MANCHESTER, Vt. – Southern Vermont College played its first-ever 'home' soccer game at night Saturday evening, despite it being about 25 miles north of the SVC campus. The Mountaineers came up just short, falling 2-1 to SUNY Cobleskill in non-conference men's action at Applejack Stadium during the 2016 Manchester College Soccer Series.
The visitors put up both of their goals in the opening 30 minutes on a pair of crossing plays, going into the break ahead by two. SVC was able to cut it to a one-goal deficit on a stellar free kick in the 65th minute, and tense play ensued for the remainder of the match. Cobleskill was able to keep Southern Vermont out of the net, however, to close out its first win of the season.
Both teams are now 1-1 on the young 2016 campaign. The Mountaineers are off until Wednesday when they visit the College of New Rochelle for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff while Cobleskill begins its North Eastern Athletic Conference schedule next Saturday, September 10 with a 3 p.m. match at Cazenovia College.
Fighting Tiger freshman Emile Vwaza (Manhattan, N.Y.) assisted both of his team's tallies, first feeding classmate Mouhamed Diop (Manhattan, N.Y.) 18:34 into the contest for the go-ahead goal. Vwaza then set up fellow freshman Mame Amar (Manhattan, N.Y.) about 11 minutes later for what proved to be the game-winning score.
SVC sophomore captain Nikolas Joseph (Coventry, Conn.) chalked up his first goal of the year to cut the deficit in half, firing home a direct kick from about 30 yards out with just under 26 minutes to go.
Cobleskill junior keeper Dan Burger (N. Ellenburg, N.Y.) came up with a handful of big-time saves to keep his team in the win column, registering five stops to pick up his first victory of the year between the pipes (1-0). Many of the Fighting Tigers' shots were off frame, making way for Southern Vermont freshman goalie Chris Jimenez (Newark, N.J.) to only record two saves in the loss (1-1).
Play went back-and-forth through the early going with neither side pulling the trigger too often. Finally, the Fighting Tigers broke through to the scoreboard on Diop's first goal of the year. Vwaza worked the ball down to the goal line on the left side of the box and fed it right in front of the net through traffic; Diop squared his body up to the frame and one-timed a short-distance shot under the crossbar for the 1-0 upper hand.
The Fighting Tigers kept up the pressure, trying to play through the Mountaineer trap with their momentum. Cobleskill would be whistled for a pair of offsides infractions, but the visitors' persistence soon-after paid off as Amar put home his first collegiate goal. Vwaza again brought it in from the left edge of the box and sent a left-footed, negative pass to the top of the penalty area; Amar ran onto the ball and laced a low shot back across the box and inside the left post to put Cobleskill up 2-0.
The Mountaineers had a golden opportunity in the final minute of the first half as a well-executed give-and-go around the Cobleskill defense found SVC junior Paddy McGovern (Cheshire, England) just yards away from the net with the ball at his foot; Burger made the point-blank kick save, however, to preserve the shutout.
Burger provided another big save a few minutes into the second period after SVC played a series of small passes outside the top of the penalty area. Freshman Connor Kristiansen (Shelton, Conn.) set up and cracked a left-footed shot at the left post, only to be turned away by a fully-extended, leaping Burger.
The Cobleskill keeper would not be able to keep Joseph out of the cage, however, as the Mountaineer sophomore sparked his team with a magnificent free kick from the middle of the pitch. Taking the direct kick from about 25 yards out, Joseph fired a low-flying shot that curled into the upper-right corner to make is just a 2-1 Fighting Tiger advantage.
Southern Vermont nearly tied it with a little over five minutes left in regulation, but Burger made one final diving save that kept his squad on top. A Cobleskill goal kick was sent short and low, being picked off by SVC freshman Jake Figueiredo (Wethersfield, Conn.) about 30 yards away; the Mountaineer darted into the right side of the box and let a shot rip across the frame towards the left side netting. Burger got off his feet once more and put his hands on it, however, getting just enough to push it away for a corner.
SVC could not find the equalizer in the waning minutes as the final horn sounded to close out Cobleskill's first win of the year.