Upstate Update - Week 6
By D3soccer.com Contributor
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
Utica at Stevens
The Empire 8 has experienced an uneven start to the 2014 season, with only Stevens and Alfred boasting winning records overall. Winning from here on out is a must or teams’ season will end in just three weeks. Playing with this realization, both Stevens and Utica have fought to a perfect 2-0-0 record in conference play.
The season thus far
Utica started the season on a positive note with two wins and two shutouts in the opening weekend. Things have been rocky since then, but back-to-back conference wins against Houghton and Elmira had Utica feeling confident against a regional powerhouse. Stevens meanwhile opened the season with back-to-back losses, giving up five goals in the process. The ship has steadied somewhat since then with strong wins over Nazareth and Ithaca, and an impressive 2-0 shutout against a quality Vassar side.
Against Utica, two goals inside of nine minutes by midfielders Chris Renna and Joe Cellitti secured a dominating 2-0 victory for the Ducks. Stevens held a comfortable 19-3 shot advantage on the day and are now in sole possession of first place in the Empire 8 with a 3-0-0 record.
Stevens, now 7-3-0, has reminded everyone of the quality they still possess and seem to be gelling at exactly the right time. One of the best teams in the nation last season, Stevens will not be on anyone’s wish list come November. And Utica (4-5-2) can remain optimistic knowing it still controls its own destiny in securing a spot in the conference playoffs. At 2-1 with their match against the conference’s best team behind them, games against Alfred and Ithaca now become crucial.
Around the Region
St. Lawrence 2, RPI 0 - The top two teams in the Liberty League squared off when No. 18 St. Lawrence (9-2-0/3-0-0) travelled to then-No. 24 RPI (7-2-2/2-1-0). The game remained a stalemate until the 54th minute when 6'-5" All-American junior back Harry Copeland jumped an additional two feet to guide home a cross from senior captain Mark Provost. Senior back Austin Roney would double the Saints' advantage in the 80th minute with a bomb from 25 yards out to complete the scoring.
Skidmore 2, Williams 1 - After an early goal from Williams (4-4-1), senior Adam Beek equalized and provided the winner for a Skidmore team (6-4-1) beginning to show signs of life. Beek continues the tradition of great Jamaican born strikers plying their trade in Division III soccer. Coach Russo, no stranger to Caribbean flair or Liberty League competition, will see this as one that got away. Skidmore, who disappointingly sits 0-2-0 in-conference, can take encouragement from this result that they can string together the results needed to secure a playoff spot.
Alfred 1, St. John Fisher 0 - As Empire 8 play heats up, Alfred (6-4-0/2-1-0) notches a good win. Up next is a Fredonia State squad that has been solid while flying under the radar.
Clarkson 1, Union 0 - Union (4-5-1), who in 2013 was extremely disappointed not to make the conference tournament, started conference play on the right foot with a 8-0 drubbing of Bard. But that has been followed up with a pair of losses. Losing at home to Clarkson (6-6-1) will make a tournament berth more difficult but not impossible in this evenly balanced league. A win against RPI next week, however, and all will be well. Clarkson, now 1-2 in conference play, will look to create more chaos as they face a desperate Skidmore in their next conference date.
Hobart 1, Bard 0 - This score line might tell us more about Hobart than Bard. Credit to Bard (5-6-0/0-2-0) for a gutsy performance in front of home fans. Despite the win, Hobart (6-3-1/1-1-0) remains in a must win situation for the remainder of the season.
Vassar 2, RIT 0 - At 3-0-0 in league competition, Vassar (8-3-1) has one foot firmly planted in the conference tournament. RIT (3-6-1/2-1-0) remains alive, but must fight Skidmore and Union for a chance to play in November.
Brockport State 4, New Paltz State 0 - A good conference win for Brockport State (6-1-4/2-1-1), but having too many draws may hurt this strong team come November.
Teams of the Week
Stevens and Cortland State