Oswego State Athletics is a school known mostly for hockey, and the historic success of men’s basketball and baseball in recent years.
The fall sports season does not include those three teams, but it does include Lakers men’s soccer, who have been gaining attention after an exciting start to a new era in their program.
The Oswego State Athletic Department underwent a change of leader- ship to the men’s soccer program at the end of last season, departing from 12- year head coach Robert Friske.
In that tenure, the Lakers had an overall record of 65-125-18, assembled just a single winning season in 2006, and just a single SUNYAC playoff ap- pearance in 2011, which resulted in a one-and-done elimination in the quarterfinals.
A fresh start, a new voice, and a different mindset was granted to Lakers men’s soccer, which is what head coach Dan Kane has brought early on to the struggling program.
Just after getting hired in the spring, Kane shared two goals he has as the new head coach of the Lakers men’s soccer team:
“Number one is I’m going to genuinely care about these guys and put my heart and soul into the team,” Kane said.
From the get-go, Lakers men’s soccer has come out with a sense of urgency on both ends of the turf in their 2017 opener.
Just 63 seconds into their open- er against Houghton College, junior Thomas Jackson fed off a pass from senior Connor Lunduski to score the Lakers’ first goal of the season.
Behind great goalkeeping from junior Evan Bogucki, just 43 seconds following intermission, the Lakers increased the lead to 2-0 off of a goal from junior-transfer Hassan Musa. To make their day more exciting, they capped on three more goals en route to a 5-0 shut-out, and Kane’s first victory as a Laker head coach in his debut.
The second goal Kane outlined is already being achieved:
“Number two is I will be there to solve issues when they arise.”
Upon arriving, Kane was already presented with major issues that have plagued the program. Simply put, scoring goals, and winning matches are issues Kane has solved thus far.
Following their shutout victory Friday, the Lakers ousted SUNY Purchase 6-1, and claimed the 2017 Oswego State Men’s Soccer Classic as the hosts.
The win streak came to an end Tuesday night, after a double overtime 3-3 draw to Hamilton College, featuring 110 minutes of tough back-and-forth battling in the cold and wet grass.
Sitting at 2-0-1, Lakers men’s soccer has put the ball in the net a total of 14 times, already surpassing last year’s 13 goals scored in 17 matches, and nearly tying the average of goals scored from the past ve seasons, which was 14.2 goals per season.
It is hard to imagine a better start for Lakers men’s soccer. It may be early in the season, with plenty of tough matches down the road in SUNYAC play, but the eye test and overall feeling shows a different team with a different attitude.
Staying in the win column is a good step right now for the Lakers, but the hope of ending a 51-year SUNYAC Championship drought remains as the number one goal.
Photo: Jake Piacenti | The Oswegonian