The Oswego State men’s soccer team entered the season with a fairly inexperienced squad, filled with youth and potential. Now, the Lakers end the year with a team of seasoned veterans.
The team featured only two seniors, along with eight freshmen, nine sophomores and eight juniors. Despite their youth, this team has plenty of potential. The Lakers got off to a great start this season with a convincing 4-0 victory at home against Old Westbury. However, eight consecutive losses followed the win and the Lakers nearly found themselves out of playoff contention.
After a closely contested Alumni Weekend matinee with SUNY Plattsburgh, it would have been easy for the Lakers to throw in the towel. However, the team switched to another gear following the heartbreaking 2-0 loss, as the Lakers went on a three-game winning streak.
They beat SUNY Fredonia at home by a score of 2-0 for the first win of their streak. Junior Brendan Besiner believes that this victory was the turning point for the Lakers’ season.
“Winning against Fredonia was huge,” Beisner said. “It gave us the confidence we needed moving forward.”
Coming off a win against Fredonia, a confident Lakers team won a sloppy game against Buffalo State. This victory showed the Lakers’ will to win, as they pulled off the victory despite rain and blistering winds.
Following the win against Buffalo State, the Lakers traveled to Geneseo to face the Blue Knights, consistently strong team in the SUNYAC. The Lakers fell behind early, but scored three goals in the second half to pull out a 3-2 victory.
“We came out at halftime and came with everything we had,” sophomore Ryan Purdy said. “We scored three quick goals and ended up winning the game 3-2 to move into playoff contention. In my opinion, this was our best game of the season this year.”
Head coach Robert Friske agrees with Purdy’s assessment of the big win.
“Geneseo was a nice win for Oswego,” Friske said. “Now we have beaten everyone on our schedule except Oneonta. That’s a great feat.”
The Lakers followed the win with a brutal loss against the College at Brockport, falling 5-1. Despite the loss, the Lakers were still in prime playoff position. A win against SUNY Cortland, and they were in the playoffs.
The game represented the final game of the careers of senior goalies P.J. Goodwin and Pat Breen. Goodwin started in goal, and registered four saves. However, despite their best efforts, the Lakers lost a closely contested game against the Red Dragons by a score of 1-0. The loss eliminated the Lakers from playoff contention.
After a tough finish, Friske found several positives to the 2012 season.
“I felt they worked hard all year and I was pleased with their improvement,” Friske said. “We wanted to be competitive in a competitive conference and we were in it until the very last day.”
The Lakers are motivated to start preparing for next season, as they feel they are primed for another playoff run.
“We will hit the weight-room the whole offseason and we will also play to get our touches on the ball,” Purdy said. “The amount of talent on this team is absolutely mind-blowing.”
The Lakers, who will have a total of 17 upperclassmen next year, will have what they lacked this year: experience.
“We can return every starting field player,” Friske said. “You can’t teach experience, that is what we lacked going into this year, and it is what we gained during the year.”
The Lakers hope their experience will transfer into wins next season. They have one goal next year, and that is to win.
“We’re in it to win it,” Friske said.