Red Dragons edge Bears, 1-0

10.04.13

POTSDAM, N.Y.—SUNY Cortland (5-5, 2-1 SUNYAC) scored a late first half goal and held off the SUNY Potsdam men's soccer team (6-5, 0-2) 1-0 at Maxcy Hall Turf Field on Friday afternoon.

The play was fairly even in the first half, but Cortland had the better chances. Nearly 12 minutes in, senior forward Bryan Merlos (Harrison, N.Y./Harrison) directed a Red Dragon free kick to the left of the goal off the crossbar. However, Potsdam cleared the ball out of harms way. In the 24th minute, Cortland junior midfielder Thomas Nocito (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) caught a long pass and slipped past a Bear defender. Potsdam senior goalie Stefan Sloma (Niskayuna, N.Y./Niskayuna) charged out and blocked the shot. About 10 minutes later, Red Dragon forward Dillon Johnson (Northport, N.Y./Northport) used his speed on the outside of the field to break free. Again, Sloma came out to meet him and Johnson fired the ball of the post. Potsdam's best opportunity came off a shot from sophomore forward Stephen Auyer (Oswego, N.Y./Oswego) earlier in the period. Cortland junior goalie Tim Beauvais (Hilton, N.Y./Hilton) made the save, redirecting the ball with his hands and the Red Dragons cleared it from their end. Cortland finally broke through with just 17 seconds left in the period, as Johnson finished a pass from junior defender Darren McCormack (Dublin, Ireland/Fial Community).

Potsdam had several strong changes early early in the second half, resulting in near misses. Cortland evened the play with more offensive chances of its own. They were met with stiff resistance from Bears defenders and Sloma. The play got more physical as the clock ticked down. Three yellow cards were awarded in the middle of the half. In the final third in the period, Potsdam continually moved the ball into the Red Dragon end, but struggled to get great scoring opportunities. Cortland had a couple chances late, but Sloma came up with two more big saves. With under three minutes to play, Bears sophomore defender Alex Griffith (Rochester, N.Y./Rush-Henrietta) sent a shot toward the top of the net, but Beauvais tipped it over the crossbar to preserve the shutout.

Sloma finished with six saves in his first career start, while Beauvais matched him to earn the shutout. The Red Dragons edged the Bears in shots 16-13 and finished with seven corner kicks to Potsdam's one.

The Bears look to bounce back tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. as they host Oswego State.