September 12, 2017

Upstate Update - Week 2

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 at Oneonta State

Friday, September 8

The Saints and the Dragons: St. Lawrence and Oneonta State are two of the most competitive programs in Upstate New York. On Friday, the two powerhouses locked horns for the first time since their classic 2011 Sweet 16 matchup. While both programs will be seeking seventh consecutive NCAA appearances in 2017, they entered their encounter having had drastically different starts to their seasons.

The Season Thus Far

Oneonta has come flying out of the gates this fall. The Red Dragons entered the game with two wins in as many games, including a solid away win against the always tough Ducks from Stevens.

SLU, on the other hand, began the season with a loss to Babson and a tie with Wheaton (Mass.), giving up eight goals in those two road matches. The Saints headed to Oneonta where a positive result could build their confidence and get their season on track, but beating the Red Dragons is always easier said than done.

Game On

Host Oneonta started the game at a blistering pace, putting the Saints on the back foot for the first 10 minutes. The early pressure paid off. as Oneonta won a penalty which was ruthlessly dispatched by senior Cory Santangelo. The goal served as a wake-up call for the Saints, who thereafter settled in and dominated possession the rest of the half. Yet despite outshooting its opponent 8-3 in the first stanza, St. Lawrence found itself trailing at the interval.

The second half began as the first half ended, with the Saints controlling possession yet failing to capitalize on their chances. As the half progressed, Oneonta showed its experience by hitting the Saints hard on the counter attack resulting in goals in the 72nd and 81st minutes of the game by the dangerous Cebollero brothers.

A 3-0 result for the home team means a good start for Oneonta, while St. Lawrence experiences another difficult day at the office.

Take Away

A very good win for the Red Dragons. Even after losing a number of key players, coach Iain Byrne’s team always seems to reload, and this game proved the continuation of that. Oneonta has been one of the elite teams in all of Division III over the past five years, and, on this evidence, will most likely be in the conversation yet again when the weather gets cooler in November.

St. Lawrence is not quite in panic mode yet, but will need to be more clinical with scoring opportunities before the league season begins. Despite outshooting all their opponents this season, the team is still searching for its first win.

Around the Region

Oneonta State 2, RPI 1 - Coach Adam Clinton’s men suffered a heart breaking loss to snap their unbeaten 3-0 start to the season, as RPI failed to hold onto a 1-0 halftime lead. Oneonta seem to be experts at netting timely goals, and the Red Dragons have begun the season with four straight wins.

St. Lawrence 4, Rhode Island College 0 - St. Lawrence gets its first win of the season, but celebrations must be cut short with the ever dangerous Cortland State on the horizon.

Stevens 1, Vassar 0 - The defending Liberty League champions must right the ship soon following back-to-back losses to non-league opponents.

Skidmore 2, Geneseo 2 (2OT) - After advancing to the Liberty League final in back-to-back seasons, Skidmore—who is searching for its first conference title—continues its undefeated season.

Hobart 1, Rochester 1 (2OT) - Two talented teams—who will both look to challenge in their respective conferences—split honors.

Brockport State 4, Alfred 2 - Four second half goals do the trick against an Alfred team that is still seeking its first win of 2017.

RIT 6, Keuka 1 - The Tigers get the first win of the season in convincing fashion, but more difficult competition beckons when the Liberty League season begins.

Ithaca 2, Elmira 0 - The Bombers, new entrants to the Liberty League, continue their strong start to 2017.

Sage 1, Clarkson 0 - Clarkson will try to regroup after an early-season stumble on the road.

Team of the Week

Oneonta State

All hail the King of the North.


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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.



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. [see full bio]


Mani Tafari in action

1999 National Champion with St. Lawrence.

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