Upstate Update - Week 8
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
RIT at Ithaca
Wednesday, October 24
The post season is right around the corner and Liberty League teams continue to battle for the chance to play a second season and earn a high seed.
In 2017 the league decided to add two additional teams moving to a six team playoff setup.
Traditional power Ithaca failed to make the league tournament in its inaugural season in the Liberty League and were determined to remedy this anomaly in 2018.
RIT closed last season on a tear with an appearance in the conference semifinals after a difficult start. The Tigers seemingly replicated that performance this year with three consecutive league wins after four losses.
The Season Thus Far
RIT’s season can be broken down in three parts; a strong start, a few losses in the middle of the season followed by three league wins entering the game where they outscored the opposition by a 9-2 margin.
Ithaca have been ranked in the Top 25 for large parts of the season with only two losses on the year. A win for the Bombers would guarantee their first Liberty League playoff berth.
The first half was a cagy affair with both teams playing solid defense and keeping good shape. Ithaca had the better of play early as the Tiger goal keeper Will Sokol was forced to show off his cat like reflexes in keeping out a Nate Mansfield header in the 22nd minute. Despite a slight edge in possession for the Bombers, both teams entered the half with the game scoreless.
Just one minute into the second half the break through seemed to come for Ithaca as they were awarded a penalty kick after a foul in the box. Tiger goalie Sokol once again came up big with a save that kept his team’s playoff hopes alive.
The Bombers would continue to press for a winner that finally came in the 62nd minute off the head of Jonathan Kyriakidis who finally beat the impressive Sokol in the Tiger net.
Kyriakidis’ team leading fourth goal of the season proved to be the game winner and the goal that takes the Bombers to the post season.
Ithaca (10-2-3 / 3-2-2) is a playoff team. With only two losses on the year this team might have impressed the committee enough to dance but will want to continue winning ways in order to control its own destiny.
RIT (7-5-1 /3-3-0) is still alive but must hope that the stars and the soccer stars at Bard line up correctly.
Around the Region
New Paltz 2, Oneonta 1 - New Paltz (11-5-1 / 6-2-1) are the first SUNYAC team to defeat both Oneonta (9-4-4 / 5-2-2) and Cortland (15-1-2 / 8-1-0). People are paying attention. Game Winner vs. Oneonta
Vassar 2, Hobart 0 - Brewers (9-4-0 / 5-2-0) can get a bye and host the semi-final or travel to a first round game.
Cortland 6, Hartwick 0 - Cortland getting very hot as the weather turns cold.
Geneseo 4, Morrisville 0 - Strong win to close the season for Geneseo (7-7-4 / 2-5-2-) as they plan for 2019.
Rochester 2, Endicott 0 - The boys from Rochester (11-1-1 / 2-1-1) must get their yellow jackets ready to wear to the dance.
Clarkson 3, Potsdam 0 - Difficult season for the Bears (4-11-2 / 0-8-1) but will look to turn things around and once again compete in a difficult league.
Williams 1, Hamilton 0 - Hamilton (8-6-1 / 4-5-1) drops a heart breaker to a traditional powerhouse.
Team of the Week
All hail the King Slayers.
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