The men’s soccer team lost its first match of Empire 8 conference play Saturday, losing 1–0 against Nazareth College at Carp Wood Field.
After alternating halves between senior Justin Parlapiano and junior Evan Kirshner in the Bombers’ 0–0 draw against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute last Saturday and their 1–0 win over Marywood University on Wednesday, Head Coach Andy Byrne kept Parlapiano in goal for the entire game Saturday and Parlapiano responded by saving three of the four shots on goal Nazareth recorded in the game.
Early in the second half, a foul on Ithaca resulted in a corner kick for the Golden Flyers by freshman Nazareth midfielder James Wheeler, whose pass to fellow freshman Nazareth midfielder Ryan Foley was headed in on the left side of the goal from eight yards out in the 60th minute, giving Nazareth a 1–0 advantage.
Minutes before Foley’s goal, the Bombers nearly took the lead on two separate scoring chances. In the 53rd minute, sophomore forward Colton Wigsten’s shot went high off the crossbar, followed a minute later by a similar shot by freshman forward James Shankland. Despite losing the game, the Bombers outshot the Golden Flyers 13–8.
The wind at Carp Wood Field was a continual factor throughout the game, altering several shots on both ends of the field but senior midfielder and co-captain Matt Baluzy, who led the team with three shots, including one shot on goal, said the weather wasn’t too much of a distraction for the team.
“It affected it a little bit”, Baluzy said. “But we’re used to it just because it’s pretty much almost always windy up here so it was just another game on another day.”
Shankland, who recorded two shots, said the team has to work on executing the scoring opportunities when they are presented.
“We were getting the opportunities but we weren’t finishing them out”, he said. “That’s all it is just finishing the chances. We don’t get that many so we’ve got to close them. They closed theirs and that’s the difference.”
Sophomore back Ryan Norland said the Bombers definitely had a different mindset in their conference opener than in their previous seven games.
“Whenever we’re going to play our conference, we need to approach it differently because it’s going to be a higher intensity game,” Norland said. “There definitely aren’t going to be as many opportunities because it’s a higher intensity game. The chances that we have, we have to finish. We got two on the post so hopefully next time, they’ll go in.”
With the loss at home, the Bombers fall to 1–4–3 on the season overall and 0–1 Empire 8 play. The Bombers’ next game is at 5 p.m. Saturday against St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, N.Y.