After a win in early October against RIT, men’s soccer looked to capitalize on the opportunity of having five of its final six games being against Liberty League opponents. However, as the end of the regular season continued to draw closer, a shot at a postseason run began to seem more and more unlikely.
The downward trend began with a home loss against St. Lawrence, a team that entered the season as one of the top ranked teams in all of Division III. Although seemingly a blowout by the 4-1 final scoreline, Union hung with the Saints, trailing only by a 2-1 score until the 89th minute when two late goals were tacked on.
Although not a devastating loss at the time, the window began to close on a berth to both the Liberty League tournament and the DIII National tournament. In the following game, just a day later, Union fell victim to a late goal once more, as Clarkson was able to escape from College Park with a 1-0 win, and the pressure on the Dutchmen began to mount.
The short losing skid would end in the final home game of the year against Albany College of Pharmacy, where the team was able to get back on track.
With captain and leading scorer Andrew Fontaine ’17 out with an injury, the offense was left searching for new options to put the ball in the back of the net. With that, Christopher McGrath ’18 was able to answer the call, scoring twice late, one of which was a set piece goal assisted by Pedram Malakian ’19.
The game would end with a final score of 2-0, as goalkeeper John Weitzman ’18 collected his fifth shutout of the year in the win.
The final three games of the year were away, in-conference games, where Union had the chance to control its own destiny as the year closed.
The first of the three was at Hobart, a team that has been dominating the Liberty League all season long. Once again, after great competition through 90 minutes, it was a late goal that saw the Dutchmen go home with a defeat.
The Dutchmen now faced a situation in which they would have to win their final two games to clinch a spot in the Liberty League Tournament. After going down 1-0 to Vassar, things didn’t look good for Union.
But, the team caught a break on a free kick from Mead Binhammer ’17 that gave him his second goal of the year to even up the score. Yet, nonetheless, a late goal in the 80th minute from Vassar sent the Dutchmen home empty handed.
The match marked the sixth loss of the year for Union, each of which saw the opposing team score after the 80th minute.
The final match of the year was played this past Saturday at Skidmore, as the team showed a resilient effort to keep their heads up in a 3-2 win over the Thoroughbreds. It was a comeback win for Union that saw an opening goal from Andrew Fontaine ’17, as well as late goals from Vincent Oliveto ’18 and Kienan Smith ’18 to even up and later win the match for the Dutchmen.
The win boosted the team’s final record on the year up to 10-6-1 on the year, as well as 3-4-1 in conference.
Men’s soccer will lose eight seniors heading into next year. This includes captains David Olio III ’17 and Fontaine, as well as Binhammer, Samuel Eddy ’17, Mike Kaye ’17, Ryan Roth ’17, Jeremy Manus ’17 and Doug Rosa ’17.
All eight seniors started throughout the year and contributed to the success of the team.