The No. 3 Ithaca College men’s soccer team was defeated in penalty kicks in the Liberty League Conference final by No. 1 Saint Lawrence University on Nov. 4. The score at the end of regulation and both overtimes was tied 1–1, but the Saints took the win after the shoot-out.
The Saints played aggressively in their offensive end from the first whistle, while the Bombers tried a more defensive approach. Although St. Lawrence took five shots to the South Hill squad’s two in the first half, they landed only one of those on goal. They also gave up four corner kicks. Both shots by Blue and Gold were on goal and they ceded just one corner to the Saints. At halftime, the game was scoreless.
In the second half, the two teams were evenly matched throughout the 45 minutes. Each tallied five shots, though the Bombers put three on goal while St. Lawrence had two. The Blue and Gold also earned five corner kicks to the Saints’ two.
In the 50th minute, the Saints were the first team on the scoreboard. Senior defender Brendan McNamee played a pass across the box where junior defender Aidan Callahan drilled it across the front of the net and into the lower right corner.
The South Hill squad did not wait long to respond. In the 58th minute, sophomore striker Jonathan Kyriakidis played through to freshman midfielder Alex Leahy. Leahy sent a hard cross into the box where junior striker Kevin Turi knocked a quick header into the back of the cage. This was Turi’s second goal of the weekend, when his first was the winning goal in the Liberty League semi-final against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Nov. 3.
The Blue and Gold had another chance in the 82nd minute. Junior midfielder Jack Monnes took a long shot from outside of the box that appeared poised to make it into the net, but the Saints’ goalkeeper, senior Mike Smith, punched it over the top of the goal at the last moment. Neither team was able to finish however, and the score remained 1–1 at the end of regulation. The Bombers went into overtime for the seventh time this season.
St. Lawrence came out hard in the first overtime. The South Hill squad was unable to get a single shot off, while the Saints had seven opportunities during the 10 minutes. Just a minute and a half into play, St. Lawrence senior striker Tapshak Augustine took a long shot that went wide to the right of the net. The Saints were then awarded a free kick in the 93rd minute, which resulted in a low shot that was recovered by sophomore goalkeeper Max Lichtenstein. Lichtenstein made another save in the 94th minute, leaping to snag a St. Lawrence corner kick coming into the box.
In the 96th minute, the Saints were given another free kick after Kevin Turi received a yellow card. Lichtenstein again had to jump to make the save. Soon after, he made another play, coming far off of his line to knock the ball out of bounds to prevent a breakaway by the Saints.
Two more unsuccessful corner kicks in the 97th and 98th minutes for the Saints ended the first overtime period. The score remained 1–1.
The Bombers regained some momentum in the second overtime. They matched the Saints with two shots apiece and took the only corner kick of the period. Senior striker Nate Mansfield took shots in both the 101st and 104th minutes but was not able to find the back of the net. The Blue and Gold had another opportunity when St. Lawrence sophomore midfielder Miguel Ridruejo was given a yellow card, but they failed to capitalize on the resulting free kick. The Saints’ best opportunity came less than a minute before the end of overtime when freshman Robert Reynolds shot low from within the penalty box, but Lichtenstein came up with the save. Play ended at 1–1, and the game moved into penalty kicks.
The Bombers shot first, leading with senior midfielder Nate Schoen. Schoen’s shot was saved by Smith. The Saints went up 1–0 after senior midfielder Jethro Dede tucked his shot in the bottom left corner as Lichtenstein dove to the right.
Turi evened up the score with a shot to the bottom right corner, but St. Lawrence took the lead again as McNamee hammered a shot into the center of the net.
Smith came up with another save against Monnes to maintain the Saints’ lead, but Lichtenstein kept the South Hill squad in competition for the win as he made the save on a low left-side shot by Ridruejo.
Smith shut down the Blue and Gold again by blocking the shot by sophomore defender Luke Karen. The Saints’ senior striker Charlton Kelly ended the game, driving a shot into the top right corner that bounced off the crossbar and down behind the goal line to give St. Lawrence the win in penalty kicks with a score of 3–1.
The Bombers finished second in the Liberty League tournament with an overall league record of 5–2–2. The bracket for the NCAA Championship tournament will be released at 1 p.m. Nov. 5.