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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 13, 2011

Blue Devils shut the door on Dutchmen soccer at home

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– The Dutchmen soccer team is having issues with scoring this season. On the other hand, the team isn’t giving up many goals.

At Snyder Field on Tuesday, every attack by Guilderland was either missed or sent back by Columbia’s stingy defense. Opportunities came and went, all unfinished, and the Dutch walked away with a dejecting 1-to-0 loss.

Guilderland (6-3-3) usually handles Columbia (3-7-1), a struggling team in recent years. In fact, Head Coach Mike Kinnally said that the Dutch haven’t lost to the Blue Devils in eight years. With the way the offense has struggled, Tuesday’s outcome may not have come as such a surprise.

“You don’t deserve to win if you don’t score,” said Kinnally, who has witnessed strange times in the Suburban Council this year. Six of the 12 teams have been held to 17 goals or less. Guilderland has scored only 16, but given up just 11.

Scoring differential has been a premium for division leaders Shenendehowa (11-1) and Bethlehem (8-0-3), each team giving up only seven goals apiece. Colonie, who has the most goals with 29, has four losses.

The Dutchmen have been shut out three times, while shutting an opponent out three other times. Twice the team has scored three goals, and in four games the Dutch scored just once. Only on two occasions has an opponent scored two goals against Guilderland (Saratoga and Shenendehowa).

“It’s been a unique year,” Kinnally said. “We haven’t scored this few goals in nine seasons. It’s not for a lack of effort.”

Guilderland, a possession team with strong play in the midfield, had legitimate scoring chances against Columbia. But, the Blue Devils’ goalie, Alex Morrison, and his defense routinely answered the call.

In the 25th minute, the ball was served into the box off a free kick and Peter Scatena collided with Morrison with a rebound to boot. Guilderland had an open net, but a defender was there to save the ball with his feet. Later in the first half, Nick Iuorno and Scatena both had clear attempts for the Dutch, but each one was off the mark.

“Our biggest problem is finishing,” Iuorno said after the loss. “I think we could be a little more physical, too.”

With about a minute-and-a-half left in the first half, Columbia’s hard work paid off. Ritchie Hetherington received a pass from Connor White, rocketing a high shot past diving Dutch keeper Kendrick Weeden.

“Guilderland is a good team, and their possession dominated us in the first game,” said Columbia Head Coach Lucas LaBarre. “We went hard to the ball.”

The Dutchmen stepped up intensity in the second half, but chances continued to be turned away or lost. Guilderland scored early in the half, but the goal was disallowed because Sam Mohr smashed into Morrison during the play.

Kinnally told The Enterprise that Guilderland usually has control in the other team’s third, but once the players go to goal, they knock it back. “The midfielders are still learning to go forward,” he said. “I have to teach them better.”

As the seconds were winding down in Tuesday’s game, looking for the equalizer, Vito Mesiti had the ball at his feet. He couldn’t pull the trigger before a Columbia defender slid in to steal the ball.

“Maybe we had an ego…and they proved us wrong,” Iuorno said. “It’s frustrating.”

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