Men’s soccer posts scoreless tie against Geneseo

After an intense 110 minutes, the scoreboard for the Oswego State men’s soccer team displayed an all-too-familiar zero, but SUNY Geneseo’s read the same.

The Lakers fought to a 0-0 tie against their conference opponent on Saturday at Laker Field in their second double overtime game in as many days. The game was junior goalie Matt Wopperer’s first shutout of the season.

The game was physical right from the start. Senior captain Chris Carra took a stiff elbow 30 seconds in to the game from Geneseo’s Jason Tartick, who was issued a yellow card.

"(It caught me) right in the cheekbone," Carra said. "It felt like it rattled my teeth."

Elbows flew and whistles blew throughout the first half, in which 13 fouls were called, 11 of which were on Geneseo. Scoring chances were few and far between for each team.

Geneseo had a solid chance 12 minutes into the game when senior Kurt Jameson received a corner kick inside the six-yard box. He blasted a shot, but Wopperer was up to the challenge, vaulting his body in front of the ball to make the save.

"He’s a great keeper every year," assistant coach Darren Wynne said. "He came up huge today with some fantastic saves."

Geneseo continued to get the better scoring chances as Oswego State’s kicks continually fell short because of a brisk Oswego wind. Also, many players were struggling to maintain their footing. Carra, however, says cleat choice can go a long way in staying on your feet.

"You’re obviously going to wear soft grounds on this (Laker Field)," Carra said. "I didn’t slip at all."

Wopperer blocked away one more golden opportunity before the half. He made a spectacular diving stop on a breakaway chance by Geneseo’s Will Slevin with five minutes remaining in the half.

The second half got even more physical as players were colliding left and right. About eight minutes in to the half, Matt Solimano of Geneseo ran through Oswego State’s Felipe Cavalcanti. The collision sent Cavalcanti to the ground in noticeable pain and Solimano out of the game with a red card for roughing. Solimano had received a yellow card in the first half for his rough play, but as the game wore on the referees began to call more penalties to restore order.

"I think that’s the way that they play," Carra said. "They play as hard as they can; every single ball is a 50-50."

The red card put the Lakers a man up so it was assumed that they would take control of possession, but Geneseo was resilient. The Knights scrapped for the ball every chance they had and kept the Lakers from threatening. Oswego State had no shots on goal in the second half.

"Traditionally they’re a man-to-man team," head coach Robert Friske said. "We knew to identify that coming in and try to play around it."

Oswego State lost its man advantage when tensions grew overwhelming late in the second half. Freshman Marshall Cooper, angry at a Geneseo player for his hands-on defense, turned around swinging and caught him in the jaw with a big swing. Cooper was given a red card and sent to the bench for the remainder of the game.

This also sent the Geneseo players into an uproar as they came screaming at the Oswego State coaches to control their players.

"People make mistakes," Wynne said. "At the end of the day we want to teach (the players) not to be dirty."

After the situation cooled down, play resumed, but neither team was able to score. The teams were to play two 10-minute overtimes in a sudden-death format. The Lakers had been to overtime in five of their last seven games, so they were not new to the situation.

With one minute remaining in the second overtime junior midfielder German Collazo played a free kick into the box. The goalie misplayed it and there was a struggle in front of the net, but the Lakers weren’t able to capitalize. The game ended in a 0-0 tie. Including the two overtimes, 37 fouls were tallied between the two teams as opposed to only 12 shots on goal.

"They play a physical game," Wynne said. "We’re actually happy that we got a point out of (the game)."

The teams competed in a shootout after the game that could help with playoff seeding for the SUNYAC Championships. Geneseo won 3-1 as junior goalie Mike Madarasz had two impressive diving saves.

The tie moved the Lakers to 4-8-1 overall and 3-3-1 in the SUNYAC. Geneseo moved to 7-4-2 overall and 4-2-1 in the conference. The Lakers must perform well in this weekend’s games if they hope to make the playoffs. They host SUNY New Paltz at 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23.