The Ithaca College men’s soccer team opened up the 2017 Liberty League season in Potsdam, New York, falling to Clarkson University 2–1. The Bombers are now 4–3–1 on the year.
The Bombers wasted no time settling into their new league. From the start, they dominated possession and had several scoring opportunities. Junior midfielder Nate Schoen’s half-volley off a corner hit a post.
Junior striker Nate Mansfield opened the scoring after 15 minutes. Clarkson’s goalkeeper Ian Roeloffs could only watch as Mansfield’s header soared over his head.
Mansfield nearly added to his tally minutes later when he latched onto the end of senior midfielder and captain Eric Hepler’s free kick from about 25 yards out. Manfield’s header just missed over the goal.
The Blue and Gold continued to dominate possession for much of the first half. A scoring opportunity came for the Bombers in the 36th minute when freshman midfielder Luke Karen found himself by the goal. Karen beat a Clarkson defender to the byline, before the ball was parried out for a Bombers’ corner.
The home side came to life in the remaining 10 minutes of the first half, gaining confidence in possession and putting the Bombers’ backline under increasing pressure.
Clarkson eventually found an equalizer with a minute remaining in the half. Sophomore midfielder Erick Naula slotted the ball past senior goalkeeper Dan Hinckley for his first of the season, and Clarkson’s first of the game.
Clarkson picked up in the second half right where they left off, stringing passes together and dribbling hard at the Bombers’ defenders.
Senior forward Kevin Calnan nearly put the Golden Knights ahead in the 51st minute, after the forward weaved past the Bombers’ defenders on route to goal. Hinckley came out strong to avert the danger and force a corner.
Perhaps the best chance for either side came in the 72nd minute, when Clarkson forward Jon Jones’s shot rang off the crossbar. Jones’s effort was followed up with a shot from teammate sophomore forward Aidan Subra, who saw his shot palmed away by Hinckley.
Hinckley stood tall throughout the day, making three big saves in the contest.
Jones redeemed himself in the 79th minute with a header that nestled into the far corner of the South Hill squad’s net. Jones’s goal was enough for Clarkson, who cut off several Bomber onslaughts at the end and recorded their first league win of the season.
The Bombers return to action against St. Lawrence University at 2 p.m. Sept. 30 at Carp Wood Field.