Upstate Update - Week 1
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
SUNY Cortland at Messiah
Saturday, September 1
An early season clash between two powerhouse programs kicks off this season’s game of the week.
When big teams play early in the season it is more than just an early season encounter meant to work out the kinks. It is the chance to earn a victory that might carry significant weight down the road. A victory against a team that will not lose many games. It is also a chance to send a message to a team that you might just see later in the year.
A secret to Messiah’s success is the unwillingness of those in and around the program to rest on accomplishments of seasons past. The Falcons come to win year after year and 2018 is no different.
The Red Dragons have been flying to new heights over the past few seasons. The reigning SUNYAC champions have danced three of the past four seasons and were ready for an early season away battle. The Kings of the North were in Kings Landing (Shoemaker Field) but they did not come to bend the knee.
The Season Thus Far
An opening day contest to start their respective 2018 campaigns.
Cortland freshman Anthony Ruggiero got his career and the Red Dragon season off to a dream start when he opened his account against the defending champions within the first four minutes of the game. Cortland continued to play impressive soccer and pressed forward. They were rewarded again for their positivity at the 24-minute mark with a goal from senior Leke Dossou.
The Falcons responded ten minutes later to cut the deficit to 2-1 and the game headed to half time with Cortland holding a one goal lead. The fireworks continued nine minutes after half-time and Messiah got the equalizer in front of their enthusiastic crowd.
This early season top 25 clash ended 2-2 after regulation and the crowd was treated to extra time soccer. The Falcons went for the kill and dominated the final minutes of the game outshooting the Red Dragons 6-1 during extra time.
There would be no winning goal in this season opener and both teams had to be satisfied with a well-deserved tie to start the season. A draw was a reasonable result in a game between two teams who have lofty goals for 2018.
Cortland will continue their preparation to do battle in the ever challenging SUNYAC conference through their impressive non-conference schedule with games against Ithaca, St. Lawrence and Hobart in the coming weeks. Messiah meanwhile will concentrate on getting injured Falcons fit and running before the start of conference play.
Around the Region
RIT 2, SUNY Brockport 1 (OT) - RIT gets the winner in OT in a battle between two teams on an upward trajectory.
Clarkson 5, Alfred 0 - That’s 8 goals for and 0 against for the Golden Knights in 2018 so far. This team could still be undefeated when former coach Taylor comes to town in a couple weeks.
Team of the Week
Clarkson Golden Knights
Golden Knights … undefeated still!
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