MARCY, N.Y. - The Wildcat men's soccer team lost their home opener on Friday to cross-town rival Utica College 0-1. The game was as exciting as anticipated with the teams holding each other scoreless for 86 minutes. The deciding goal was scored by Utica's Alex Purcell in the 86th minute of regulation.
The Wildcat's had quite a few opportunities to put a number on the board, the most promising being on a penalty kick in the closing moments of the first half. Jeremiah Besse (Delmar, N.Y.) was the man taking the shot after being fouled hard in the box in the 40th minute. The PK shot by Besse was a hard hit ball to the left side of the goal. Pioneer goalie Jonathan Side had to make a great play to make the save, and did just that. The sophomore read the kick perfectly and made a beautiful diving save to keep the Wildcats scoreless and the game tied at 0-0.
The 86th minute is when the game was decided. After a SUNY Poly corner kick was deflected by Utica's defensive unit, Patrick Hynes gathered the deflection for Utica and sent it up field to Julian Fonseca who placed a fantastic through ball to junior Alex Purcell. Purcell gathered the ball, beat one defensemen and knocked a grounder at the net past a hard charging Alexander Gigliotti (Burnt Hills, N.Y.). The shot snuck just under the outstretched body of Gigliotti and found the lower right corner of the net for what would be the game winning goal.
Gigliotti played very well in his first collegiate game in goal. The freshman made two saves on three shots and made a handful of aggressive defensive plays to thwart the Pioneer attack.
As a team, the Wildcats put six of their 10 shots on goal compared to three of 13 on goal for Utica.
When asked about the outcome of the game, Wildcat Head Coach Peterson Jerome said "our guys played hard tonight against a team with a lot of veteran leadership. I was happy with the way our defensive unit played and I think that we will come out of this game stronger on both sides of the ball."
The loss was the first of the season for the Wildcats who are now 0-1 in 2017. The Pioneers earned their first win of the season improving to 1-0. The Wildcats will be back in action on Tuesday when they travel north to take on Castleton State. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 PM start and will be streamed live on NSN. The link for the game can be found on the Wildcats schedule page.