Sep 19: Upstate Update - Week 3
Sep 12: Upstate Update - Week 2
Sep 7: Upstate Update - Week 1
Nov 25: Upstate Update - NCAA Edition
Nov 5: Upstate Update - Conference Playoffs
Oct 28: Upstate Update - Week 8
Oct 20: Upstate Update - Week 7
Oct 13: Upstate Update - Week 6
Oct 6: Upstate Update - Week 5
Sep 29: Upstate Update - Week 4
Sep 22: Upstate Update - Week 3
Sep 15: Upstate Update - Week 2
Sep 8: Upstate Update - Week 1
Nov 6: Upstate Update - Conference Playoff Edition
Oct 28: Upstate Update - Week 9
Oct 22: Upstate Update - Week 8
Oct 14: Upstate Update - Week 7
Oct 7: Upstate Update - Week 6
Sep 30: Upstate Update - Week 5
Sep 22: Upstate Update - Week 4
Sep 15: Upstate Update - Week 3
Sep 9: Upstate Update - Week 2