Oswego State’s Alumni Weekend will kick off today, as the Lakers will face the SUNY Oneonta Red Dragons as they open SUNYAC conference play.
The Lakers will be looking to push their record to 4-2 and start off conference play on a winning note for the first time in almost a decade. They have not won their opening SUNYAC match in a season since their 2006 campaign when they defeated the SUNY New Paltz Hawks, who will be their second opponent over Alumni Weekend.
Since that time they have lost every opening conference match, with the Red Dragons being a big reason for it. In the eight consecutive opening conference game defeats the Lakers have suffered, the Red Dragons were their opponents in five of them and came away with the victory each time.
The Red Dragons have been winners of the SUNYAC conference three of the last four years and have competed in the NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Tournament in each of the past four seasons. There are new faces on the Red Dragon’s squad, but this will be a team that will still provide a great test for the Lakers.
Despite their recent success, the Red Dragons enter this contest struggling as they have already lost two games this season. They did not lose a single game during the regular season in 2014, and only failed to win in two contests, both of which ended up as a pair of draws. They ultimately lost at the NCAA Tournament semifinals against eventual runners up Wheaton College (Ill.), in what would be their only defeat of the season.
This season the Red Dragons have dropped contests to Williams College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The Lakers will look to take advantage of a team that graduated five seniors from its successful campaign the prior year. A graduating class that was around for four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the Red Dragons, a stretch of dominance that saw them reach the National Semifinals on two occasions. The new team has been struggling to emulate the success of their former upperclassmen so far in this young season.
The Lakers will field a squad that will look to grind out the contest from the start and will make the Red Dragon’s work and hustle if they want to get any positive result. The backline will need to remain focused as they look to help senior captain Todd Lawson in his effort to keep the Red Dragons scoreless.
Bernard Osei, the freshman form Syracuse, will look to be a big part of the contest will need a consistent goal threat if the Lakers are going to take any sort of positive result. He has not started a game for them this season, but will always lead to spark off the bench. He is joined top scorer for the Lakers this season with two goals. He also has provided three assists which has him at the top of the overall points chart with seven.
The Lakers will need a maximum effort from all 11 men on the pitch at all times, or else they will struggle against this team that will likely have a chip on its shoulder for its recent struggle.
The contest will start off Alumni Weekend today at 2 p.m. at the new Laker Turf Stadium.