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Men's soccer nets two victories to close out season

by Panagiotis Argitis
Tue, Oct 24th 2017 10:00 pm
Senior midfielder and team captain Justin Mercer (above) takes on a Plattsburgh forward on his way up the pitch. After a flop last season, the men's soccer team showed no mercy this time around. With an impressive record of 10 — 4 — 3, the Golden Eagles confidently head into this year's SUNYAC Tournament.
Senior midfielder and team captain Justin Mercer (above) takes on a Plattsburgh forward on his way up the pitch. After a flop last season, the men's soccer team showed no mercy this time around. With an impressive record of 10 — 4 — 3, the Golden Eagles confidently head into this year's SUNYAC Tournament.

Doubts over the future of The College at Brockport men’s soccer team emerged following its poor season last year. Coming away with only three wins and scoring just 16 goals across all competitions played, the Golden Eagles failed to make the slightest push for SUNYAC play. 

With their last season well behind them, the Golden Eagles have improved in all aspects of their game, becoming one of the best teams in the conference and claiming a spot in the SUNYAC Tournament in the process. 

After a great run of victories and hard work, the Golden Eagles have officially secured a place in this year’s SUNYAC Tournament. Currently sitting at the number four spot out of the possible six teams to advance into the tournament, the team has made excellent progress onto SUNYAC success; a principle that was absent last season. 

The road to the SUNYACs was filled with obstacles. From getting over the hump of last season’s disappointing results to finding a balance between experience and efficiency on the pitch, this season’s campaign has been an uphill battle full of triumph and learning. Thanks to Head Coach Gary LaPietra and Assistant Coach Darren Wynne, the team has established a winning chemistry of shot efficiency, defensive organization and goal prolificness which has played a major part in this season’s success. 

This year’s turnaround has been evident through the entirety of the 2017 season and it continued this past weekend. The Golden Eagles concluded their playoff schedule with two dominant wins over SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY Potsdam, improving their overall record to 10 — 4 — 3. 

Committed to making the most out of their opportunity to claim a spot in this year’s SUNYAC Tournament, the Golden Eagles went into this weekend’s match-ups knowing they had to come away with two victories in order to secure a place in the contention for the tournament. 

On Friday, Oct. 20, the team beat the Plattsburgh Cardinals 2–0 at home. Both teams struggled to make an impact in the first 15 minutes as the game was fought out in the midfield of the pitch. After a couple of chances for the Green and Gold, Brockport opened the scoring in the 20th minute of play as senior defender Chris Aherne continued his tremendous campaign by scoring his seventh goal of the season. Aherne, the center-back with an eye for a goal, leads the entire team in scoring, a rarity for a defender. The Golden Eagles continued to dominate the game, heading into halftime with a 2–0 lead after junior midfielder Russell Hines managed to find the back of the net for the second time this season. In the second-half, Brockport displayed its defensive solidity as it easily held onto the ninth win of the season. 

Following a dominant showing over Plattsburgh, the Golden Eagles wrapped up SUNYAC play by smashing the Potsdam Bears 7–1 during the senior game on Saturday, Oct. 21. 

After falling behind early in the game, Brockport showed no mercy against the Potsdam defense by scoring four goals in the first half. Sophomore midfielder and man of the match Cameron Beale scored his first career brace and provided an assist within the span of 20 minutes, helping the Golden Eagles progress into half-time comfortably. The second half action opened with a free-kick from senior midfielder captain Justin Mercer, who completed a brace and grew the Brockport lead even further. The remainder of the game saw Brockport score an additional two goals, concluding the team’s SUNYAC play with a thrilling victory. 

As the Golden Eagles progress into tournament games in the coming weeks, there are many game elements that will impact their ability to come away with good results. 

“Looking forward to the SUNYAC Tournament, we have home field advantage which is huge because having a big fan crowd showing up is very important,” sophomore goalie Joey Romano said. “With the factor of elimination from a loss, game environment plays a huge role in tournament games and I believe having home field advantage will be a huge reason for our success as a team.” 

Although The College at Brockport men’s soccer team has been one of the strongest sides in this league’s competition, the ability to hold onto important wins has been its only weakness. Having conceded a concerning amount of game-deciding goals in the closing minutes of halves, Brockport will have to focus on defending last-ditch efforts from opposition in order to prevent the risk of being eliminated in the SUNYAC Tournament. 

“Our defensive line and its effort to win us games has obviously been nothing short of exceptional,” sophomore midfielder Cameron Beale said. “We have to be able to play 100 percent for 90 minutes, without dropping off for a single second; that is going to be what decides a victory from a loss.”

The Golden Eagles are scheduled to come up against one of the six teams that qualified for the SUNYAC Tournament after a non-conference game against the University of Rochester on Monday, Oct. 23, at home. Looking forward, the Golden Eagles will need to carry their dominant momentum to the playing stages of the tournament in order to bring the SUNYAC trophy back to Brockport.

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