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Men's soccer's title defense ends prematurely

by Panagiotis Argitis - Editor-in-Chief
Tue, Nov 5th 2019 09:00 pm
Senior Chris Kinsley strikes a ball downfield to a teammate. The Golden Eagles
fell 2-1 to the Bengals in their attempt at repeating as SUNYAC Tournament champions.
Senior Chris Kinsley strikes a ball downfield to a teammate. The Golden Eagles fell 2-1 to the Bengals in their attempt at repeating as SUNYAC Tournament champions.

On the back of a conference title and its best overall campaign in several years, The College at Brockport men’s soccer team exited the postseason during the first round of the SUNYAC Tournament with an overtime loss to Buffalo State University. As the team still had championship ambitions heading into the postseason, it’s fortunes leave it with only the next year to look forward to. 

While Brockport’s start to the 2019 season began with convincing results from non-conference matchups, in which the team went on to finish with a 5—3—1 record, it’s conference run told a different story. 

Brockport held one of the top scoring outputs of Division III soccer at the half point stage of the season. Defensively, the team also showed prowess, as it conceded a total of four goals during the first eight games of the year. Despite its overall solidity at the opening of the campaign, Brockport failed to repeat its form in the contests that mattered most, finishing with a 4—4—1 conference record prior to the start of the postseason, digging a hole that deemed to deep to get out of at the end. 

Ahead of its SUNYAC quarterfinal game against Buffalo State, Brockport claimed three consecutive conference victories, two of which came against league giant SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Geneseo. However, the team fell against Buffalo State during the regular season. 

Despite a loss of footing inside the opening half of the contest, where Brockport gave up the first goal of the game in the 10th minute, the rest of the game proved to be evenly matched across the board. Brockport entered the second half with a shot-on-goal advantage, which eventually paid off. The team managed to equalize the score with 20 minutes left in regulation thanks to senior forward Jeff Hibbard, who scored his seventh goal of the season. 

A stalemate at the close of regulation saw the contest extend into overtime, where Buffalo State quickly found the answer to the deadlock and progressed into the semifinals, eliminating Brockport’s chances of reclaiming the title in the process. 

The final result against Buffalo State ended Brockport’s hopes of further continuing its season. However, the team’s efforts toward pushing past the adversity faced earlier in the season may tell a bigger story. 

“After the first two or three weekends, nearly everyone counted us out,” captain and senior defender Chris Kinsley said. “When things were looking up we didn’t care because we knew we were capable of being a top conference team, but our records didn’t reflect that.” 

Brockport’s ambitions toward a championship season carried over from last year’s earnings, but never came into fruition. While the team fell short of lifting another trophy, its expectations still remain high. 

“Obviously our season ended shorter than we expected this year,” sophomore defender DJ Taylor said. “The juniors and seniors are going to play a big role next season in picking up where the team left this year off.” 

In a final recap of Brockport’s campaign, the team finished with an overall record of 9—8—2 and finished with a .500 record in its conference contests. Sophomore forward Matthiew Stefaniw finished the season as the team’s top scorer with a total of eight goals, while goalie Tautis Poniskaitis was on top of the save chart with 45 in total. 

As the prompt close of the 2019 season settles in with the program’s current athletes, Brockport will get to figure out a different game plan to come into the 2020 campaign better than ever. With a winning coach and hungry players, Brockport is set to continue its progression and build off what was already started by the current team. 

Photo of the Week

Taken by Vincent Croce:
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