October 3, 2018

Upstate Update - Week 5

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

Cortland at New Paltz

Saturday, September 29

The SUNYAC continues to be among the most competitive conferences in the nation as the weather turns from warm to cool.

Our game of the week presents a matchup between the two most improved teams in the conference over the past few seasons.

Coach Kyle Clancy has very good success since taking charge of the Hawks (8-3-0 / 3-1-0) in 2016. That year he finished conference play with a winning record while dropping just four of nineteen games played in the year. Despite a less successful year last season, New Paltz suffered a few heart-breaking losses. The team managed to outscore opponents while playing attractive and hard-nosed soccer.

Cortland’s rise has been remarkable over the past few seasons as the Red Dragons (8-1-2 / 2-1-0)) have become a power in the SUNYAC the region and the nation.

The Season Thus Far

Cortland began the season in brilliant form and entered the contest with an undefeated record. An opening tie on the road to Messiah was followed up by dispatching both St. Lawrence and Oneonta. The Red Dragons are a good team playing with confidence which is a very dangerous combination.

Despite tough losses to New York University and Vassar, the Hawks were also feeling good entering this game. A win would catapult them to the top of the league while handing the favorites a set-back.

Game On

It didn’t take long for this one to heat up. Six minutes in the Red Dragon goal keeper saw red and a penalty was awarded and saved. Cortland breathed a sigh of relief and attempted to play their way back into the game with 10 men. The Hawks would strike in minute 13 when freshman Spencer Ryczek assisted by senior Scott-Ludewig scored to give the home team the 1-0 lead. New Paltz ended the half with the lead and more surprisingly held Cortland without a shot on frame.

The second half would be even more entertaining than the first. Cortland equalized with a penalty of their own in the 52nd minute and it was game on.

New Paltz responded with four unanswered goals and a dominant performance to put the game out of reach.

A 5-1 win for the home team was the strongest message sent so far from a team on the rise. A team that no one will want to face in an elimination match.

Take Away

New Paltz are for real. They are a fun group who enjoy being around each other and led by a young and exciting coaching staff.

Cortland will not be hitting the panic button just yet. They will be there at the end but must address issues exposed by New Paltz before facing the November competition.

Around the Region

St. Lawrence (5-1-2 / 3-0-0) 0, Ithaca (6-0-3 / 0-0-2) 0 (2OT) - The Bombers are still undefeated but find themselves in trouble in league play.

Clarkson (7-2-1 / 1-1-1) 1, RIT (4-4-1 / 0-3-0) 0 - RIT faces upcoming must win games to repeat their successful 2017.

Skidmore (5-1-3 / 2-0-1) 2, RPI (3-6-1 / 1-1-0) 1 - These two teams will be there in the end, but results must turn around fast for the Engineers.

Alfred (3-9-0 / 2-1-0) 2, Elmira (1-9-0 / 0-3-0) 1 (2OT) - A very difficult non-league schedule beginning to pay dividends for Alfred.

Hobart (3-4-2 / 2-0-1) 3, Bard (3-7-1 / 0-3-0) 0 - Rough start to the season for the Statesmen, but they are sitting pretty in the league.

D’Youville (2-4-2 / 2-0-1) 2, La Roche (2-8-1 / 0-2-1) 2 (2OT) - Spartans remain undefeated in league play.

Brockport (9-2-0 / 4-0-0) 1, Buffalo State (6-3-2) 0 (1OT) - Can things get any tighter in this tough league?

Oneonta (3-1-0 / 6-3-2) 1, Oswego (3-5-1 / 0-3-0) 0 - Great win for the Red Dragons combined with Cortland’s set-back, this league is wide open.

Fredonia (4-6-1 / 1-3-0) 1, Geneseo (3-4-3 / 1-2-1) 0 - Great win for Fredonia. Geneseo must bounce back with Oneonta and New Paltz on deck.

Plattsburgh (4-4-2 / 2-1-0) 3, Potsdam (4-5-1 / 0-3-0) 1 - After a difficult start to the season, Coach Taylor is finding his sea legs at this traditional powerhouse.

Tufts (9-0-0 / 5-0-0) 1, Hamilton (5-4-0 / 3-3-0) 0 - Tough loss for Hamilton against a quality opponent.

Team of the Week

New Paltz State

Beware the Hawks


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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. 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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