Led by a band of freshmen, the Oswego State Lakers came away with the title at the 2nd Annual Oswego State Men’s Soccer Tournament on Sept. 2 and 3.
Pounding the opposing goaltenders, the Lakers scored seven goals in only two games. Freshman Brandon Comden led the team with a goal in each game, including the dramatic game winner against Alfred University in the championship game.
The Lakers came back from a one-goal deficit in the last ten minutes of the game to down Alfred 3-2. Andrew McBride netted the game-tying goal with only 7:32 left on the clock, and less than three minutes later Comden capitalized on a mistake by the Alfred goaltender. For the last 4:37 the Lakers held off a fierce counterattack, and were able to celebrate their first 2-0 start in ten seasons.
For Comden, the college soccer experience is almost surreal. “I don’t even know what to say right now…to even be here is amazing,” he said afterwards.
Comden was named tournament MVP, and has also been named the SUNYAC Men’s Soccer Player of the Week. Sophomore Mike Naab, who assisted on both McBride’s and Comden’s goals, was also named to the All-Tournament team.
The presence of the freshmen was felt early and often in the tournament, as they scored five of the seven goals and accounted for seven total points. Comden, a walk-on, ended with three points, while Andrew Bordash, Sam Moores, and Ryan Purdy all notched goals and Zack Saccocio added an assist.
While it is clear that the freshmen class has made an immediate impact on the team, Head coach Robert Friske does not see this as anything special.
“It’s not about seniority on my team. The guys want the best players out there, but I do like the ‘walk-on power’,” Friske said.
Right from the opening whistle, the championship game proved to be as good as advertised. 15 minutes into the game Moores finished a cross from Comden to put the Lakers in the lead 1-0. Alfred scored the next two goals, taking the lead eight minutes into the second half. With 20 minutes left in the game, during a scheduled water break, Coach Friske huddled the team together. He told them that, “you can’t wait until the last five minutes to win a game.”
From that point on the Lakers pushed on the offense, keeping the ball in the Alfred end until the equalizer had been scored.
“It gave us enough life to win in regulation,” Coach Friske said, “not just enough to tie.”
The Lakers started the tournament with a 4-1 win over the D’Youville Spartans on Friday night. Down 1-0 with 15 minutes left in the first half, Bordash buried a ball that bounced frantically around the box. In the second half the Lakers dominated, scoring three goals during a 14 shot barrage. Senior Ben Nix scored the go-ahead goal, with Purdy and Comden adding insurance goals. Oswego State outshot D’Youville 24-3 for the game.
Junior goalkeeper P.J. Goodwin recorded two saves against D’Youville and four against Alfred, capturing both wins in net. The Laker defensive turned in a solid effort in both games, virtually shutting down D’Youville andd limiting Alfred’s scoring chances.
The Lakers play their next two home games on September 10 and 13 against Nazareth and Roberts Wesleyan, respectively. Both games are scheduled for a 4 p.m. start.