Oneonta State’s men and women will play for automatic NCAA Division III Tournament berths Saturday as both soccer teams advanced to the championship matches of their respective SUNY Athletic Conference tournaments Friday.
Oneonta’s men earned a 2-1 semifinal victory over New Paltz for a chance to defend their SUNYAC Tournament crown against top-seeded tournament host Plattsburgh (17-2-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday. Plattsburgh beat visiting Cortland State, 4-2, in Friday’s other semifinal.
The Red Dragons’ women won their semifinal against Fredonia, 3-1, at Roberts Wesleyan University. O-State will attempt to win its first conference tournament championship since 2010 at 1 p.m. Saturday back at Roberts Wesleyan, where it will face Cortland (10-4-5) – a 1-0 semifinal winner over 18th-ranked Brockport.
Both Oneonta teams are seeded second and lost to their respective championship opponents during the regular season. O-State’s men fell, 3-2 in overtime, to Plattsburgh on Oct. 6. O-State’s women lost, 2-1 in overtime, to Cortland on Sept. 22.
O-State 2, Fredonia 1
Freshman Jake Sutherland scored the decisive goal in the 55th minute for the Red Dragons (12-5-1), who reached the NCAA Division III Tournament semifinals after winning the SUNYAC Tournament last season.
O-State fell into a 1-0 hole when Harrison Lane converted a pass from Mateo Cordini in the 15th minute for New Paltz (11-8-1).
Oneonta junior Luke Halberg scored the equalizer off a cross from freshman Colin Volpe in the 30th minute.
Sutherland followed with the go-ahead goal in the second half, winning a header before beating a defender and sliding a shot past the keeper.
“We responded well after falling behind early, but we were far from our best today,” O-State coach Iain Byrne said. “While there were many disappointing performances, Jake turned our team around with a virtuoso performance off the bench.”
Winning goalie Daniel DeBottis made two saves for his sixth victory of the season.