By Craig HARVEY
OBSERVER Sports Editor
The Oswego Lakers and the Fredonia State Blue Devils are no strangers to overtime as they have combined for seven overtime games this season.
Unfortunately, the Blue Devils couldn’t find the back of the net in their fourth overtime game of the season, resulting in a 1-1 tie with the Lakers on Saturday at University Stadium in SUNYAC men’s college soccer action.
When the Blue Devils look back at Saturday’s game, they will reflect on the missed opportunities.
“It’s been our story,” Fredonia State coach P.J. Gondek said. “We certainly have not been the beneficiary of any breaks. With every team in the league, we are battling. Missed opportunities is a good way to put it right now. We have to take our chances when we get them and that hasn’t happened yet.”
It was Fredonia State’s second overtime game in as many days as they fell to Cortland on Friday, 1-0. And early on, it showed as the Blue Devils were unable to generate much offense and Oswego had most of the scoring chances throughout the opening 45 minutes.
“I think the key part is we lost in overtime to Cortland in a hard-fought game,” Gondek said. “It’s tough to come back mentally. I think we were very tired mentally and physically. We picked it up in the second half because we knew we had to. But in the end, it really wasn’t enough.”
Despite Fredonia State playing much better in the second half, it was the visitors who got on the board first.
Following a Fredonia State corner kick, which was poorly executed, Oswego’s Mike Naab intercepted the pass and took the ball the length of the field and fired a shot into the bottom left corner of the net for the 1-0 lead with 17:20 showing on the scoreboard.
“Teams like Oswego are basically going to play off their counters,” Gondek said. “They try to score before we can recover. Someone needed to step up and we just didn’t do it He got too deep and that’s how it works sometimes.”
Less than seven minutes later, the Blue Devils got the equalizer on a well-timed passing play. Following a tick-tack-toe passing display, Jakob Persons deflected a cross pass to teammate Mike Biggane, who rifled a shot into the net for the 1-1 tie.
“We were happy to get the goal back,” Gondek said. “It’s been our team – we don’t give up and we don’t quit. It’s hard to lose in overtime as many times as we have. We aren’t quitting and I like that. I don’t know if it was the way we drew it up, but we are really young team. We are playing freshmen all over the field. If you play freshmen, you’re going to have your good days and have your bad days. The bulk of our team is clearly sophomores and freshmen. We are a young team and we are going to have to fight through this and see where it goes.”
After the double-overtime, Oswego won the shootout, 5-4. The shootout is used only as a tiebreaker for seeding purposes.
Fredonia State returns to action next weekend when it travels to Potsdam and Plattsburgh.