Men’s soccer continues late-game drama; Naab scores game-winner

Mike Naab attempts to fight off RIT defender Sean Coots
Photo by Billy Reese

The Oswego State men’s soccer team pulled off another unbelievable win on Saturday, scoring in the last ten minutes once again to defeat the RIT Tigers 1-0.

The Lakers continue to bring late-game dramatics to every match, pushing their record to 5-1 overall. RIT presented the biggest challenge to the Lakers so far, being the last tune-up game before conference play begins against Oneonta. The game was physical and hard-fought right from the opening whistle, with only one shot on goal in the first half recorded by RIT. Oswego State did not tally its first shot on net until 10 minutes into the second half.

Sophomore forward Mike Naab broke the scoreless deadlock with a rocket shot from 20 yards away with only 7:38 left on the clock. Sophomore forward John McLoughlin, sent a long pass up the middle of the field to Naab. Naab turned, found himself unmarked by any defenders, and fired a shot so hard that the goalkeeper got a hand on it but could not stop it. The goal was Naab’s second of the season, and gave McLoughlin his first assist of the year.

Through all of the late-game dramatics, the most consistent play of the Lakers has come from the defense and goalkeeper P.J. Goodwin. Goodwin picked up his fifth win of the season, and his third shutout.

“He’s got a good leadership aura about him,” Coach Bob Friske said. “He communicates very well, a mature kid within our group.”

The back four for the Lakers consists of a starting squad that contains three seniors and a junior. So far, through six games they have given up only four goals as a unit, while the offense has scored 10 goals. Their play has helped keep the Lakers undefeated at home, and now the team has matched their win total from last year.

“We pressured them the entire game,” Friske said. “We used eight subs in the first half and 10 or so in the second half.”

The match against RIT was not the prettiest sight in soccer history.

“[It was] a tough game, an intellectual game, a chippy game…they gave us what we expected,” Friske said. “We were playing good against a good team. We worked really hard but played sloppy.”

An estimated crowd of 100 watched a game that was fought mostly in the mid-field, with only five shots recorded in the entire match. RIT showed an attacking formation that the Lakers hadn’t seen yet, which led for some exciting breaks and scoring chances, but no real opportunities.

Tempers flared early in the second half, when freshman forward Ryan Purdy and RIT forward Dan Holowaty received yellow cards 15 seconds apart.

Holowaty earned his card for unsportsmanlike conduct, and Purdy for a hard tackle. The game continued its physical nature without further incidents after that.

Now the challenge starts for the Lakers, who play four straight conference games over the span of nine days, starting with Oneonta at home.

“They’re comparable if not better than the best we’ve played,” Friske said. “We’re undefeated against the Empire 8 and 1-0 against the Liberty league. This is the best of the best, the SUNYAC.”

With one-third of the season already gone, the team’s goals remain clear.

“We want to keep our undefeated streak at home, and steal games on the road,” Friske said.

The Oswego State men’s soccer team faces Oneonta today at 4 p.m. and is in action again on Saturday at 1 p.m. against New Paltz before starting a five-game road trip.