Skidmore Soccer Begins Liberty League Play
After playing against non-league competition for the first few weeks of the 2016 fall season, the Skidmore men’s and women’s soccer teams opened up Liberty League play this past week.
The women’s team played in their first conference tilt last Tuesday against Union and tied 0-0. Goalie Alyssa Rollins notched her second shutout of the season, picking up three saves. However, they followed that performance against Union with a loss on the road at Vassar on Saturday.
Nonetheless, it has been a pretty successful and entertaining start to the season for the Thoroughbreds. They opened up the season with a resounding 7-3 win over Castleton in which Emily Saliterman, Emily Mendes, and Jemimah Cochrane all tallied 2 goals apiece.
Then, in their fourth contest against Plattsburgh State, the unthinkable happened. In extra-time of a tied contest, sophomore defenseman Phoebe Martell-Crawford launched a shot from about 40 yards away that somehow found its way over the goalkeeper for a miraculous, game-winning goal that I am surprised did not find its way onto Sportscenter’s Top Ten plays.
Reflecting on the goal, Martell-Crawford said, “I was so surprised when the ball went in. Time was running out and I knew we had to get the win, so my plan when I hit the ball was to just knock it back on frame and hope that someone would run onto it. I wish I could say I noticed that the goalie was out of the net, but honestly I was hoping for the best.”
On the men’s side, they played to a 1-1 draw in their Liberty League opener against Vassar this past Saturday at Wachenheim Field. Junior Austin Okoye scored Skidmore’s lone goal in in the 62nd minute while goalkeeper Derrick Yam stood tall against 21 Vassar shots to make seven saves.
On Saturday’s performance, senior Nick Masiero said, “It would have been nice to win, but a tie isn’t a bad start to league play. This was our first game that we really seemed to play as one unit, with everyone working hard for the guy next to him.”
Even though they had a chance to come away with a victory against a very good Vassar squad, Skidmore (3-3-1 overall on the season) has been playing well over the past couple of weeks. Led by Okoye (4 goals) and junior Kevin Santos (tied for first on the team with 8 points), the Thoroughbreds have compiled a 3-1-1 record along with a +6 goal differential in their last five contests. Masiero points to a number of reasons for their recent success: “We have really started to figure things out. Our freshmen are getting used to the faster, rougher play that comes with college soccer. We’re also very fit and our team chemistry is great. We are like one big family.”
Fellow senior Michael Lemnios echoed this sentiment: "Our game against Vassar helped mature our starting freshman very quickly as they realized how competitive these conference games are. Each of us works hard for the guy next to him, and as a team we trust the system our coach plans for us before each game."
Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams have upcoming Liberty League matchups this weekend. The men will make two road trips, first to Hobart on Friday and then to Rochester to face RIT on Saturday. The women, meanwhile, will host undefeated William Smith College at 4pm on Friday and then take on RIT Saturday afternoon.