By Andrew Stinchfield
The Union College Men’s Soccer team opened up conference play with a 3-1 loss after Rochester Institute of Technology scored three unanswered goals to give the Dutchmen their first home loss of the season.
RIT dominated the contest right from the start, applying pressure on Sophomore goalkeeper Ryan Carter. However, Carter stood strong and Union was eventually able to generate some momentum of their own. On the team’s very first shot of the game, Senior forward Sebastiaan Jansen scored after receiving a pass from Junior midfielder Jake Soodek.
However, the Tigers took no time to respond when minutes later RIT’s Matt Broedel scored to tie the game at 1-1. RIT continued to dominate the possession battle and were able to poke away another goal to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead going into the half.
The Dutchmen attack was inconsistent the entire match, where the team would put together a few solid chances however none were translated into goals. RIT was able to score one more in the second half to give the Tigers a two-goal cushion and put the game out of reach.
Following the disappointing loss to RIT, Union responded with two huge statement wins. The Dutchmen visited Nazareth College and found themselves in a two-goal hole early on. However, the team was resilient and fought their way back into the game and forced it into overtime. Sophomore Will Poetzsch certainly will not forget his first collegiate goal, as it occurred in the 107th minute to give Union the win in a thrilling double overtime match.
Union did not become complacent and let the results of the overtime game distract them, where the team hosted SUNY Canton last Saturday and dominated every aspect of the game. The Dutchmen out shot Canton 16-8, and both Jansen and Soodek scored for Union to add to their already impressive seasons.
Jansen leads the Liberty League with 11 goals, earning him an average of 1.38 goals per game. Soodek and Nick Vozzella ‘14 are tied for third in the league with three assists each.
The remainder of the season will tell us whether or not the team will make the Liberty League playoffs. The Dutchmen have seven games remaining on the season, all of which are conference matches.
Right now, Union has a 0-1 record against Liberty League opponents and will need at least four or five wins if they want to compete for one of the four spots in the playoffs.
Union (7-2, 0-1) will hit the road to play Bard at 2 p.m. on Saturday.