The men’s soccer team earned its first wins of the season this weekend, taking down previously unbeaten La Salle and Saint Francis (Pa.). Playing in Philadelphia on Sept. 7, the Bison received second half goals from CK Kumah ’13 and Josh Plump ’13 to carry the team to a 2-1 victory over the Explorers. Two days later, the Orange and Blue shutout a strong St. Francis squad 1-0, bringing their record to 2-1-2 on the season.
“After having three games go into overtime and not coming away with a win, it was crucial for us to win these two games,” Plump said. “The team did a good job following the game plan and getting the results that matter the most.”
Despite being outshot by La Salle 23-16, the Bison were able to come away with the win behind another stellar performance in goal by Mike Lansing ’16. Lansing, who has registered 34 saves in five games this season, recorded nine against the Explorers and did not surrender a goal until the 69th minute.
The game remained goalless until the 57th minute of play, but the Bison were able to get two quick goals within a minute. Kumah’s goal came off of a corner kick set, where the midfielder capitalized on a pass from Brendan Burgdorf ’13. Plump followed this by dribbling past four defenders and beating the keeper. The goals were the first of the season for both players.
“I think we’re really starting to flow as a team,” midfielder Chris Thorsheim ’16 said. “I believe to we need to continue to move the ball and be a possession-oriented team.”
Against Saint Francis, the Bison struck quickly when Josh Butzke ’14 scored his first goal of his career just six minutes into the game. Thorsheim earned his first career assist on the play.
“Finally getting my first goal was a huge relief,” Butzke said. “I always get a hard time from Coach Nash, especially on my shots, so this was a perfect chance to prove myself with a left-footed shot from 26 yards out.”
After a gaining a 10-3 shot advantage, the Bison saw a completely different Red Flash team in the second half. The Saint Francis squad turned the pressure on and held a 12-3 shot advantage in the second. The Orange and Blue relied on Lansing to come up big and he did, recording four of his five saves in the second half to earn his first career shutout. Lansing was later named Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week.
“The thing that we need to do better is play a full 90 minutes of consistently great soccer,” Butzke said. “We dominated Saint Francis in the first half and then something happened in the second half that just wasn’t right, and we played poor, but fortunately we pulled it out.”
Getting their first wins, the Orange and Blue are confident that they can compete with their Patriot League counterparts as well as on a national scale. The team has two more games this weekend before they begin league play, and it will be important for them to continue to play at a high level.
“People think just because we’re in the Patriot League, we can’t compete with the other big schools,” said Butzke. “I completely disagree and I think we have a Top 25 program here, easily. I don’t want to jinx anything, but I think we are rolling now and I think this group is going to do something this year that has never been done before.”
The Bison play their first regular season home games this weekend against Adelphi tonight and Albany on Sunday.