RPI men’s soccer played a pair of road games last weekend, one at Bard College on Saturday and another at Babson College on Sunday. After scoring multiple goals in six of the first seven games of the season, the Engineers offense cooled off, managing just one score in each game. This effort was enough to keep the undefeated season intact though, as Rensselaer shut out Bard 1-0 and tied with Babson to improve to an overall record of 8-0-1.
The matchup against Bard was the Engineers’ first Liberty League conference game of the season. In the first half, RPI attempted eight shots, four on the Raptors’ net, but failed to convert any. In the second half, RPI took control early and in the 52nd minute, junior midfielder Devon Baughen put the Engineers on the board with a 24-yard direct kick that curved its way past Bard keeper Daniel Gagne. The goal was Baughen’s fifth of the season.
Meanwhile, the Engineers’ defense continued its dominance, recording its sixth shutout of the season. Sophomore goalie Ryan Nealon recorded seven saves, his highest this season, including four down the stretch to maintain the one-score edge.
Senior forward Nathaniel Gunderson squeezed a shot inside the right post to give the Engineers a 1-0 lead midway through the first half against Babson. The goal was his third of the season and was assisted by Baughen.
Rensselaer held the lead through the rest of the first half and well into the second before surrendering the equalizer in the 68th minute. The goal was a header into the upper corner of the RPI net past Nealon’s outstretched arms and was just the third he has allowed all year.
The game went to overtime. Each goalie made a save, and Babson blocked two more to maintain the tie. The final score was RPI tied, 1-1. Nealon saved four of the five shots he faced while Babson keeper Stephen Donato corralled one of two that went his way.
Rensselaer will host home games against Hobart College and Rochester Institute Technology this weekend.