Upstate Update - Week 9
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
Geneseo State at Buffalo State
Saturday, October 28
The playoffs are upon us. Fittingly, we will begin with a battle in the unforgiving SUNYAC conference.
Only good teams play soccer in November, and Buffalo State and Geneseo State were determined to prove they belong with the elite. And while the Empire 8 and Liberty League have both been exciting this season, the SUNYAC has produced three heavyweights with national ambitions.
One of those teams, third-ranked Buffalo State would have to avoid an upset before going up against the rested and talented Red Dragons from Oneonta State.
The Season Thus Far
Geneseo State has had an up and down season, as its 8-7-2 record entering the game would suggest. After losing earlier in the season to Buffalo State, the Knights grinded out a tough SUNYAC schedule and earned a postseason berth.
Unlike Geneseo State, Buffalo State has had an almost storybook season up to this point, and entered the game as one of the hottest teams in the region, compiling an impressive record of 14-1-3 highlighted by signature wins over Cortland State and Rochester.
Despite the last two months, both teams began the day 0-0-0 in playoff action.
“Forget what you heard, it’s what you hearing”.
The visitors came to play and advance, and were not content to simply be involved in the postseason. Geneseo State was aggressive throughout, and was rewarded for its persistence two minutes before halftime when Isaac Sanabria got in behind the Buffalo State defense and gave the Knights a one goal lead.
After the break, Buffalo State attempted to fight back with some solid play, but the day would belong to the visiting Knights, who would get an insurance goal in the 75th minute off an assist by Sanabria.
Geneseo were the more physical side, and saw their physicality pay off with a solid quarter final victory over a quality team.
Buffalo State will now wait. This is only the second loss of the season for the Bengals, who will hope they have done enough to impress the committee with their overall body of work.
Geneseo State is a dangerous team, and is now 1-0-0 in the season that counts. With just two more wins, the Knights would be able to punch a ticket to the dance.
The Knights enter the SUNYAC semi-final knowing they can defeat a quality team on the road.
Around the Region
RIT 2, Clarkson 1 - The Golden Knights of Clarkson were back in the postseason after a prolonged absence, but would have to face a team they have not beaten since 2010. The streak will now continue until at least 2018, after the Tigers come from behind victory at home. A relatively successful season for Clarkson comes to an end, as RIT, currently the hottest team in the Liberty League, moves on to face regular season champion Hobart.
Plattsburgh State 2, Brockport State 1 - In another SUNYAC quarter final, the Cardinals booked a ticket to the league semi-final following an impressive away win over the Golden Eagles. Brockport State fought back admirably after going down by two goals after 61 minutes, but could not muster the equalizing goal despite outshooting the visitors 11-7.
St. Lawrence 1, Skidmore 0 - The Saints are in the Liberty League semi-finals after a second 1-0 result over Skidmore. St. Lawrence scored through Brendan McNamee, who recorded his team high 7th goal of the season. Skidmore’s season ends after staging a miraculous comeback to earn a postseason berth. After being counted out by most, a determined Skidmore clawed and scraped their way into yet another Liberty League playoff spot, giving valuable experience to several young Thoroughbreds. The Saints, meanwhile, will move on to face Vassar for the chance to compete for the League crown.
Utica 4, Stevens 3 - In the final regular season game, a team without a win in the league defeats the team without a loss in league play with two goals in the final four minutes. Fireworks in the Empire 8 to end the year, but the road to the NCAA tournament will have to go through Stevens, who will face St. John Fisher in the League semi-finals.
Teams of the Week
RIT and Geneseo State
Two teams that no one wants to face right now.
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