CANTON After being shocked by how poorly it played in the season opener, the St. Lawrence University mens soccer team responded with a 1-0 overtime win Saturday over SUNY Cortland in a Lotto Classic game at Sandy MacAllaster Field.
The Saints (1-1), who reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, were beaten 4-1 by No. 13 Stevens Tech on Friday, giving up two goals in the first four minutes of the game.
SLU came close to a winless first weekend, but claimed their first win of the season Saturday when Morgan Smith capitalized on a defensive blunder by a SUNY Cortland player and scored on a one-on-one breakaway against Red Dragons goalie Tim Beauvais in the 104th minute.
In practice coach (Bob Durocher) has been telling us the center forward has got to put pressure on the keeper, Smith said. The keeper played (well)all game, but the center back gave him a weak ball and I just had coach playing in my head, so I took it right from there. I think we worked hard all game, and I felt like we should have put one in (in regulation). I think we deserved that one.
The numbers agree with Smiths statement that SLU deserved the win.
The Saints outshot SUNY Cortland 25-10, including a 16-6 margin in the second half and overtime.
Smith nearly scored 18 minutes into the game but Beauvais made a diving save to stop the shot. Just one minute later a kick from Jamal Samaroo drilled off the top crossbar, and Harry Copeland headed a shot just over the cross bar in the 32nd minute.
SLU played even better in the second half, forcing Beauvais to have to make five saves. And the Saints continued to just miss scoring chances, as a shot from Rob Brandell was tipped just over the bar by Beauvais in the 68th minute.
We were ready to go, SLUs Mark Provost said. Being embarrassed on our field yesterday, we wanted revenge. We came out flying and it was definitely an improved performance. The chances were coming. We knew (a goal) was going to come eventually.
SLU, ranked 20th, knew it would have a tough game Friday it was just the margin of defeat on their own field that surprised the players.
The Saints only gave up 12 goals all season last year and got one-third of the way to that mark in just one game. SLU gave up three goals in the first half Friday after allowing only four goals in the first half last year.
Yesterday was just tough, SLUs Andrew Bednarsky said. The hardest one is always the first one. We didnt come out hard in the first 15 (minutes). Thats the first time in my entire career that we gave up two goals in five minutes.
SLU lost its two leading scorers from last year, Sam DeMello and Brian Gilloran, to graduation, so Durocher knew it would take a little time for his team to find its new go-to players.
We still made (Saturday) harder than we needed too, not to take anything away from Cortland, they battled hard, Durocher said. Were not even close to where we need to be to be able to compete. Guys are putting in the effort, but weve got some key pieces weve got to figure out. I was hoping we were further ahead. Yesterday we didnt even show up the first five minutes.
SUNY Cortland (0-2) was also motivated entering Saturdays game after blowing a 2-1 lead at halftime and losing 4-3 to Clarkson.
Yesterday was very tough and we bounced back well, Red Dragons coach Steve Axtell said. The guys showed a bit of heart today, which we lacked yesterday. St. Lawrence is a very good team and its a good test for us. Its unfortunate it had to end on a mistake, rather than a moment of brilliance, but, other than that, a good performance I think.