This past week was one of mixed emotions for men’s soccer, as it was unable to close out a win against archrival RPI, but also notched its second conference win of the year over RIT.
All of the hype for the Dutchmen this week had been leading up to their midweek contest against archrival RPI. The Engineers entered the match with just a 2-5-3 record on the season, but have proven to be quite the kryptonite to Union in recent years, remaning unbeaten by Union since 2009.
Union entered the match looking to rebound after receiving just their second loss of the year at the hands of SUNY New Paltz. The match started off with little action, as it wasn’t until the 34th minute that Union was able to open the scoring.
The goal came from a cross off the foot of Jason Miller ’19 that found its way into the box towards Ethan Strauss ’18, who found the back of the net. The goal marked Strauss’ 3rd and Miller’s 1st assist of the year. It took RPI a while before evening the score in the second half when a ball played back to Union goalkeeper John Weitzman ’18 ended up falling through to an RPI attacker who was able to net the equalizer.
Shortly after, a scuffle in the box brought Union down to ten men, as Weitzman was dealt a red card in the 75th minute.
The teams would end up going to extra time, but the extra-man advantage didn’t amount to anything for RPI as both teams were unable to capitalize on their chances for the remainder of the match.
After the 1-1 draw to RPI, Union looked forward to getting back on the field to face yet another in-conference foe in RIT.
The Tigers entered the match around mid-table in the Liberty League, and a win over Union would have been a big momentum booster for them. However, the Dutchmen gave nothing to RIT in a 2-0 win over the Tigers.
Strauss scored his second goal in as many games in the first half to give the Dutchmen an early 1-0 lead.
The junior forward did not settle there, however, as immediately following the halftime break, he picked out Vincent Oliveto ’18 to double the lead on Oliveto’s 2nd goal of the year. The Dutchmen held serve from there and goalkeeper Jonathan Graziosi ’19 collected his 1st shutout of the year with 5 saves.
Union now sits at 8-2-1 on the year and is undefeated in conference play. The Dutchmen will face what might be their toughest test to date this Friday against #10 St. Lawrence University.
This week’s home game will be a chance for Union to maintain their status at the top of the Liberty League against a team that won the conference last year.