The men’s soccer team improved its Empire 8 conference record to 3–1–0 and 2–7–1 overall with a 2–0 win over the Houghton College Highlanders on Oct. 10 in Houghton, New York. With the win, the Bombers snapped their three-game losing streak and are now in first place in the Empire 8 conference standings.
Neither team was able to generate much offense in the early minutes, but that soon changed when the Bombers drew a penalty kick in the 10th minute, which junior forward Sam Boylan converted to give the Bombers an early 1–0 lead. It was Boylan’s second goal of the season.
The squad was able to increase its lead to 2–0 in the 16th minute when junior midfielder Brandon Thompson put a soft shot behind Houghton’s junior goalkeeper Jacob Dunnett from 6 yards out for his team leading fifth goal of the season. Freshman midfielder Matt Bukowski got the assist, his first of the season.
The Blue and Gold continued to generate chances following their second goal, but a pair of long range shots from senior back Joseph Dobbins off of corner kicks went wide of the net.
Freshman midfielder Nathan Schoen hit the crossbar with another long range shot a few moments later. The Highlanders responded with some pressure of their own later in the half, but were unable to get one past junior goalkeeper Zach Jacobson, who made three saves in the first half.
Thompson went down with an apparent leg injury late in the first half after colliding with Houghton’s Jacob Dunnett in the penalty box and limped off the field. He did not return to the game.
Early in the second half, the two sides traded chances up and down the field, with the Bombers controlling much of the possession and the Highlanders attempting to get behind the defense with long balls over the top, but neither were able to produce any goals. Jacobson made a fantastic save on Houghton’s sophomore midfielder Ben Muntittrick to keep the Highlanders off the board, and Dunnett responded with a great save of his own on a shot from Bukowski.
Despite being ahead, the Blue and Gold kept the pressure on throughout the second half. Freshman midfielder Zachary Litchman and senior midfielder Blair Carney both had shots on goal, but were unable to find the back of the net, and Boylan hit the post with a shot of his own.
Houghton’s freshman forward Ben Lawrence appeared to be injured late in the second half after a hard foul from junior forward Cobi Byrne, who received a yellow card on the play. Lawrence returned to the game shortly thereafter.
The Highlanders were able to put a little pressure on the Ithaca defense in the game’s final minutes, but were unable to put one past Jacobson, who made nine saves to record his second shutout of the season.
The Bomber’s next game is Oct. 17, when they visit Empire 8 conference foe Nazareth College in Rochester, New York.