The SUNY Oneonta men’s soccer season came to a close Sunday, Nov. 17, as Messiah jumped out to a 2-0 lead and eventually dealt the Red Dragons a 4-1 defeat in the second round of the NCAA tournament at Red Dragon Field.
“You have to acknowledge Messiah,” Oneonta coach Iain Byrne said in a media release. “They are a great team and good to watch. We matched them stride for stride in the first half, but couldn’t sustain the effort in the second.”
The Falcons’ first goal came off the foot of sophomore Lucas Kokolios in the 21st minute. Kokolios took a pass from senior Micah Fitz before taking a touch and hitting a shot that deflected off Oneonta goalkeeper Francesco Scotti’s hands and into the back of the net.
Messiah struck for its second goal four minutes later when junior Trevor Goodling broke free behind the Oneonta defense to reach a pass from Reid Ruark. Goodling arrived in time to chip it over a charging Scotti and the ball looked like it was going wide left, but hit the left post and came back to Goodling for his 11th goal of the season.
Oneonta answered ten minutes later. Sophomore Jeremy Pantoni controlled the ball just outside the box and sent a pass across the front of the goal, where it took a deflection and fell to senior Witman Hernandez for the finish.
The goal was Hernandez’s 26th goal of the season, which leads all NCAA divisions. Hernandez tallied at least one goal in each of his last eight games, scoring twice on five occasions and tallying the game-winner for the Red Dragons on six.
The Falcons scored twice in the second half to pull away. Ruark nodded home a header on a corner kick in the 65th minute before Grant Johnson converted a penalty kick in the 75th minute.
After holding an 8-7 advantage in shots through the first half, Oneonta was outshot, 14-5, in the second half. The Falcons generated seven corner kicks to Oneonta’s one.
Scotti recorded a pair of saves while Nate Flanders made one stop for Messiah.
The Red Dragons finish as SUNYAC regular-season and tournament champions with a record of 18-3. The 18 wins tie for the program’s third most, matching the 2011 squad.
“It’s been a great season and our seniors can go out with their heads held high,” Byrne said.
Wilkes 3, SUNY Cobleskill 1
SUNY Cobleskill ended its season Saturday, Nov. 16, with a 3-1 loss to the host Colonels of Wilkes University in the opening round of the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III Men’s Soccer Tournament.
Trailing by one early in the second half, the Fighting Tigers equalized in the 49th minute as Mame Amar charged into the box before finding Emile Vwaza for an easy finish at the back post.
Wilkes goals in the 69th and 75th minute extended a lead Cobleskill did not threaten despite finishing with a 17-12 advantage in shots.
The Fighting Tigers close the campaign with a 9-7-4 record. That record and the accompanying .550 winning percentage, along with a second ECAC bid in four years, represents the program’s best season since moving to NCAA Division III in 2008.