Upstate Update - Week 1
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
Rochester at Cortland
Saturday, August 30
It is the end of August, and two teams with hopes of playing in December kicks off our Upstate season.
Nationally ranked Cortland are now at a stage rare in college sports. They expect to win every game they play.
Luckily for the rest of us, the Yellow Jackets are also a team that expects to win and dominate the competition.
The Season Thus Far
This game will represent the first game of 2019 for both squads. Rochester is a team that is competitive year in and year out, after last season’s high they understand that the only step left to take is climbing the mountain and winning that first championship.
Cortland has been balling at a major level for close to a decade and are now considered, along with the other Red Dragon, to be the elite team in the extremely competitive SUNYAC conference.
The game was very competitive from the opening whistle with both teams fighting hard for what they know would be a big early-season scalp.
Despite the back and forth action at both ends of the field, the deadlock was not broken until the 41st minute when senior captain Nevin Nambiar opened the scoring for the home team. Cortland took a slim 1-0 lead into the half.
Rochester began the second half determined to equalize, which they did courtesy of first-year striker James Barata in the 63rd minute. The freshman announced himself to the college stage by drilling a 25 yard scorcher into the upper corner.
Rochester would retake the lead just three minutes later and looked to secure the win until with only six minutes remaining in regulation Nate Leopold had a senior moment himself and scored a 40-yard free kick to even the score. A game that had great goals and physical play cemented itself as an instant classic when with seven seconds remaining in overtime Anthony Ruggiero headed home the winner from a corner kick.
Both these teams will be there at the end. Cortland continues its winning ways and earns a big result against a very quality opponent.
A 25-yard rocket from a freshman and a 40-yard bomb from a senior should have Apple’s men feeling confident and well balanced as they look for even more success in 2019.
Around the Region
Clarkson 2, Otterbein 1 - Based on early-season returns, Clarkson will be a big problem this year for Liberty League foes.
Skidmore 4, Lasell 1 - Skidmore with two wins and eight goals from two games. Not a bad start.
Oneonta 2, Rutgers 1 - So far, so good for the Red Dragons.
RPI 2, Elizabethtown 1 (2OT) - Strong start for RPI as they look to keep pace in a very tough league.
Stevens 3, Old Westbury 2 - If it walks like a Duck, it probably won its soccer game. Next up a big battle with Vassar.
Vassar 1, Western Connecticut State 0 (1OT) - The Brewers are yet another undefeated team in the Liberty League.
RIT 3, Brockport 2 - Tigers show their stripes in a quality win.
Chatham 3, Alfred 0 - Alfred is gearing up for the league season by playing stiff competition.
D’Youville 3, Bethany 0 - Great start by the Spartans.
Team of the Week
Coach Murphy has his Spartans believing this could be a special season.
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