Men’s Soccer Unbeaten Through Five Games
Skidmore’s men’s soccer team is ranked nationally for the second time in eleven years thanks to an unbeaten start. The Thoroughbreds moved to 4-0-1 on Tuesday afternoon after a smooth 3-0 victory over an overwhelmed Massachusetts College of the Liberal Arts (MCLA) side at Wachenheim Field.
Three sophomores accounted for each of the three goals. Forward David Braman wasted no time opening the scoring, using his head to direct a corner kick from senior midfielder Brennan Mitrolka into the back of the net just six minutes into the contest. Midfielder Ted Roach responded shortly thereafter with a goal of his own off a throw-in from freshman defender Josh Ridenhour. And for good measure, forward Inigo Ugarte chipped in another goal later in the first half with the assistance of senior midfielder Kevin Santos. The 3-0 lead proved to be insurmountable for MCLA, as a strong Skidmore defense, anchored by the combination of sophomore Sebastian Bosch and junior Pearse Martin in net, had little trouble posting the shutout.
Prolific scoring and strong defense have been a theme thus far for the Thoroughbreds, as Tuesday’s win was their third 3-0 shutout of the young season. Arguably the most important of Skidmore’s first four victories, however, came last Friday in one of its closest contests, as the team triumphed in its Liberty League opener against nationally-ranked Union.
The match was scoreless until junior Mike Park broke the ice by converting a penalty kick to give the Thoroughbreds a 1-0 lead with nineteen minutes remaining. Their late lead, however, wouldn’t hold for long, as Union, ranked twenty-third in the country entering the contest, scored in the waning moments of regulation to send the game to overtime.
Skidmore still had a decided edge in the extra session, thanks largely to an earlier red card that saw one of Union’s players sent off for the game. That prompted senior Augustine Okoye to take advantage of a pass from sophomore midfielder Dario Flores, drilling the most crucial of his team-leading five goals on the season.
Reflecting on the dramatic victory, Okoye said, “It was a great feeling to score the winning goal, but us getting the win was all teamwork. We fought so hard together as a family and that is what we stand for.”
Okoye is one of a couple of Thoroughbreds to receive individual recognition for outstanding performance this season. The senior midfielder was recently named the Liberty League’s Offensive Performer of the Week for scoring three goals and adding an assist during Skidmore’s 1-0-1 stretch against Plattsburgh State and SUNY Geneso. Santos, meanwhile, was named to the Liberty League Honor Roll for his stellar effort in the Thoroughbreds’ opening win over Marywood, as he had a hand in all three Skidmore goals (one goal, two assists).
More recognition should continue to come Skidmore’s way if the team maintains its high level of play. The Thoroughbreds, ranked 22nd in the nation according to the latest DIII men’s soccer poll, will return to the pitch this Saturday afternoon. They’ll take on Hobart, with kickoff slated for 3 pm at Wachenheim Field.