October 10, 2018

Upstate Update - Week 6

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

RPI at Union

Saturday, October 6

It was a battle of two teams desperate for a win in this week’s upstate update.

RPI (4-7-1 / 2-2-0) has been among the elite in the Liberty League for many years led by the brilliant Adam Clinton for almost two decades. Missing last season’s league playoffs was an anomaly that would surely be corrected this season.

The Dutchmen (5-6-0 / 1-3-0) meanwhile entered the season with a young and talented roster seeking quality experience in a difficult league.

Both teams had it all to play for as the loser of this game might have a hard time recovering before the end of the season.

The Season Thus Far

RPI had a tough start to the season but were entering this game after a morale boosting victory over St. Lawrence who were previously undefeated in the league.

Union were winless in the league and were facing a must win game in early October.

Game On

The Dutchmen jumped out to a quick start as junior midfielder Yasin Dombayci headed in off a free kick to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. Union would take the slim advantage to half time in a back and forth game.

RPI fought back in the second half and produced a few quality chances of their own. The Union defense held strong until the 68th minute when Dillon Ashong produced the tying goal from a penalty kick for the Engineers.

The contest would remain tied for only four minutes when Union’s Harrison Wenzel restored Union’s one goal advantage with a header of his own.

Two headed goals by Union and a tight defense throughout was all it took for a hard fought three points. Union fans enjoyed a quality win over a top-class opponent in a game the home team dominated on the score sheet and the shot chart (10-6).

Take Away

Just when we thought we had the Liberty League figured out we get a result that keeps both teams in the mix. Up next for the Dutchmen is a very hot Vassar team followed by the highly ranked Bombers.

The Engineers are still in good shape and are 2-2-0 in league play, but on the horizon are a hungry RIT (4-5-1 / 0-3-0) followed by a rejuvenated Hobart (5-4-2 / 4-0-1) team.

Around the Region

St. Lawrence 3, Canton 0 - Canton derby is won by the Saints (7-2-2 / 2-1-1), but a very positive showing by an improving Canton (6-6-2 / 3-1-0) team.

Geneseo 4, St. John Fisher 0 - Strong showing by Geneseo (5-5-3 / 2-3-1) who will look to start a run with the toughest games of the season now behind them.

Vassar 1, Skidmore 0 (2OT) - The Brewers (8-2-0 / 4-0-0) are perfect in league play but face a difficult trip up North to face Clarkson (7-3-1 / 1-2-1) and St. Lawrence.

Ithaca 2, Bard 0 - Bombers (8-1-3 / 1-1-2) gain their first league win of the season and will look to maintain strong form against Skidmore (6-2-3 / 2-1-1) on the weekend.

Cortland 2, Plattsburgh 0 - Very good win by the Red Dragons (10-1-2 / 4-1-0) as they put the New Paltz debacle behind them.

Geneseo 2, New Paltz 1 (OT) - New Paltz (8-4-1 / 3-2-1) is unable to build on last week’s victory over the Red Dragons but is still in decent shape.

Hobart 1, Clarkson 0 - Don’t tell anyone, but the Statesmen are riding a 14-game league unbeaten streak.

Oneonta 2, Brockport 2 (2OT) - Two teams who enjoyed amazing success in 2017 are fighting hard to do the same this season.

St. Lawrence 2, RIT 0 - RIT in must win mode from here on out.

Ithaca 3, Alfred 1 - Ithaca having a strong season while Alfred (4-10-0 / 3-1-0) continues to show courage in their non-conference schedule.

Buffalo State 4, Fredonia 0 - Good win for Buffalo (7-3-2 / 2-2-1) with Cortland on the horizon

Franklin and Marshall 1, Stevens 0 - Rare loss for the Ducks (11-2-1 / 4-0-0) against a quality opposition.

Team of the Week


Statesmen’s Liberty League streak.


Comments or feedback for the author? E-mail us.

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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