Thoroughbreds Trample Saints
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Skidmore men's soccer overcame a nationally ranked Saint Lawrence squad in a thrilling 2-0 victory on October 8th, thanks to two goals from Kevin Santos ‘17. The win lifts Skidmore to the top of the Liberty League conference with a 2-0-2 record, 5-4-2 overall. Skidmore, having lost in the conference final to Saint Lawrence last season, had great motivation to avenge their previous defeat. The Thoroughbreds came storming out of the blocks early to take a 1-0 lead, only thirteen seconds into the match. Santos was able to connect with a long-range pass from Ben Poole and slot home a clever finish to put the Thoroughbreds ahead early.
Skidmore, clearly invigorated by their early lead, maintained their high intensity for much of the opening fifteen minutes, keeping the Saints on the back foot. Playing a 3-5-2 / 5-3-2 formation depending on whoever maintains possession, Skidmore was able to transition quickly from defending to attacking and unsettling the opposition's back four. Freshman Kyle Barrett was able to link up play between the strikers and the midfield quite well by occupying the number 10 position. His interplay in the center of the pitch and his movements outside caused problems for the Saint Lawrence defense; overall, he was a constant threat for much of the game. Towards the end of the first half, Saint Lawrence grew into the game, putting Skidmore’s defense under significant pressure, shooting eight times on target. Skidmore was able to absorb the pressure well, thanks to Robbie Heumann’s efforts to break up play in midfield, Adebare Oyeniyi’s smart defending, and brilliant goalkeeping from Derrick Yam.
The Thoroughbreds would enter the break with their one nil lead intact, and would search for a second goal after the halftime interval. After the break, St. Lawrence concentrated their efforts towards pushing attackers forward in search of an equalizing goal. Saint Lawrence mounted the pressure throughout the second half, but they were largely susceptible and exposed at the back when Skidmore counterattacked. In the 62nd minute, goalkeeper Derrick Yam made a smart two-hand save down to his left-hand side to protect their narrow 1-0 lead.
Just a minute later, Skidmore doubled their advantage. By utilizing the width of the fullbacks, Skidmore was able to move the ball wide and up the field swiftly to evade Saint Lawrence’s midfield press. It is with this movement that Skidmore was able to win a free-kick and score their second goal. Ben Poole whipped a free-kick into the box, which evaded the outreach of the Saints’ keeper, and fell to the feet of Kevin Santos, who finished to put the Thoroughbreds up 2-0 in the 63rd minute. For the rest of the game, Skidmore would defend valiantly to preserve their hard-fought clean sheet. The game ended with a 15-6 shot advantage in favor of Saint Lawrence, but it was clinical finishing that separated the two sides.
After the game, Robbie Heumann, describing the team’s performance and mentality, said, “It was a valiant effort. We poured our hearts into it and we got the result we wanted. Now our focus is on what is ahead of us.” Can the Thoroughbreds build off this win and turn it into a conference title bid? Time will tell.