Bears stun sluggish Lakers

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Coming off a shocking 2-1 overtime upset over SUNY Plattsburgh on Friday, Oct. 1, the Oswego State men’s soccer team found itself on the opposite side of a stunning result on Saturday, losing 2-0 to SUNY Potsdam.

Potsdam’s Chris Mack scored the eventual game-winning goal at the 38-minute mark of the first half. Mack headed home a pass from teammate Alex Minsker that got past Laker goalie Matt Wopperer. Wopperer (six saves) earned the start in net after his solid performance the previous game in relief of injured starter P.J. Goodwin.

Potsdam’s Brandon Calandra gave the Bears an insurance goal in the 81st minute to earn their first SUNYAC victory of the season. With the ball rolling toward the top of the box, Calandra blasted a low shot that beat Wopperer on his right side. The victory is just the Bears’ second of the season.

"It’s tough to go back-to-back in the SUNYAC," head coach Bob Friske said. "We looked unmotivated and banged up and we played that way."

The Lakers came out in the second half with more energy than the first half, where they were outshot 6-3. Oswego State registered nine shots in the second half but only three made their way to the Potsdam goalie, Joe Glackin. Glackin made four saves in the game.

Oswego State came up empty on all eight of their corner kick attempts and could not take advantage of two yellow cards that were given to Potsdam in the first half. However, the Lakers began to unravel mid way through the second half. The Oswego State coaching staff was given a yellow card for arguing with the referee during the 51st minute, setting off a series of yellow cards for the Lakers. Freshman defenseman Andrew McBride, and senior midfielders Tony Greene and Dean Gaetano were all given yellow cards in the second half.

"They (the referees) may have gotten into the heads of some of our younger players, but it’s something that we talk about almost every game," Friske said. "If it did happen then it was our mistake and not bad refereeing."

Players and coaches were both upset after the game, knowing that they let a golden opportunity slip away from them by not sweeping the weekend conference matches. The loss could be potentially crippling for their chances of qualifying for the conference playoffs. The Lakers still have tough matches left against SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Brockport, SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Oneonta on their schedule and will have to pull off a few upsets to put themselves in qualifying position.

"This loss has the potential to be very damaging, but it’s also early in the conference games so we have some time to write our own destiny," Friske said. "If we don’t follow this loss up with a few wins we won’t be in the SUNYAC playoffs."

The shutout was the fifth time this season the Lakers have failed to score a goal. Unlike the other games, assistant coach Darren Wynne told his players after the game that this was the worst game his team had ever played.

"We didn’t play," Wynne said. "We didn’t play well at all whatsoever."

The Lakers appeared to use all their energy the day before to defeat the Cardinals in overtime for the second consecutive year. Freshman midfielder Ryan Tibbetts’ first goal of the season was a crucial one, earning the Lakers a 2-1 win in extra time at Laker Field on Friday afternoon.

The Lakers got the scoring started in the eighth minute when a Bryan Pacchiana free kick cleared Plattsburgh goalie Andy Heighington, deflected off the crossbar and landed in front of the net where senior Jonathan Kuracina was waiting to poke in the rebound.

Oswego State tried to sustain the pressure on Plattsburgh, but the Cardinals responded with sharp, precise passes on the soggy field. An injury to Laker starting goalkeeper P.J. Goodwin forced Wopperer to enter the contest shortly after Oswego State’s goal. Wopperer was put to the test with about seven minutes left in the half and he stood strong, coming up with two big saves as Plattsburgh controlled the majority of possession for the rest of the first half. However, the Lakers retained the 1-0 lead at the intermission.

The second half provided more physical play from both teams as 20 combined penalties were committed in that half alone. Plattsburgh had a chance to knot up the score in the 56th minute, but a free kick by Mike Payne from just outside the box sailed just high.

Plattsburgh would not be denied any longer, as Bart Misiak was able to head in a Chris Taylor cross in the 78th minute to knot the game at one. The Lakers fought to earn more chances late, and nearly cashed in with about 11 minutes left. After two shots by Max Guliani were blocked, Tibbetts hammered a shot from the left side of the box that skimmed the crossbar and went out of play. Regulation ended with the teams deadlocked, sending the game into overtime.

Halfway through the period, Plattsburgh’s Pat Shaugnessy received a pass in front of a seemingly open net as Wopperer was forced to come out and cut off the angles. Wopperer correctly anticipated the pass and dove right to stop Shughnessy’s shot.

Mintues later Pacchiana calmly settled the ball following a Plattsburgh foul for a free kick and served it into the box. The Cardinal defense was caught off-guard and Tibbetts did not let this chance pass by. He navigated past two defenders and fired the ball into the back of the net for the 2-1 victory.

The Lakers finish up their home schedule with two SUNYAC matches this weekend. Oswego State plays Buffalo State on Friday, Oct. 8 and SUNY Fredonia on Saturday, Oct. 9.