ALBANY – Sage men's soccer beat Cazenovia College 4-0 in their home opener to garner head coach Keith Simons his first win at the helm of the program.
In the first few minutes of the game, Sage (1-1-1) senior Anthony Williamson (Beacon, NY/Beacon) played a ball down the left sideline to junior Heriberto Gomez (Valatie, NY/Ichabod Crane). Gomez took the ball down deep into the left side of the Wildcat territory before he crossed the ball into the box. The cross was deflected out for a Sage corner. Senior Lai Le (Walnut, CA/Walnut) played the corner kick on the ground to the top right corner of the penalty box to junior Kevin Saar (Binghamton, NY/Windsor Central) who found the back of the net for his seventh career goal.
Cazenovia's (1-1) Kyrollos Fekry took the Wildcat's first shot in the 6th minute, but it was a slow roller to Sage keeper Caelan Kohut (Ancram, NY/Hudson). Ten minutes later, Saar played a ball over to sophomore River Seybolt (Seldon, NY/Longwood). Seybolt tried to up Sage's lead, but Cazenovia's keeper, Tom Nicholls, was high off his line and prevented Seybolt's breakaway.
Cazenovia had their first big chance of the contest in the 18th minute when Jake Robson hit a high floater off a free kick into the penalty box, but no one got a touch on the ball and it rolled wide. Sage responded three minutes later when Saar played another ball over the top of the Wildcat backline, but Cazenovia's Sam Sharpe made a play to prevent Seybolt from 1vs1 with Nicholls. In the 23rd minute, Robson had a free kick on frame for Cazenovia, but Kohut made the save again.
Sage had a dangerous opportunity in the 36th minute when a ball was played over the top to sophomore Sarpong Adjei (Bronx, NY/DeWitt Clinton) but Nicholls came out to the top of the penalty box and punch the ball out before Adjei could get a touch on it.
In the 38th minute, Sage's Liam Hayes (Rensselaer, NY/Columbia) found the far right corner of the Cazenovia goal on a square pass from junior Derlis Zayas (White Plains, NY/White Plains). Barely over a minute later, Zayas put the Gators up 3-0 when he received a pass from Hayes.
With the ball at midfield in the 50th minut, senior Christian Pinti (Slate Hill, NY/Minisink Valley) played a ball over the top to Seybolt. Seybolt had a 1vs1 with Nicholls in goal, but the keeper tipped the ball out of bounds with his outstretched hand. The deflection led to a Sage corner, and sophomore Ryan Fairweather (Middletown, NY/Minisink Valley) scored a header from four yards out off a second Le assist.
Sage kept the pressure on, and senior Alex Lanza (Poughkeepsie, NY/Spackenkill) brought the ball byline and hit a hard cross to Hayes in the 54th minute. The sophomore hit a volley at the penalty mark, but the shot went just high.
After four straight Sage shots, Cazenovia's Jonathan Cardenas got off a shot in the 69th minute, but Kohut kept the shutout alive. Sage responded in the 74th minute when Hayes played a ball over the top to Adjei, but Nicholls came 30 yards off his line to clear the ball out of the Wildcat end.
The Gators outshot Cazenovia 19-3 and were led by Seybolt, Hayes, Saar and Victoria in shots. Kohut (1-1-1) was credited with the win on three saves while Nicholls (1-1) picked up the loss on seven saves. Kohut and freshman Mike Chiaravalloti (Torrington, CT/Oliver Wolcott) split the shutout with the help of defensemen Pinti, Fairweather, Williamson, Joe Diano(Hopewell Junction, NY/John Jay), Nathan Ficht (Poughkeepsie, NY/Spackenkill) and Louis Cox (Albany, NY/Colonie Central).
Le's two assists tie him for sixth in most assists in a single game in Sage history.
Sage's next game will be on the road at SUNY-Cortland on Sat. Sept., 10. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.