Five seniors were recognized at East Campus Stadium on Saturday when the men’s soccer team competed against the Vassar College Brewers: senior Devon Baughen, sophomore Brett Pyser, senior Esmir Hadzic, and senior co-captains Paul Lentine, Nathaniel Gunderson, and Matt Carberry. A general distaste for the Brewers and the chief referee was evident among the members of the audience, particularly on account of the muttering of vulgar language by certain Vassar players and the referee’s supposed fallibility. Their true feelings became increasingly apparent as calls made by the ref seemed to favor Vassar over Rensselaer, including the revocation of two RPI goals made during the game. The final score of 2-1 Vassar especially enhanced their disapproval.
The first five minutes of the game were relatively quiet, as both teams warming up on that cloudy 50 degree day. The first chance came at 2:10 into the game, but the shot was blocked. Several corner kicks followed, each one unsuccessful for the Engineers as the ball went flying off in some decentralized direction.
Starting at 6:09, forward Devon Baughen entered the spotlight with his first close call on Vassar’s goal, barely exceeding the net with his kick. Throughout the game, Baughen could always be found somewhere in the opposing zone ready to give Vassar their just desserts.
The first goal came at 14:06, when Alex Gonzales of Vassar, assisted by teammate Ben Glasner, maneuvered the ball past Rensselaer sophomore goalkeeper Ryan Nealon. RPI was playing conservatively, and they were not expressing the same energy the Brewers were putting forth. Forced into a deficit of 0-1, RPI needed a pick-me-up.
The pick-me-up came at 38:13 to go in the first half when Baughen kicked the ball right into the net. With a revised tie score of 1-1, the Engineers were revamped, and a sudden improvement in their performance on the field occurred. Several shot attempts in the ensuing final minutes nearly gave Rensselaer a lead heading into the second half. At 3:50 to go, the crowd gasped as the ball entered Vassar’s goal zone, free of Brewers at the time. The ball’s intended trajectory was not achieved, however, when the ball went screaming right over the net towards the football goalpost. With 2:54 left, Baughen took another shot, but Vassar’s goalie captured it. Finally, at 1:54 left, there was a little squabble when Baughen, Glasner, and Vassar’s goalie all collided to the left of the goal as Baughen sought to kick the ball towards the center for a shot.
At 6:20 into the second period, the clock stopped and RPI was given an indirect kick at Vassar’s goal. The shot went into the net, but was not counted in the score. 8:40 in, the ball was being kicked around in Vassar’s goal zone, but the goalie couldn’t get his hands on it, giving the Engineers a chance to score. The Engineers missed both opportunities to give Vassar a deficit.
With 9:06 left, Vassar forward Tom Wiechert snatched the ball and brought in down the center of the field. Despite having two Rensselaer athletes running alongside him, they were slightly behind him, so he was able to usher the ball right up to the goal and slam it in. The score stuck at 2-1 Vassar for the rest of the game, but what enraged the crowd the most was when with 7:10 left, an indirect kick was awarded to RPI, and they originally scored, but the score was shortly thereafter revoked.
Hopefully the Engineers have better luck when they challenge the Keene State Owls at home Wednesday, October 28 at 7 pm.