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Men's soccer out to impact the SUNYAC

by Panagiotis Argitis
Tue, Sep 4th 2018 11:00 pm
Head coach, Gary LaPietra, addresses his players during a late night scrimmage against the Rochester Lancers, a team affiliated with the National Premier Soccer League. Brockport played the independent squad for experience before the regular season.
Head coach, Gary LaPietra, addresses his players during a late night scrimmage against the Rochester Lancers, a team affiliated with the National Premier Soccer League. Brockport played the independent squad for experience before the regular season.

After failing to progress through the first round of the 2017 SUNYAC tournament, the College at Brockport men’s soccer team is eyeing down post-season play. The possibility of touching silverware at the end of the year will be solely up to the hard work and dedication the players contribute to their team. 

The run of form from the past two seasons hasn’t been optimal, but it’s been improving. The 2016 season saw Brockport finish outside the top teams, coming up short on a playoff spot in the SUNYAC and settling for a poor record of 3 — 10 — 2. The following year, the team turned it all around and improved to a 10 — 6 — 3 record, while clinching a spot for the SUNYACs. 

Despite being eliminated in the first round of the competition in a 2-1 defeat by Plattsburgh, Brockport had shown signs of gradual development, and junior goalie, Joey Romano sees more of it to come. 

“We have a great group of freshmen that joined the team this season, and we are looking stronger already,” Romano said. “We are buying in to the program and cannot wait for playoffs to come around.” 

 The kick off to the 2018 season saw Brockport travel to Rochester for a non-conference match against Nazareth College, where the team came away with a 1-0 victory following an early strike from freshman prospect, Ayub Jeylani. 

Brockport held on for the rest of the game and despite being faced with late pressure from the opposition, new addition Tautis Poniskaitis, registered his first shutout and helped put the game to bed. 

The opening stage of the new campaign was the first test for the whole group, and junior forward, Michael Duren, was impressed with the show. 

“We definitely moved the ball a lot better than we did last year,” Duren said. “We were confident from the first minute and held our mentality for the full 90.”

The second game of the season was also a non-conference match, but this time the Golden Eagles did not come out on top. The game was played on Tiger turf, on Sunday, Sept. 2, at Rochester Institute of Technology. Brockport struck first in the opening half as Jason Hayes notched his first goal of the season, assisted by Jeff Hibbard. The lead was contained the rest of the half until R.I.T. scored 12 minutes preceding into the second one. The score would be 1-1 after 90 minutes of back and forth soccer, but the Tigers eventually captured the win, just under ten minutes into overtime. 

Regardless of the loss to the Tigers, Brockport is set to commit to its goals. The biggest one? Making an impact in the SUNYACS. 

“We missed out in overtime, but that is behind us” Romano said. “We have to capitalize once we hit the up and coming playoff rounds.” 

When asked where the team needed to build in order to make a push for a successful post season, Romano said, “We just need to take our chances. Once we make that pass in the final third we gotta finish the play off.” 

Apart from the challenge of making this year a season to remember, Brockport is missing last year’s seniors, five of the team’s best performing talents. Nevertheless, an experienced junior class and added flair from a promising freshman group should make up for the lost firepower. 

Brockport will look to come back from the RIT defeat during the team’s next match up at Alfred University, Thursday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m.

 

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