The men’s soccer team suffered a tough 2-1 overtime loss to SUNYAC rival Buffalo State on Friday Sept. 23. It left the team at 3-3-1, but the very next day they went out and had a resounding win over SUNY Fredonia, winning 6-1. Head coach Dominic Oliveri has faith in the men and believes that they will be successful throughout the remainder of the season. “We have played a difficult schedule and got some decent results. When we can dictate play, we can play some quality soccer,” Oliveri said.
When they play as Oliveri said, the team can do serious damage, as seen in their convincing 5-0 win over Rosemont College and their win over Fredonia. Regardless, the team has a very tough schedule so far, and the 2-1 overtime loss to Buffalo was extremely difficult.
“I was a little worried about how we would respond after a very emotional loss to Buff[alo] State the day before,” Oliveri said. He made some changes to the lineup, however, for the match against Fredonia, and from the looks of the result, it clicked.
“We played really well against Fredonia. The first half against them was our best half of soccer as far as execution goes all year,” he said.
Oliveri explained that the injured players are what have had a negative impact on the team. “We will not use that as an excuse, though. We still need to execute and make proper decisions with the ball,” he said.
Sadly, injuries are synonymous with sports, but that doesn’t make it easier. Over the weekend, the team lost senior midfielder Alex Clar for the season. Through six games, Clar was a crucial part of this team, contributing one goal and three assists.
Oliveri pointed to production from his seniors as a big part of the team’s success. The team’s top three leaders in points are all seniors: Ethan Gunty with 14, Matt D’Amico with 9 and Clar with 5. “Gunty and D’Amico are our leaders right now from a production standpoint, but more importantly from an emotional standpoint,” Oliveri said. This is something they will need now more than ever after losing Clar for the season.
It isn’t just the upper classman that Oliveri is impressed with, though. It is the freshman players, as well. “We landed a really strong freshman class in 2016, one of our best groups in years … each and every day I see continued improvement,” Oliveri said. He also discussed how he was impressed with how they have adapted, as the speed of play and physicality are the biggest differences between high school and college level soccer.
After the resounding win over Fredonia, Oliveri said that it had a positive impact on the team. “We must come out motivated—that is the key. There should be no excuse, especially in conference play,” he said.
This will be something that the team must do as they play rival SUNY Oneonta on Friday Sept. 30. The game will be one of the team’s biggest challenges this year, as Oneonta has won the conference championship the last two years.