Sports | Soccer

Men's soccer hits the road, searches for first Ivy win

  • Kiera Wood / Senior Staff Photographer
    Tough Tony | The Lions, led by Antonio Matarazzo—who scored the winning goal against Binghamton on Wednesday—will try to earn their first Ivy win of the season.

Men’s soccer (6-4-2, 0-1-2 Ivy) will visit Dartmouth (5-3-4, 0-3 Ivy) on Saturday as both teams search for their first Ivy win.

The Lions and the Big Green have followed a strong nonconference season with an underwhelming first three weeks of Ivy play. 

Dartmouth was undefeated before getting dominated by Princeton, Yale, and Penn. The Big Green recovered for a midweek win over Colgate on Tuesday, though, using a second-half goal to win the tight game. Forward Alex Adelabu leads the team with four goals.

Meanwhile, Columbia won five in a row before tying Brown, managing a draw with Penn—sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Jackson had to stop a penalty kick in overtime to preserve the tie—and getting dominated by Princeton as well.

The Lions recovered as well, though, dispatching Binghamton 2-1 on Wednesday. Sophomore midfielder Antonio Matarazzo tallied the winning goal with less than 15 seconds left to give Columbia the win in a game it controlled from the opening whistle. The goal pulled Matarazzo into a tie for the team lead in goals with senior midfielder David Najem and senior striker Will Stamatis, at four each.

“The coaches are really emphasizing that we need to take it one game at a time,” Matarazzo said. “So we just need to keep possession like we did today, keep creating chances, and defensively we need to be solid at the back.”

The team didn’t lack for possession in the Bearcats’ goal box, but it was frequently guilty of holding onto the ball for too long, working the ball into bad angles while trying to find the perfect pass. That sort of play led to Columbia’s opening goal from first-year forward Nicholas Pappacena, who tapped in Najem’s pass from a sharp angle, but it also led to many potentially dangerous attacks ending up as easy saves and clears for Binghamton.

Nonetheless, the sheer amount of possession was a positive sign for a team that hasn’t been able to control the ball for long stretches of play since its conference opener three weeks ago. Pappacena said the team had more intensity offensively.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Hanover, N.H. 

muneeb.alan@columbiaspectator.com | @muneebalamcu

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