Bill Ziskin

Menís Soccer Draws 2-2 With Marist In Season Opener

UAlbany Sports Information   08-26-2016

ALBANY, N.Y. – The University at Albany (0-0-1) opened its defense of the America East regular season title Friday, hosting in-state rival Marist College (0-0-1) in the first meeting between the two teams since 2008.  The Great Danes played the Red Foxes to a 2-2 draw in double overtime on a warm and humid August evening which began to take its toll on both teams.

“It’s typical of an opening game, off a short preseason, and on a warm night,” said head coach Trevor Gorman.  “You saw some guys out there dealing with cramps and fatigue.”

The Great Danes just missed a chance to score early in the game off a missed header from a cross from the right side.  The game would remain scoreless through the duration of the first half.

UAlbany took advantage of its first scoring chance early in the second half, when junior forward Afonso Pinheiro broke through the defense on the left side and smoothly placed the ball past the Marist keeper, Mark Rajovic (0-0-1), into the right side netting.  Marist responded 11 minutes later to tie the game 1-1, and then took the lead three minutes later with a rebound volley from a Marist corner kick.

“I thought the guys played well, had a good first half.  A couple of our guys went down with injury and then Marist had a good eight-minute stretch where they scored their goals.  The second goal for them was fantastic.”

UAlbany was not finished, however.  In the 84th minute, senior defender Luke Palmateer took a header off a UAlbany throw in for a score to tie the game 2-2.  Senior midfielder Pedro Espindola placed the ball perfectly for Palmanteer with his throw into the box.

The Danes kept the pressure on for the remainder of regulation and overtime, but ultimately the clock wound down to zero with the score knotted at two.

“I’m proud we kept going and equalized the game, and had the better of chances to win,” Gorman said. “We are disappointed not to get the win on our home field but you can’t be anything but pleased with the performance.”

UAlbany outshot Marist 21-12 over the course of the game, including 5-1 in the second overtime period.  The team also took nine corner kicks to Marist’s three.  UAlbany redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Danny Vitiello (0-0-1) recorded five saves, and wasn’t tested in in either overtime.  The team will now have a short respite to recover from Friday’s game before they host Lafayette College on Tuesday in their second consecutive home game to kick off the season.

“We just try to get better every game,” said Gorman.  “Now we try to build to game fitness, and take the good things we do and make them a little better.”

Such a short turnaround doesn’t necessarily offer a significant opportunity to make big changes, but Coach Gorman doesn’t think big changes need to be made after what he saw tonight.

“We’ll make a couple of tweaks here and there, but nothing drastic,” said Gorman.  “We did a lot of good things tonight.  We just have to have confidence that the goals will come for us.”

UAlbany will host Lafayette (0-1-0) on Tuesday, August 30 at 7:00 p.m.  The Leopards also opened their season on Friday with double-overtime, succumbing to Saint Francis-Brooklyn by a score of 1-0.

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