Men’s soccer ends season, misses playoffs

SOPHOMORE ALEX DOTSETH FIGHTS his way though the Keene State College defense in Wednesday’s match against the Owls.

In its final home game of the season, RPI hosted Keene State College in a non-league match. The Engineers clearly wanted to finish their games at Renwyck Field with a win and in style, as they kept the pressure on the Keene State Owls for the majority of the first half.

RPI’s constant pressure and desire to pursue the ball were both rewarded in the 42nd minute. Junior Sean Southall collected a corner kick from senior Alex Papageorgis and attempted a shot on net. Although the shot was blocked, it fell kindly to classmate Mike Birk who calmly put it over the goalie and into the back of the net. By the end of the period, the Engineers had registered 11 shots to Keene State’s three.

However, after the break, the game became interesting as the Owls won a penalty kick five minutes into the half. Sophomore Scott Douglas stepped up and put it past freshman goalkeeper Rob Dewald, tying the game at one.

The Engineers responded very well, continuing to apply pressure to the Keene State defense. Their efforts were rewarded eight minutes after the Owls had scored. Senior Julian Coy was able to prevent a ball from going out of bounds and, in the same motion, supplied a sublime cross into the box. Junior Zach Fane made an excellent run and was able to get his head on the ball to direct it into the goal.

This would be a lead that RPI would hold as its defense was terrific throughout the contest, only allowing seven shots throughout the whole game. Dewald was rarely put into action and did not have to make any saves.

The victory raised RPI’s record to 7-5-4, while the Owls dropped to 9-7-1.

For their final game of the season, The Engineers headed to Rochester, N.Y., for a battle with Nazareth College. This was a disappointing end to the Engineers’ season as the game finished 4-0 in favor of the home team.

Nazareth’s first goal came in the 7th minute. Sophomore Ryan Foley played a fantastic through ball to senior Chris Mitchell who then placed his shot into the lower left corner of the net past Dewald. The game was fairly even for the rest of the half as each team forced the opposing keeper into making several saves.

When the second half started, the Engineers looked like they wanted to come out and get a goal back with three quick shots. However, eight minutes into the half Nazareth scored again. This time Foley was the goal scorer as he collected a long throw-in inside the 18 yard box and fired his shot into the net.

Nazareth would score two more times, in the 64th and 79th minute. The goals were scored by senior Liam Connolly and sophomore Simon Mounsdon, respectively. These goals gave the Golden Flyers a commanding lead, but the scoreboard did not tell the whole story. The Engineers had 10 shots and forced Golden Flyer senior goalkeeper Kyle Connolly to make four saves. The Engineers also won and took seven corner kicks during the game as they applied lots of pressure to the Nazareth defense.

However, the game ended 4-0 to Nazareth as the Engineers could not finish any of the numerous chances they created. This meant RPI finished the season 7-6-4, while Nazareth went to 10-6-0.

RPI would also find out that its slim hopes of making the playoffs had disappeared with Vassar College getting the results that it needed to secure a playoff spot, preventing the Engineers from qualifying. The season could only be labeled as underwhelming for the players, as they created many goal scoring opportunities throughout the season but just could not hit the back of the net in quite a few games. The defense and goalkeepers preformed at a very high level all season, only allowing 13 goals. The team will go into the next season with the hopes of improving the attack and if they do, RPI men’s soccer could become a very formidable team to play against.