Upstate Update - Week 5 & 1/2
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
Hobart at Ithaca
Wednesday, October 2
This week we are treated to a heavyweight match between the two hottest teams in the Liberty League.
Hobart’s season came to a disappointing end in the league semi-finals last year. This season began with an impressive win against powerhouse Messiah, and the team has been playing some very good soccer as they entered the game with an 8-2 record.
Despite losing in the league finals last season, Ithaca felt they were an NCAA team. Many around the region agreed as they had an excellent record, a young team, and a quality shot-stopper in net. The Bombers failed to get a tournament invite in 2018 and have been taking out their frustration on opponents this season.
The winner of this game will be in a strong position to win the league title.
The Season Thus Far
Ithaca have been bombing opponents all year. They have been very stingy on defense thanks to impressive senior goalkeeper Max Lichtenstein.
The Statesmen have not been very diplomatic to their adversaries and entered the game undefeated in league play.
Ithaca almost had a breakthrough in the 2nd minute of play, but Hobart were the aggressors early on and took the game to their opponents in the first half. After dealing with the early pressure, Ithaca settled themselves and began to put some nice passes together in midfield. Ithaca goalie Max Lichtenstein made some fantastic saves and kept the game goalless heading into the half.
The second half began much as the first with Hobart applying good pressure forcing Lichtenstein into a brilliant save in the 50th minute.
The game was decided in the 63rd minute when Bomber Thomas Pierce struck a piercing free kick from 20 yards out to give the home team a one-goal advantage.
The goal seemed to energize the away team, as the Statesmen began hunting in packs and pressing high in order to get the equalizing goal. The Ithaca defense were up to the task, however, and despite being outshot 8-14 were able to hang on for the win.
These teams might face each other once more. Despite being an early October game, this contest was played in a playoff atmosphere and with extreme physicality with six yellow cards split evenly between the teams.
The Bombers look to be in a very good position for a possible at-large bid, but after last season will want their destiny to be self- determined.
Around the Region
Clarkson 1, Skidmore 0 - Skidmore must bounce back quickly after a difficult start to the league campaign.
RPI 4, Bard 1 - Engineers riding an eight-game win streak.
Oneonta 1, New Paltz 0 - The Red Dragons keep on winning.
RPI 3, St. Lawrence 1 - Clinton’s men travel to St. Lawrence and gain a dominant win.
Alfred 2, Westminster (Pa.) 1 (OT) - Big win for Alfred.
Vassar 1, Union 0 - Brewers doing very well in league play.
New York University 2, Stevens 1 (2OT) - Tough loss for the Ducks, but there is still time to recover.
Rochester 3, Alvernia 2 - The Yellow Jackets having yet another great season.
Hobart 3, Skidmore 0 - Hobart fighting for home field advantage in the league playoffs.
D’Youville 2, La Roche 0 - Spartans in the middle of a historic season.
Team of the Week
The Bombers are hot.
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