Wildcats Battle Elements For 2-2 Tie
UTICA, N.Y. – The SUNYIT Men's Soccer Team (7-5-2, 7-0-1 NEAC) narrowly preserved their undefeated conference record on Saturday with a 2-2 tie versus visiting Lancaster Bible College (5-8-2, 3-2-2 NEAC). The Chargers held a 1-0 lead for the majority of the match, but a flurry of goals late in the second period resulted in the 2-2 score that would hold even through two overtimes.
The Wildcats wore pink jerseys to promote Breast Cancer Awareness, but ten minutes into the game both teams looked brown, as extremely muddy conditions made for slippery play.
The conditions may have played a factor as the heavily favored Wildcats were surprised by a Sean Westerlund goal in the first period, giving the Chargers a 1-0 lead. A one goal advantage wouldn't normally pose much of a problem for the high-powered Wildcat offense, but with such challenging field conditions the lead held up minute after minute.
It wasn't until things started looking dire that the 'Cats pulled through. In the 83rd minute of the game, a Wildcat corner kick was batted around in front of the goal like a pinball. Somehow the ball was popped up into the air, and a Lancaster defenseman ran into his own goalie. When the mud settled, the ball was in the back of the net, and senior midfielder Trevor Totman (Dryden, NY/Tompkins Cortland) had been credited with a goal.
With the momentum squarely in their corner, SUNYIT wasted no time: just minutes later, sophomore midi Mario Gomez (Rome, NY/Rome Free Academy) put the 'Cats ahead with his first goal of the season. Gomez made a phenomenal play on the ball, tracking the 50-50 ball down just outside of the box and just milliseconds before the Charger keeper could get to it.
But not even a minute later the elation was gone from the Wildcat sideline, as Charger Travis Weyandt improbably evened the score on yet another front-of-the-goal scrum.
A handful of chances and two overtimes later, SUNYIT walked off the field with a tie that could be considered both disappointing and lucky. The Wildcats retained their supremacy in the NEAC conference rankings, but fell just short of victory.
SUNYIT will play an out-of-conference match at home this Wednesday vs. Elmira. Game time is set for 4:00 pm.