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Women's soccer clinches playoff spot under hot form

by Carson Werner - Staff Writer
Tue, Oct 22nd 2019 09:00 pm
Sophomore Sydnee Smith jostles for position with a defender from SUNY New Paltz on Saturday, Oct. 19. Freshman Camryn Pettit and freshman Kayla Usborne look on. Brockport won the game 5-0. The Golden Eagles currently sit in second place in the SUNYAC with a record of 6—2—0 in conference play and a 10—5—1 overall record.
Sophomore Sydnee Smith jostles for position with a defender from SUNY New Paltz on Saturday, Oct. 19. Freshman Camryn Pettit and freshman Kayla Usborne look on. Brockport won the game 5-0. The Golden Eagles currently sit in second place in the SUNYAC with a record of 6—2—0 in conference play and a 10—5—1 overall record.

After taking back-to-back road victories against conference opposition on Friday, Oct. 11 and Saturday, Oct. 12, The College at Brockport women’s soccer team replicated its performance this past weekend on its home field. The Golden Eagles, who are currently second in the SUNYAC, were tasked with SUNY Oneonta on Friday, Oct. 18 and SUNY New Paltz on Saturday, Oct. 19. The two lower-seeded squads provided little resistance against the red-hot Golden Eagles, as Brockport snagged its fifth and sixth conference wins for the most its had since 2012. 

The first game against Oneonta did not have the start Brockport had anticipated. Despite registering 15 shots in the first half, neither team was able to find the back of the net. Brockport possessed the ball for the majority of the half and held the Red Dragons to just two shots on net. 

The scoreless tie was broken 12 minutes after halftime when freshman forward Camryn Pettit connected with freshman forward Kiley Longin to give Brockport the 1-0 lead. Pettit collected her second assist of the game on sophomore midfielder Sydnee Smith’s fifth goal of the season 23 minutes later. Freshman midfielder Franchesca Polcaro added Brockport’s final tally of the match in the 81st minute to erase any chance of an Oneonta comeback. Freshman goalkeeper Kayla Usborne made five saves to pick up her third shutout of the season. 

“Our freshmen are not only propelling our team, they are the top leaders in the conference,” senior forward Molly Zientek said. “The creativity and skill makes it easy for them to mesh in perfectly with the team.” 

The Golden Eagles and their freshman attack continued its success into Saturday’s midday contest by striking early against the 1—4—1 Hawks. Stemming from relentless offensive pressure, freshman forward Brylie Hapeman gave Brockport a lead it would not surrender seven minutes into the game. Identical to the game before, Pettit assisted on a Longin tally in the 20th minute to double the lead. Twelve minutes later, Pettit increased the lead to 3-0 before New Paltz even registered its third shot of the match to close out the half. 

A minute and a half into the second frame, Pettit and Longin connected for the third time in two days as Longin scored her conference-leading 11th goal of the year. Zientek scored Brockport’s fifth and final goal of the game with 13 minutes remaining in the match. Despite playing most of the game, Usborne combined with senior goaltender Kimberly Lubanski for the shutout. The two only had to make six saves in the contest. 

Over the 180 minutes of SUNYAC action, the defense only allowed 11 shots to reach its goaltenders while the offense was able to manage 26 shots on net. As both ends of the field work in unison, it allows the offense and defense to put more focus into its main responsibilities; to score and prevent goals. 

“As an outside forward, part of our job is to stay wide and become an outlet, especially when the outside backs get the ball,” Longin said. “By staying wide, we open up space and can bring opportunities for the defense to get up the field, and also for the center midfielders to get chances — or to find the forwards in dangerous situations. There’s also a constant communication with the outside backs and forwards to do what we think is best in a situation. We’ve started to create a good team chemistry overall on the field, which I think is really helping with our success as well.” 

Brockport’s two wins secured the team a spot in the 2019 SUNYAC tournament. However, before the start of postseason play, the Golden Eagles will have to tackle its toughest opposition yet in SUNY Geneseo, the top team in the conference. Geneseo, along with Cortland, are the only two teams in the conference that have not suffered a regulation loss. The Knights sit atop the conference standings with a record of 7—0—1, but Brockport owns the number two spot in overall points generated. 

The Golden Eagles have 16 assists on 22 goals against SUNYAC opponents this year, compared to the Knights’ 18 goals and 17 helpers. Both teams have also relied on defense to make it to this point. 

“Every game we play we learn things to prepare us to be a dangerous team in the conference,” Zientek said. “Playing Geneseo last gives us the best advantage to go in for a hard battle against them. The fact that we have been on a winning streak will help us tremendously next weekend. We are ready for a fight and this game has been something we have been looking forward to as a team.” 

The tilt with Geneseo is at home on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. 

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Taken by Vinny Croce:
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