Men’s Soccer Hosting Lancaster Bible in NEAC Quarterfinals
October 31, 2011
The Keuka College men’s soccer team has just one win in its last four games, but don’t let the win-loss record fool you, the Storm is playing some of its best soccer of the 2011 season, according to junior goalie Derek Condon (Webster, NY/Webster Thomas) and sophomore midfielder Nate Schreiber (Hilton, NY/Hilton).
Heading into Tuesday afternoon’s 2 p.m. North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) quarterfinal clash with No. 5 seed Lancaster Bible College (9-9-2, 5-3-2 NEAC), the fourth-seeded Storm (8-4-3, 5-3-2) has played inspired soccer during its recent 1-1-2 stretch.
While the Storm hasn’t won since a 2-1 road win over Lancaster Bible College on Oct. 20, twice in the last four games the Storm has rallied from a late-game deficit to force a draw, earning hard-fought ties against Morrisville State (2-2 on Oct. 25) and NEAC regular-season champion SUNYIT (1-1 on Oct. 29).
Against the Mustangs, Keuka trailed 2-0 for much of the game, and was down 2-1 entering the 90th minute before Schreiber played a free kick into the box for junior Reis Cunningham (Red Creek, NY/Red Creek). With Keuka’s playoff hopes flickering, Cunningham sent a header high over Morrisville State goalie Shane Sullivan’s arms to tie the score with 1.5 seconds remaining. It was Cunningham’s first goal of the season, and capped a frantic Keuka rally from a 2-0 deficit. Cunningham also assisted on the Storm’s first goal, a bicycle kick from junior Nate Smith (Hilton, NY/Hilton) in the 66th minute that trimmed the deficit to 2-1.
Facing first place SUNYIT on Saturday, Cunningham and the rest of Keuka’s defense clamped down on a potent IT offense and limited the Wildcats to just one goal. Keuka, which trailed 1-0 at halftime, would use its stifling defense to hold the deficit at one goal before sophomore Frank Iacovangelo (Rochester, NY/Aquinas) broke through with the equalizer in the 76th minute.
Cunningham, Condon and the rest of the Storm’s defense made sure SUNYIT didn’t score down the stretch of regulation or the 20-minute overtime periods to clinch the fourth seed in the NEAC tournament.
Condon made a big save in the first overtime period to keep the game tied, and finished with nine saves as the Storm improved to 3-1-3 in its last seven games heading into Tuesday’s quarterfinal.
“We’re definitely a lot more confident than we were last week (at this time),” said Schreiber, who is third on the team with nine points (two goals, five assists).
“We didn’t expect to get a home game, it was a big surprise and we love playing in front of the home crowd. Not having to travel during the middle of the week is big for us, too. We’re definitely really confident about the game.”
Knowing the team can comeback from a late-game deficit has fueled the Storm’s confidence, said Schreiber. Against SUNYIT, in a game where Keuka needed at least a draw to ensure its playoff position, the Storm contained and shut down SUNYIT’s playmakers and limited the speedy Wildcats. Whenever a SUNYIT player had a scoring opportunity, Condon turned them all away.
The reigning three-time NEAC Defensive Student-Athlete of the Week, Condon has stopped 137 shots while allowing only 17 goals (a 1.13 goals-against average).
“We did what we had to do to make NEAC’s and we know it’s a new season now,” Condon said. “Everyone is at the same stage this time of year and there’s really no difference between the top seed and the fifth seed, everyone has the same skill set. It’s huge for us to be at home as we try to take Lancaster Bible College down. We’re mentally prepared for this game, it’s all about who is mentally prepared and who has the heart to tough it out and get the win. “
During Keuka’s only prior match against Lancaster Bible this fall, the Storm jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Iacovangelo’s second goal in his last three games. Freshman Austin Gerber (Rochester, NY/Churchville-Chili) served in a well-placed ball from 35 yards out towards the back post for Iacovangelo, who had snuck into the back of Lancaster’s defense.
Iacovangelo received the pass on the edge of the six-yard line and sent a header into the near portion of the goal for the lead in the 20th minute. Lancaster Bible responded with the tying goal in the 44th minute, knotting the score at 1-all when Sean Westerlund beat the Keuka defense and scored just 1:47 before halftime.
On the eventual game-winning goal, again Gerber and Iacovangelo were involved, but this time it was Iacovangelo setting up Gerber. On a quick-strike counter attack from 45 yards out, Iacovangelo served a ball into the box for Gerber, who had made a long diagonal run into the goal area. Iacovangelo’s pass drew Jarrod Bergey, Lancaster’s goalie, off his line and Gerber sent a header high over Bergey’s head for the eventual winning goal in the 70th minute.
Smith paces an efficient Keuka attack, having scored a team-most 20 points on a team-high eight goals and four assists. Junior John Mastrella (Rochester, NY/Greece Athena) has scored eight goals with an assist (17 points), followed by Schreiber (nine points), junior Ron Burd (Penn Yan, NY/Penn Yan), who has four goals for eight points, and Iacovangelo, who has seven points on three goals and an assist.
Taylor Dooley (10 G, 3A) and Westerlund (9G, 5A) are Lancaster’s leading scorers with 23 points, followed by Cory Greiser (6G, 3A, 15 points). In goal, Jarrod Bergey has started all 19 games and has allowed 38 goals with 90 saves (a .732 saves percentage) and a 1.80 goals-against average.
A win over Lancaster Bible would send the Storm to the NEAC semifinals, where top seed SUNYIT (7-0-3 NEAC) awaits in the semifinals, which will be played at 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning. No. 2 Cazenovia (6-1-3) and No. 3 Penn State-Harrisburg (5-3-1) will play in the other semifinal at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
The NEAC championship game will occur at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon, with the winner earning the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division III tournament.
“I definitely think we can win the (NEAC) tournament,” Schreiber said. “If we play our best soccer, there’s not a team out there that we can’t beat. … We’ve definitely exceeded expectations this year. We knew we had the opportunity to be good, but I didn’t think we’d be as successful as we have been. Once we had the early success (winning five of the first six games), the switch turned on and we knew we could succeed.”