The men's soccer team began its season on a positive note, coming out of the first three games with a 1-1-1 record.
The Knights kicked off the year with a matchup against Ithaca College last Wednesday that resulted in a 1-1 tie. Over the weekend, the men traveled to Maryland where they lost a 2-1 match to Salisbury University on Saturday. On Sunday the team came back and defeated St. Mary's College of Maryland 2-0.
Wednesday's match at Ithaca appeared to be a lock as junior Ian Mort scored in the 26th minute. The Bombers, however, came back later and tied up the game. With the help of senior Mike Madarasz and his big saves in goal, there was no scoring in overtime.
Some Knights said they left the match frustrated. "I was a little disappointed with the result," Mort said. "I would have liked the win over a tie."
Senior Ben Ariola agreed. "We played pretty well, but not up to our standards," he said. "The team was a little timid since it was our first game."
The Knights knew they were up against strong competition for their Saturday match against No. 10 ranked Salisbury. Ariola said that the team felt "intimidated" during the first half, allowing two goals in the 33rd and 48th minutes. He noted, however, that the team "really rallied" during the second half. Ariola's throw-in assisted Mort's second goal of the season in the 50th minute.
Aided by junior Sam Murphy's six saves, the Knights kept their opponents from scoring in the second half. Mort said this game was "the best soccer we've played so far this season" and Ariola said he believed that even though the team came out with a loss, "it proved that we can play against anyone."
The team took that confidence and used it to garner a first win against St. Mary's on Sunday. Junior Matt Solimano and freshman Craig Schackner contributed one goal apiece in the first half. The Knights dominated possession of the ball during the match and, with help from Murphy in goal, attained their first shutout of the season. Mort noted that the game "could have been 5-0," but recognized that the team "took care of business to get our first win."
With the loss of talent from last year's seniors, Ariola claimed that the team may feel "overlooked" now, but will certainly "surprise people" with the skill from the team's core and newcomers alike.
Both Ariola and Mort said that they look forward to playing rival SUNY Plattsburgh and hope to bring the SUNYAC title home for the Knights. "The chemistry and camaraderie of this team will hold us together and help us persevere," Ariola said.
The Knights look to improve on their encouraging start this Friday, Sept. 10 and Saturday, Sept. 11 against Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University, respectively.