LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – What a week it has been for the Siena Men’s Soccer program. The Saints began the week with the biggest win in program history, knocking off 15th ranked Ohio State Monday. Following a setback Thursday at Hartford, the Saints regrouped and took down their second foe from a BCS conference this week, defeating Syracuse 2-1 in overtime Sunday afternoon at Siena Turf Field.
“It’s a tremendous victory for us,” said head coach Gareth Elliott. “We had our backs against the wall for stretches of the game, but the guys certainly worked hard enough for the victory. The team has shown great resiliency playing four games in nine days and to win here in overtime with a never quit, never say die attitude is unbelievable.”
Sindre Ek netted the golden goal for the Saints (2-2) in the 94th minute, giving Siena their fifth win in their past six home matches dating back to last year. Additionally, Siena topped Syracuse (1-2) for a second straight season after the Orange had captured the first eight all-time meetings.
However, what turned into a spectacular match went almost for not. As soon as the opening whistle blew, the game was delayed just two seconds later due to thunder and lightning in the area. The game would ultimately resume after a one-hour and 15-minute delay.
When play picked back up, Joe Miner, the offensive hero from Monday’s triumph over the Buckeyes, struck again to get the Saints on the board first. In the 29th minute Sean Sullivan crossed in a pass from the right that found its way through traffic into the center of the box and on to the foot of Miner who blasted it home.
In the 74th minute, Syracuse finally broke through for the equalizer. After Skylar Thomas’ initial header hit the crossbar, Ted Cribley deflected the ball in traffic back to Thomas who headed the ball in just inside the near post past the sprawling Jack Binks.
Ek had a chance to win the game in the closing minutes, but his shot went harmlessly high over the cage. When regulation ended, Ek told his coach he would make it up to him.
“After missing that chance, Sindre promised me he was going to score one for me,” noted Elliott. Ek would not let his coach down.
Mike Matera streaked in down the left side and blasted a shot from 25 yards out that ringed off the post right to the foot of Ek who tapped in the golden goal, sending the crowd into bedlam. It was the fourth career game-winning goal for the junior from Norway who continues to score in big spots.
Syracuse held the advantage offensively, out-shooting the Saints 22-11 although they only managed a 6-4 edge in shots on goal. Both teams attempted four corners.
Binks made five saves for Siena – nearly all of which were acrobatic – as the freshman keeper continued to show impressive play in goal.
The Saints return to the pitch Friday when they host Buffalo at Siena Turf Field in a 4:30 p.m. kickoff.