On paper, the Oswego State men’s soccer team can be described as young, inexperienced and lacking leadership.
In fact, if one was looking for a senior running around the field in green and white, you won’t find one. The only two seniors this season, P.J. Goodwin and John Helgesen, won’t even be found on the field at the same time. Both will sport their blue goalkeeper attire in between the posts.
On the field, the last words head coach Bob Friske would use to describe his team are young, inexperienced and lacking leadership.
“We are one of the most exciting teams and we’re going to be in a lot of close games this season,” Friske said.
The Lakers had seven seniors on their roster last season, but with the loss of all five senior field players, new players have had to step up, according to sophomore forward Ryan Purdy.
“Everyone knows our leadership was lacking coming into this season but each player has been stepping up and becoming more of a leader,” Purdy said.
Friske said that the lack of seniors has opened up the door for a number of young players to see expanded roles. Freshman Pat Sprague has played well in the midfield for the Lakers.
“(Sprague) is exciting to watch,” Friske said.
Along with Sprague, Friske said freshmen Ryan Ivers and Noah Clemmer have also rose to the occasion for the Lakers. Friske is pleased with his team’s excelling youth.
“The future looks really exciting for us,” Friske said.
Though they may be young, Friske said that his team is much deeper this season as compared to last year.
“This group from A to Z is more talented than our teams of the past few years and they’re young, which makes them unique,” Friske said.
The players are also not letting their youth get to their heads.
“I think we are going to do pretty good,” Purdy said. “Coming from the bottom of the league last year, we are definitely going to be a force this year.”
The Lakers started off the season with a big second half surge in a 4-0 win over Old Westbury. Purdy tallied the Lakers’ first goal of the season on a header seven minutes into the second half. Zack Saccocio recorded two assists as well, leading the Lakers to the win.
The Lakers would unfortunately go on to drop their next two contests to Medaille College in the championship of the Oswego State Men’s Soccer Kick-Off Tournament and later to Hamilton College, a game which saw the Lakers end the first half with a 1-0 lead only to drop to 1-2 on the season, after two second half Hamilton goals. Jim Manton provided the lone goal for the Lakers.
Upcoming for the Lakers are five consecutive road games, beginning at
Nazareth on Saturday at 3 p.m. Nazareth had a successful season in 2011, going 10-6-1. Of their six loses, one was handed to them on Laker field, with Mike Naab grabbing the only goal for the Lakers in a 1-0 win.
The non-conference season closes out with a pair of games against familiar foes. The Lakers will play at Morrisville on Wednesday, Sept. 12 and then travel to Rochester on Saturday, Sept. 15 to battle R.I.T. The Lakers defeated R.I.T. last season, 1-0, and have a five-game winning streak against Morrisville.
SUNYAC play will open on the road the weekend of Sept. 21-22, as the Lakers travel to SUNY Oneonta and SUNY New Paltz. The Lakers hosted both teams last season, but lost both games, getting outscored 3-0.
The Lakers return to Laker field the weekend of Sept. 28-29, when they host SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Plattsburgh during the annual Alumni Weekend. The Lakers are home the following weekend, taking on SUNY Fredonia in the “Kick it to Cancer” game on Friday, Oct. 5 and then honoring their seniors on Saturday, Oct. 6 against Buffalo State.
Finishing the conference schedule on the road, the Lakers will battle SUNY Geneseo and The College at Brockport the weekend of Oct. 12-13 and then finish the regular season on Saturday, Oct. 20 against SUNY Cortland.
SUNYAC championships for men’s soccer begin Oct. 27, with the SUNYAC semifinal match-ups scheduled for Oct. 31 and the SUNYAC final for Nov. 3.