Bears upend Blue Devils, 3-2
POTSDAM, N.Y.—The SUNY Potsdam men's soccer team (8-6-1, 2-3-1 SUNYAC) scored two second half goals to defeat Fredonia State (4-9-1, 1-4-1) 3-2 at Maxcy Turf Field on Friday afternoon. Junior midfielder Alex Minsker (Brewster, N.Y./Brewster) had a goal and an assist to lead the Bears. The win is Potsdam's first over the Blue Devils since Oct. 8, 2005 and snaps a six-game winless streak against Fredonia.
Both offenses started quickly in the contest. Just 4:18 into the game, Potsdam sophomore forward Tom Benedetto (Queensbury, N.Y./Queensbury) fed Minsker who evaded sliding Blue Devil junior goalie A.J. Grecco (Buffalo, N.Y./St. Joseph's Collegiate) and tapped it home for a 1-0 lead. Just over a minute later, Fredonia defender Mike Biggane (Amherst, N.Y./Sweet Home) headed home a corner kick from senior defender Jakob Persons (Albany, N.Y./Columbia) to knot the score. Each team had opportunities over the remainder of the half, but entered the break tied at 1-1.
The Blue Devils had a flurry of shots seven minutes into the second half, but Bears junior goalkeeper Alex Pavone (Churchville, N.Y./Churchville-Chili) came up with three big saves to keep the score even. Potsdam answered at the 53:30 mark. Minsker launched a corner kick into traffic in front of the Fredonia goal and freshman defender Chris Schrum (Roosevelt Island, N.Y./Millenium) buried it for his first career tally. At 73:00, sophomore forward Stephen Auyer (Oswego, N.Y./Oswego) beat a Blue Devil defender, stepped around Grecco and scored to put Potsdam up 3-1. With 13 minutes left, Persons clanged a shot of the post, but Potsdam cleared the rebound. At 82:27, Fredonia senior midfielder Jay Dry (Lockport, N.Y./Lockport) cut the gap to 3-2 with a helper from senior midfielder Luke Tylutki (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford-Mendon). Auyer appeared to score his second of the game moments later, but the goal was waved off for a Potsdam foul. The Bears continued the pressure over the final minutes to seal the victory.
Pavone finished with seven saves for his second career win, while Grecco finished with six saves for the Blue Devils. Fredonia edged Potsdam 16-15 in shots and 6-4 in corner kicks. Minsker now has five points in his last two games (2g-1a-3pts.)
The victory was the Bears' eighth of the season, the most since 2002 and one shy of the program's single season record set in 1983 (9-6).
"We started quickly, but after that, they (Fredonia) were more active to the ball," said Potsdam Head Coach Adam Parker. "We were both close to a postseason spot, so they were playing like it was a playoff game in the first half and we weren't. But Pavone made three big saves early in the second half to keep the score tied. Then we just started winning a lot of the first and second balls. Andrew Doody (Brunswick, N.Y./Tamarac) was always in the right spot in the center midfield. He settled the game down and got the ball to our playmakers. Cliff Bondi (Guilderland, N.Y./Guilderland) was also dangerous today. When that happened, our backs were a lot more confident and kept Fredonia from being too dangerous after that. Everybody that played in the second half deserves a lot of credit today."
Potsdam is back in action tomorrow at 1 p.m. when the Bears host Buffalo State.