The men’s soccer team (4-2) put together its most dominant performance of the season on Wednesday, generating chance after chance—without sacrificing anything defensively—en route to a comfortable 3-0 win over LIU Brooklyn (1-6-1).
The Lions outshot the Blackbirds 30-6 (11-2 on goal) and got on the board less than 10 minutes into the second half. Sophomore midfielder Ron Zori stepped in from the left side, shot, and hit the post. The rebound bounced to senior striker Will Stamatis, who got the ball just over the goal line before the LIU goalkeeper could recover.
“I think that from the moment we scored, they went forward … and we got a little bit more chances there,” Zori said.
Zori had five shots on the night—three of which were in the 10 minutes after his shot-assist on Stamatis’ marker. The St. John’s transfer, who did not play a game when he was on the Red Storm roster, finally broke through in the 63rd minute, chipping a shot off the post and in for his first college goal.
“After a year of being ineligible, and not playing at all, it feels great,” Zori said. “I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time. I’m glad it happened.”
Throughout the game, it seemed like every time LIU tried to mount a counterattack after a Columbia chance, the Light Blue defense and midfield won the ball back before the Blackbirds were able to generate anything.
Sophomore defensive midfielder Antonio Matarazzo was a key part of the defensive effort. He went up for over a dozen headers in the first half alone, won almost all of them, and helped Columbia regain or maintain possession. From there, he attributed a big part of the team’s strong performance to smart runs and passing.
“Coaches always emphasize movement and angles and at the right time, so that’s what we try to implement on the field,” he said. “Guys up top are moving well, and the guys at the back are moving the ball well, too.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Jackson faced his first shot on net after 70 minutes and only had a couple of stressful moments before that. With 12 minutes left to play in the first half, junior midfielder Anton Wesener took a bad touch on the ball and accidentally split his own defense for Blackbirds midfielder Brian Alumbaugh. However, first-year Joe Morris and senior David Westlake managed to recover and prevent Alumbaugh from taking a shot. About midway through the second half LIU got a couple of good looks as the Lions failed to clear a free kick from the box, but both shot attempts were blocked.
Columbia plays its next nonconference game on Sunday at Fordham, followed by its first conference game on Saturday, Oct. 5 versus Brown.