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
Vassar at Hobart
Saturday, October 21
The Statesmen of Hobart (7-4-4 / 5-0-3) are once again featured in our game of the week. Their opponents are the league leading Vassar Brewers (8-4-2 / 5-1-1) who entered the competition as defending league champions and unbeaten in conference play. This top of the table clash between the first and second place teams in the conference highlighted an exciting weekend in the Liberty League.
This season has been one of the most competitive in Liberty League history. With two additional playoff places up for grabs, players have been battling for weeks for a chance to play in the post season.
Hobart, Vassar and St. Lawrence have been the most consistent teams to date and find themselves in a three horse race for a first round bye granted to the top two teams.
The Season Thus Far
Both teams suffered non-conference setbacks before rounding in to form at the beginning of league play. Although beginning the day in the top two spots, the losing team would be at risk of being surpassed in the standings by lurking St. Lawrence.
Vassar and Hobart booked their playoff spots much earlier in the season, this game was for the right to play at home in November.
The first half was lively and physical but failed to produce a goal as both teams focused on being defensively sound. The second half began with fireworks when sophomore Nick Wigglesworth wiggled himself into the box in the 50th minute to head the Statesmen in front. The goal excited Hobart and awoke the Brewers as just 90 seconds later the league leaders responded through their marksman Joe Novas who scored his team leading seventh goal of the season.
With the game knotted at a goal a piece in the 90th minute, Hobart appeared headed to its eighth overtime game of the season. Hobart senior Patrick Schulz had other ideas. Shulz broke down the right flank and banged in a stunner to send the crowd home in a good mood.
The Liberty League has yet another league leader. Hobart is now the only undefeated team in conference play. A result against St. Lawrence at home on the weekend will see the Statesmen host a Liberty League semi-final.
Vassar sees a good streak come to an end but know that they still control their own destiny and are still in good position to host the Liberty League final. Vassar must regroup and refocus with two tough games against the desperate RPI and Ithaca on the way. They are still in a great position to finish in the league’s top spot.
This is not your father’s Liberty League. Things are tight at the top and bottom with judgment day fast approaching on the weekend.
Around the Region
Cortland State 4, Brockport State 1 - Cortland keeps going from strength to strength.
RPI 2, Ithaca 1 (2OT) - This was a great come from behind win on the road for RPI who now control their own destiny going into the final weekend of league play. Still a chance for Ithaca to make the post season, but their margin for error is very thin.
Oneonta State 2, Fredonia State 1 - Another one loss team in the SUNYAC means the conference has three legitimate Sweet 16 contenders.
Plattsburgh State 1, Geneseo State 0 - Plattsburgh is quietly having a very solid season.
Houghton 3, Utica 3 (2OT) - Game ends in tie for two teams desperately searching for a win.
Rochester 2, Brockport State 0 - The Yellow Jackets are having a very good year.
Team of the Week
This could be the year of the Tiger.
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