Other D III sports important to watch

Saturday night marks the beginning of the Oswego State athletic season most followed on campus, men’s ice hockey. But fans should take a step back and realize there are still fall sports teams in action over the weekend as well.

In the fall of 2013, only three Oswego State teams competed in their respective SUNYAC Championships. The women’s soccer team made it to the play-in round of their tournament before falling to The College at Brockport, 2-1. The other two teams were the men and women’s cross country teams who have SUNYAC Championships as a scheduled invitational.

This year, going into the last weekend of conference play, four fall sports teams, not including the cross country teams competing at their championships on Nov. 1, still have a chance at SUNYAC Championships bids, which could not be said at this time last year.

After a win last Saturday over Wells College, field hockey was on its longest winning streak of the season at three games. Although the Lakers fell at No. 20 SUNY Cortland on Wednesday, they are still in contention for the final spot in this season’s SUNYAC Championships. The team has one final home game against SUNY Geneseo on Saturday to play. A berth into the Championships would be the team’s first in over a decade.

On the pitch, both the men and women’s soccer teams are on the cusp of making the postseason as well. While the men have won two of three and are currently within striking distance of a home playoff game, the women are winless in their last five and need a win at home on Saturday against conference-leading SUNY Cortland to have a chance at the final spot in the Championships. The men are seeking their first postseason appearance since 2009. As for the women, their tournament appearance last season was the first time in more than 10 years. Wins for both and they could be in.

Turning to the court, volleyball head coach J.J. O’Connell has his team looking primed and ready for its second SUNYAC Championships in his three years at Oswego. The team won three of four matches last weekend in a tough field at the Hartwick Invitational. Now, the Lakers head to Fredonia where they will take on SUNY Geneseo, SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Fredonia with a chance to secure a bid. Oswego State is currently 3-3 in the SUNYAC and tied for fourth in the standings. A couple wins this weekend and Stephanie Bailey’s Senior Day match against SUNYIT on Nov. 1 may not be her last as a Laker.

So, with all that being said, it should be clear the men’s ice hockey exhibition game Saturday night is not the most important sporting event of the weekend. It is an exciting event, which all should attend because it marks the beginning of a promising year for a team seeking its sixth-straight Frozen Four appearance. However, sports fans should be more excited for the possibility of postseason play, which swirls around the fall sports programs that have not seen success like this in far too long.

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