Bears derail Engineers, 2-1
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.—The SUNY Potsdam men's soccer team (5-2) rallied from a 1-0 deficit to defeat Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (4-2) 2-1 in the second round of the Liberty League-SUNYAC Challenge at Skidmore on Saturday afternoon. The dynamic duo of Tom Benedetto and Eduardo Figueroa each scored in the Bears first ever win over the Engineers in five tries.
Potsdam held the edge in play in low scoring first half. Things were going according to plan until an RPI shot glanced off a Bears defender's hand in the box. The Engineers were awarded a penalty kick at 42:28 and Matt Koziol made the most of it. RPI led 1-0 at the break.
The play was even tighter in the second half as Potsdam fought to even the score. In the 50th minute, an Engineer fell on the ball in the box and Benedetto was awarded a penalty kick. He converted to tie the score. The Bears kept battling and Benedetto was awarded another penalty kick at 69:35. This time RPI goalkeeper Rob Dewald made the stop to keep the score knotted. Just 10 minutes later, Figueroa beat two Engineer defenders and buried the game-winner inside the left post. RPI had a final chance 55 seconds later, but Potsdam freshman goalie Nick Davies handled it. The Bears didn't allow another shot on goal over the final nine minutes.
RPI outshot Potsdam 15-13, but the Bears had four corner kicks to the Engineers' one. Davies made five stops to earn his fifth win, while Dewald made three saves in the loss.
After coming up short despite a strong effort on Friday, Potsdam Head Coach Adam Parker was very pleased with this afternoon's result.
"It was tough to play as well as we did in the first half and still be behind," said Parker. "And we missed a penalty kick, so it was good to see that we didn't quit. We overcame injuries this weekend and everyone executed and played their role. That's what makes this win so satisfying."
The Bears 5-2 start matches the program's best since 2003. Potsdam's best start ever was a 6-0 stretch to begin the 2002 season.
The Bears are back in action when they travel to Canton to face 20th-ranked St. Lawrence University at 4 p.m. on Friday.