Lakers gearing up for SUNYAC play

Senior captain Nikki Liadka (left) is a key to Oswego State’s success in 2013 with her team-lead in goals, shots and points with 10, 40 and 20, respectively.  (Photo provided by Sports Information)
Senior captain Nikki Liadka (left) is a key to Oswego State’s success in 2013 with her team-lead in goals, shots and points with 10, 40 and 20, respectively. (Photo provided by Sports Information)

After a strong 6-3 start to the 2013 season, the Oswego State women’s soccer team is preparing to host SUNY Plattsburgh on Friday and SUNY Potsdam on Saturday at Laker Soccer Field.

The Lakers (6-3, 1-1 SUNYAC) are looking to add to their three-game home winning streak, their longest since 2011 when they won the ECAC championship. A pair of wins this weekend would put the Lakers in a commanding position in the SUNYAC standings and would come close to guaranteeing them a playoff spot.

The Lakers kicked off SUNYAC play on Friday with an exciting 1-0 victory against SUNY New Paltz. For the fourth game in a row, the Lakers dominated possession. The team recorded 21 shots while limiting the Hawks to just seven. Senior Nikki Liadka scored the game-winning goal in the 75th minute. The goal was Liadka’s ninth of the season.

“It was great to beat New Paltz,” Liadka said. “I don’t remember the last time we beat them.”

On Saturday, the Lakers saw their four-game winning streak snap, as Oneonta State scored four goals against the goalkeeping duo of sophomore Alyssa Glasshagel and senior Emily Varonier.

Not long after the starting whistle, the Lakers found themselves in a 1-0 hole when Red Dragon senior midfielder Melissa Guglielmo scored her first of two goals on the day off a pass from the top of the 18-yard box.

Liadka responded three minutes later with her 10th goal of the season, heading home a pass from junior Georgia Traynor.

However, the veteran experience of Oneonta was too much for the young Laker squad, as seniors Amanda Regensburger and Karly DeSimone both scored in the second half along with Guglielmo to secure the victory for the Red Dragons.

“It happens,” head coach Brian McGrane said. “We fell behind early and had to push numbers up.”

The Lakers are looking to recover from the loss on Saturday with a pair of home games against Plattsburgh and Potsdam. Much like Oswego State, both teams are young and suffering growing pains. The Cardinals (3-5-1, 1-0 SUNAC) have struggled to score goals, as Liadka has as many goals (10) as the entire Plattsburgh team this season. Seniors Diana DiCocco and Emily LaLone are tied for the team lead in goals with two apiece, along with freshman Lauren Gonyea.

All three of Plattsburgh’s wins have come via shutout. The Cardinals have shut out their opponents in four of their nine games and have not conceded more than two goals in a game this season.

Potsdam (3-5-1, 0-1 SUNYAC) is the youngest team in the conference. It is the only team in the conference without a senior on its roster. Much like Plattsburgh, the Bears have had trouble scoring this season.

Potsdam has scored only nine goals in nine games this season. The Bears have three players leading their team in scoring with two goals apiece: sophomore Summer Bader and freshmen Kaylen Van Wagner and Alexis Beach.

With their poise, athletic ability and shoot-happy mentality, the Lakers should be able to take full advantage of the Potsdam’s back line. However, the Lakers still need to improve their first-half play this season, as the team tends to struggle early before tooling together strong second half performances.

The Lakers have been led by their veteran players this season. Liadka is ranked among the top 30 goal scorers in the nation. Junior midfielder Tia Segretto is second on the team in scoring with four goals and 10 points. She was recently named the SUNYAC Offensive Player of the Week after scoring the game-winning goal against D’Youville College.

Junior midfielder Bri Dolan has two goals and seven points thus far. The trio of veterans have helped lead the team and should give the Lakers an advantage against the young Plattsburgh and Potsdam teams.

Looking forward, Liadka hopes to put the loss to Oneonta behind her as the team returns home this weekend.

“I think we were all a little disappointed last weekend with the loss against Oneonta,” Liadka said. “But we are all extremely pumped for this weekend. I think we can pull out two wins and continue our winning streak at home. This is a new Oswego team and we are better than ever.”