Lakers clinch SUNYAC playoff appearance in loss to Oneonta

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The Oswego State men’s soccer team clinched a playoff berth in the SUNYAC despite falling to SUNY Oneonta on Saturday, Oct. 24 by a score of 2-0.

The Lakers could not find a way to get the ball in the back of the net, adding another zero in the goals scored column for the season’s stat book.

Each team had opportunities in the first half, which ultimately ended in a 0-0 tie. With seven minutes gone by in the game, Oswego State senior Jim Mertz launched the game’s first shot on goal, but came up short as Oneonta’s goalkeeper, Jonathan Korn, made one of his four saves on the day.

Oswego State goalkeeper Matt Wopperer made two key saves in the first half to preserve the tie game going into the half. The play was even throughout the first half, with each team accumulating two shots on goal.

The ball was difficult to control for both sides because of the surface of Laker Field. The rain from the previous day made the field uneven in spots. The Lakers and the Red Dragons were visibly unhappy with the way the field was impacting the game. The high speed of the game caused numerous slips and tumbles over the course of the action.

Senior midfielder and co-captain Chris Carra was one of the players not too thrilled about the surface of Laker Field.

"They should nuke this field," Carra said.

With just under four minutes to play in the first half, Carra got behind the Red Dragon defense after a long pass down field. But Korn made a great play on the ball before Carra could track it down, thwarting the Lakers’ best chance of scoring in the half.

At the half, the Oswego State coaches were pleased with the way their team performed.

"We hung with them in the first half and we wanted to come out the same way in the second half," assistant coach Darren Wynne said.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, Oneonta dominated the second half of play. The Red Dragons netted two goals early in the half once play resumed. Sophomore Evan Jedynak scored both the goals in the game, which were his team-leading 11th and 12th goals for the season. Jedynak’s first goal was scored eight minutes into the half after a great play by sophomore Jonathan Kowalski as he maneuvered around the Laker defense before finding a crossing Jedynak, who sent the ball past Wopperer. Jedynak added his second goal 10 minutes later, which proved to be more than enough to fend off the Lakers.

The Red Dragons are known for their great ball control.

"They’re one of the better technical teams in the conference," Wynne said.

"They control the ball really well, and pass well," Carra added. This proved to be the recipe of victory for Oneonta.

The Lakers had opportunities to get on the board over the course of the game but could not find a way to capitalize.

"We couldn’t get the ball off the foot," Wynne said.

This loss stings for the Lakers, but the satisfaction of making the SUNYAC playoffs is certainly gratifying.

"Our goal was to make the playoffs since day one, and we accomplished that," Friske added.

The match against the Red Dragons was the Lakers’ final regular season home game, which was also their Senior Day. The Lakers honored the team’s six seniors before the game with a short ceremony. Nick Liberati, Jim Mertz, Felipe Cavalcanti, Greg Blette, Dave Baldanza and Christopher Carra were all recognized.

The Lakers are looking forward to participating in the SUNYAC playoffs next weekend, where they will be seeded sixth in the field of play.