The Oswego State Men’s Soccer Team started off Alumni Weekend by taking a loss to the SUNY Oneonta Red Dragons Friday, falling 3-1.
The Lakers suffered through a mostly porous first half and fell behind 1-0. The second half saw them make strong attempts at goal, but never finding the net before they conceded a second on a corner kick. They pulled one back late in the contest but lost any chance at salvaging a draw after they conceded their third goal of the contest only a few seconds after the following kickoff.
The Lakers had a good start to the contest, as the Red Dragons struggled to gain control of the game. Although they started strong, the Lakers conceded 13 minutes into the match as Greg Silvestro took the ball into the box on a fine dribble and put it past senior goalkeeper Todd Lawson.
Despite conceding early, Lawson once again put together a great goalkeeping effort as he held the Red Dragons to one goal at the half with some brilliant plays, one example being his best impression of a sweeper keeper as he dashed off his line and made slide tackle outside of his box to quell a Red Dragons counterattack.
“Todd’s not just a good keeper, he’s a great keeper,” Coach Bob Friske said, “He kept us in the game when we were struggling.”
The Lakers saw almost nothing of the ball during the last 30 minutes of the first half after a promising start. They stood pact in their own defensive area trying to give nothing away to the Red Dragons and hoping to get a counterattack or a chance on a set piece. They almost did, but Harrison Rieber could not place a shot on target on the end of Bernard Osei cross. Osei dribbled past three Red Dragon defenders inside the box to set up the chance.
The Lakers had only one shot on target in the first half, compared to the 10 shots from the Red Dragons, last season’s National semifinalists. Alejandro Ruiz had a shot hit off the post that could’ve doubled their lead.
The second half began with the Lakers attempting to get something started by maintaining a string a possession.
Osei set up another set piece play for the Lakers by drawing a foul outside the box. Tim Ritch just missed tying the game off his header.
Osei also had a wonder strike saved by a spectacular play by the Red Dragon keeper Vincent Pellegrino. Pellegrino needed every inch of his frame do stretch out and deny Osei, who also had a close range strike near the penalty area stopped by Pellegrino who used quick hands to stop the effort.
The first ten minutes of the second was dominated by the Lakers as they constantly fired at the Red Dragons’ net, but couldn’t find the equalizer.
Lawson once again kept the Red Dragons from increasing their lead as he made a sensational save on a direct corner kick attempt at goal by Cory Santaneglo.
The Lakers’ second half saw them take the game to the Red Dragons as they were hoping to from the beginning.
Despite their good start to the second half, the Lakers conceded goal off a corner kick, it took a swift route and landed in right in front of Jared Van Brunt, who put away the easy finish right in front of Lawson.
“Some lapses let us down on defense,” Friske said. “But we played very well in the second half.”
Conor Lunduski almost took one back for the Lakers, but his lob shot from just inside the right side of the penalty area that looked to beat Pellgrino went just above the top cross bar.
“The second half we were able to bring it to them and it showed that we can play with the best teams in the conference,” Lunduski said. “It’ll give us confidence going into tomorrow.”
Lawson once again showed his worth to the Lakers, making two consecutive saves on a Red Dragon attacking play.
“That was definitely one of our best performances in a while, especially in the second half,” Lawson said. “It’s our first conference game of the season and it’s our first loss, but we’re still going to get wins.”
The Lakers lacked the offensive spark they needed, but also had a lack of luck on their shots.
Josh Yager almost cut the deficit in half, but his shot went just over the top of the net.
With less than five minutes left the Lakers did cut the lead to one goal on a header by Josh Yaeger. It gave them a lift and perhaps some momentum to get the tying goal.
But the Lakers gave it right back less than a minute later. Before the announcer could even credit the Yaeger goal, the Red Dragons ran down the pitch and Zef Saljanin put the ball past Lawson to put the game of out reach for the Lakers. It was a shocking goal to concede after just having finally broken through the tough Red Dragon defense and Pellegrino.
“Giving one right back after scoring one ourselves was pretty demoralizing,” Friske said. “I’m so big on focus and concentration and it was disappointing to get back in only to give it away.”
The Lakers will look toward the matchup against the SUNY New Paltz Hawks. The match will begin at 12 p.m. at the new Laker Turf Stadium.